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  • Writer's pictureKlara

How to: organising the best 1st birthday party

1st birthday is such a huge milestone! You and your baby made it - 1 whole year of sleepless nights, teething cries, dirty nappies, bottles, endless piles of washing, but also unconditional love, the best cuddles you could ever imagine, so many firsts and memories. This milestone sure deserves to get celebrated! But planning a 1st birthday can quickly become overwhelming - there are so many different things to consider, so many ideas, so many companies offering "the best"... Where do you start?

First advice would be: start thinking about the celebration early. You don't want to be left in a situation where your preferred venue, cake maker, photographer etc. can't make your preferred date, so planning ahead is essential.

To help you make everything go smoothly and take a little bit of that planning stress off your shoulders, I've written this blog.

Here is a little step by step guide how to organise a great 1st birthday celebration without going crazy!

1. How would you like to celebrate?

First things first, decide how you would like your little one's 1st birthday to be remembered. Are you dreaming of a lavish big birthday party with lots of people, gorgeous floral or balloon displays, a smaller BBQ or a picnic with closest friends and family; would you prefer to celebrate it just with your immediate family or simply have an intimate celebration, just you, your partner and your kid/s at home? Would you like to celebrate this milestone indoors or outdoors? Locally or would you like to explore? Perhaps you would like to have a nice day out as a family, having an adventure? The possibilities are endless.

I would recommend making a list of things that you and your little one love and go from there.

Always keep in mind that planning such important event isn't for anybody else but you and your birthday boy/girl - don't feel pressured to plan a huge birthday bash if that isn't something YOU want. Make this day special for your little one and yourself, not for others.

2. Set a date

Once you have a rough idea of how you'd like to celebrate your little one's first birthday,

now is the time to decide when you would like the celebration to take the place. The obvious choice would be on the birthday boy/birthday girl's birth date, but it may not always be so straight forward. If you are hoping to plan a big party at a venue, there might be other factors to consider - your venue's availability, your guests might only be available on certain days, you might wish to wait until the weekend to celebrate your little one's birthday... Think what date would work best for you with your circumstances.

3. Set your budget & priorities

Before you can get to the fun stuff such as gathering decorations, ordering cake and photoshoots, you need to set a budget and decide what are your priorities. First you need decide your overall budget for the event, and then decide what are the most important things for you. This will help you allocate your budget to specific things such as venue, cake, photographer, decoration, kids entertainer, catering, perhaps you want an event planner to ensure the celebrations go as smooth as possible? Compromise where possible with your priorities in mind. Perhaps you are happy to go for a smaller venue, but you definitely want an amazing childs entertainer for your little one and the other kiddos attending. Perhaps you are happy to do some DIY to save on decorations and splurge on fabulous cake or a photoshoot. Always use your priorities as a stepping stone when dividing and allocating your budget.

4. Choose if you want a theme/colour scheme

Now for the fun part! Once the important things are set and you have a rough idea of how much money you are willing to spend, and how you'd like to celebrate, pick your theme or colour scheme if you are planning to have one. This will be helpful for when you start making enquiries with a event organiser if you're having one, for booking a cake maker, it will help you when you start looking for decorations etc..

Or perhaps you want a nice relaxing day without all this fuss and decide you would rather steer clear from a specific theme or a colour scheme. And that is absolutely fine too! Make the day perfect for your baby and yourself. Don't feel pressured to go big or have everything colour coordinated - this should be a happy core memory for you and your baby, not a day filled with stress. Keep it true to yourself, your core values and what your baby and you love.

Try to stay away from trends and rather than going with fashionable colour that is dominating Pinterest or instagram this season, choose whatever resonates with you and what your little one loves. At the end of the day, you're not planning the party for other people, you're planning it for your amazing little birthday boy or birthday girl, and the only person you need to impress is he or she. After all, trends come and go and you may end up regretting it if you get influenced by a trend when it goes out of style. Choose what you and your baby loves.

5. Make enquiries and book the essentials in advance

This is an important step. Make enquiries and bookings early. Popular venues, good event organisers, photographers, decorators, florists, cake makers,... they always book out quickly months in advance. Make some enquiries with various vendors to find the best fit, and secure your date in their diaries to avoid disappointment.

If you want the planning taken care of, book your event organiser early so they can start working their magic and create your little one's dream celebration come true.

6. Invitations

Invite your guests in advance. We all lead busy lives so sending invitations early will help people plan their social calendar ahead. Inviting your guests can be done verbally, via text or email, or if you want to go all out you can design and order invitations to send out.

7. Pre-birthday photoshoot

First birthday is such important milestone it definitely deserves a photoshoot. Some families like to celebrate with a cake smash or a studio 1st birthday photoshoot, others prefer a more natural outdoor 1st birthday family photoshoot to document this exciting occasion. And some want a photographer to document the celebrations on the big day itself! Decide which photoshoot is the right choice for you and make enquiries in advance. Do your research, get recommendations from friends and family, or local facebook groups, make multiple enquiries - choose the right photographer for you. These memories are so precious. Don't always go bargain hunting as photography prices are often reflective of the quality of their work. Review their portfolios, get in touch with them, ask questions - reputable photographers will be more than happy to help you choose the right style or point you in the right direction if they do not provide this specific style you're after.

Some families like to use these photographs for invitations or to proudly display them on the day of the celebration, some prefer to hold a photoshoot on the actual day of the little one's birthday - in either way it is essential you book your photographer in advance, as photoshoots take time in both pre-production and post production, so allow enough time for your photographs to be done.

If you would like your photographs before your little one's birthday, it is recommended to start looking for a photographer at least 2 months in advance to allow enough time for pre-session planning, as well as the session itself, editing and printing of your photographs to ensure they are ready for the big day. Reputable photographers take bookings months in advance.

8. Decorations

Now for the fun part - gathering the decorations! There are plenty of options nowadays - the possibilities are endless. Try to keep your priorities, budget and vision in mind while going through things like Pinterest, Instagram or party websites, as it can quickly become a rather slippery slide and in a blink of an eye, you find a basket full of items that are way over your allocated budget. Try to keep your decorations as sustainable and eco friendly as possible, and try to go for quality over quantity.

9. Putting it all together

The couple days before your 1st birthday celebration date you should have everything prepared, but if not don't despair. Gather your family and friends and put all of your planning and decorations together over a glass of something nice. Try to delegate as many jobs for the day to others if you're happy to, to ensure you can fully immerse yourself in the celebrations on the day. Creating a day schedule might also be handy so each person knows what is happening and what is expected.

"Recruiting" friends and family to help out will not only make them feel involved, but it will also ease off the task load off your back and make the day run smoother.

10.Make unforgettable memories & enjoy your little one's day

You've done it! Well done! All this organising has paid off. The last tip is most important of them all - relax and enjoy every second of it.

This is such a huge milestone and once in a lifetime event, don't spend it stressing and worrying. Enjoy it. Hug your baby tight, make memories, be present. Soak up every second of it. It is true what they say - time does go really quick and they grow up so fast, be sure to enjoy the moments as they happen.

Don't stress over small things - enjoy the huge smile on your baby's face as they are smearing a cake over their face, watch the joyful sparkle in their eye as they are playing with the boxes or wrapping paper (because obviously they are ALWAYS more fun than the beautiful present you spent hours choosing for them). Enjoy this. Celebrate your little one and your 1st year of parenting. You've earned it.

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