How to Plan your Baby’s 1st Birthday Party

Planning your baby’s first birthday party can be a fun and memorable experience but it can also feel daunting and a little overwhelming, so here are some steps to help you plan a successful 1st birthday party.

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Panning your baby’s 1st birthday party

Choose a Venue

It is important to do this first, especially if you have a specific venue in mind as it may dictate some of the other factor such as date and time based on their availability, and the guest list based on their capacity or pricing. When picking a venue think about what you want from the party. Do you want a play area that your little one enjoys, a hall for free play and organised games or would you prefer a small gathering in your home.

Choose a Date and Time

Select a date and time that works well for both you and your guests. Consider your baby’s nap schedule and choose a time when they are typically at their happiest. If you want certain friends, god parents or family to be there then check their availability before you book but don’t feel you have to check with everyone.

Pick a Theme

A cute idea for your baby’s 1st birthday party is to have a theme. This could be based around their favourite animal, toy, program or book. Popular options for first birthdays include farm animals, princesses, superheroes, or a simple colour scheme. The theme will help guide your decoration and cake choices as well as the invitations so do this early on.

Create a Guest Lis

Now you have a venue and you know how many you can invite to your baby’s first birthday party start to make a list of people you would like to be there to celebrate with you. This could include close friends and family as well as other young children that your child is familiar with from nursery or groups you attend together such as baby massage classes. Keep in mind that young children might be overwhelmed by a large crowd, so consider the size of the party carefully.

family and friends celebration together
Photo by Pavel Danilyuk on

Send Invitations

Order some invitation that are consistent with the theme that you have picked and send them out at least 3 weeks before the party if you can. Be sure to add an RSVP by date and contact number so you know who to expect on the day.


Now it’s time to plan the actual party which will differ depending on what venue you have selected. If you are hosting the party at home or in a hired space like a hall then decorations will be key. Try and opt for balloons, banners, tablecloths, and centerpieces that match your theme but avoid anything with small parts or sequins as these can be a chocking hazard.

Food and Drinks

If you have booked a venue like a play area they will give you a menu to share with your guests in advance so they can pre order which is nice and simple. If you are hosting the party yourself then you may want to provide food. Consider the time of the party, if it goes over a meal time you may want to have food for adults and children, if it is mid morning or mid afternoon then you may just want to do a few snacks. Keeping the menu simple and age-appropriate will make life easier especially if you need to prepare this yourself on the day of the party. For a 1st birthday finger foods like fruit, vegetables, sandwiches, and cake or cupcakes are good options. Also use disposable plates and trays where possible as it will make the clean up quicker and easier.

The Cake

Getting your baby’s 1st birthday cake just right might seem like a big deal but remember they are unlikely to eat much of any of it and they definitely wont remember it. Pick something that goes with the theme that will make them smile. If you want to use a bakery instead of a premade cake from a supermarket you will need to order a few weeks in advance.

a tall cake with colorful layers
Photo by Mikhail Nilov on

Entertainment and Activities

If the party is in a play area you can sit back and relax whilst the hosts do all the work. If, however you are hosting the party yourself then you should pick some age age-appropriate activities and games for the children attending. This might include simple games like pass the parcel, a sing-along, or a play area with age-appropriate toys. You may even want to hire an entertainer, lots of classes like baby music groups also offer parties which is great if your child is already familiar with this as they are more likely to engage with it then if you book something they have never seen before.

Party Bags

Party bags for a first birthday party can be tricky. Instead of the usual plastic bags filled with sweets and cheap toys you could get each child a book or small gift like a bath toy that goes with the theme of the party. This doesn’t have to be expensive, shop around, and if looking at books try the Works as they often have 10 books for £10 making it only £1 per child, much cheaper than the usual party bags.

Photography and Memory-Making

Ask a friend or family member to be the official photographer on the day so that you can enjoy your baby’s first birthday with them and also be in the pictures too.

After your baby’s first birthday party

Although the party has now been and gone you still have a few things to do.

Thank-You Notes

After the party, send thank-you notes to your guests to show your appreciation for their presence and any gifts, be specific where you can so they know their gift was appreciated. The best way to do this is to make a note of who bought your child what as they open it so you know who you are thanking for what. If you want to do this quickly then opt for pre packaged thank you cards from a high street store but if you are happy to wait a little longer then you could make some digital thank you cards using a photo taken from your baby’s 1st birthday party that they can also keep as a memento of the day.

Try and find some time to look through the pictures from the day and ask your friends and family to send you any good photos they took too. Then order some prints and put them in an album or create a photo book online to keep them altogether, if there is a particularly good one you might even want to order a canvas print to have up in the home.

I hope this step by step guide will help you plan your baby’s 1st birthday party successfully and stress free.

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