They always say that for some reason after Christmas is children party season. Maybe it's just because 9 months ago was a busy period! Whatever the reason deciding what do to to mark a first birthday is never easy or even who to invite so here are my top ten tips:
1. Expect the unexpected
The chances are no matter when you book the party to start the birthday boy or girl will sense something is going on prior and therefore miss that all important nap and then be grumpy and/or need a nap in the middle of the party! Expect it and don't fight it. As the lyrics say it's my party and I'll cry if I want to!
2. Plan something you will enjoy too
Chances are the birthday boy or girl won't remember a thing about their first birthday but you will remember it. So plan something you will enjoy! That may just mean a few of your friends round with a cake or everyone you know in a hall with lots of activities.
3. Have a cake everyone loves cake.
It won't matter if its shop brought, homemade or made by a cake maker. Everyone important will get that it's a cake. Whether or not you let the birthday girl/boy try some that's up to you but it does make for great photos to bring back out when at their 18th birthday!
4. Decide on your budget before anything else
Everyone says budget budget budget. You have been on maternity leave at some point during the last year and you have an extra mouth to feed daily. Don't fret about the party if money is tight be honest with yourself, set a limit it will solve the stress later on.
5. Photos-Those all important moments!
You will most probably be so engrossed in talking or playing or catering or setting up something that you will forget the photos. Now I'm not saying you need (you can if you wish) a professional photographer but consider asking a friend or partner or parent to be in charge of the camera, you could even split the task out a bit so everyone gets to enjoy the party rather than always thinking have I got that photo oh I missed that one.
This could be as simple as your home or a village hall or the soft play centre down the road. Consider your budget and who you wish to invite. If you are inviting 20 children don't forget they will come with at least one adult maybe two, so you could possibly have 60 people. Can you and your home handle that number? If you do decide to book a Hall important things to think about are there any limitations on what entertainment is allowed, does the hall have changing facilities(most do nowadays but worth checking!) and does use of the kitchen/cooker cost more?
Depending on age not every guest will be able to eat food but most will at some point need feeding. Try to think of ways to keep cost and stress levels down, cold finger buffet works well! Don't forget to ask (if you don't already know) if anyone has any allergies.
8. Party bags
There is no right or wrong here. Your budget dictates. Choose age appropriate things, most include a toy of some sort maybe pick just one if budget is tight you could wrap and give out as party presents, another option you could always put a piece of cake in too. Decide if you are providing party bags, then pick what you would like inside, then buy bags big enough to fit. Otherwise you might have to compromise on what goes inside!
Some may be uncertain as to what to get, or they dont have a big budget to spend. I was introduced to this method once my eldest started school, it is controversial but a sensible solution! Go for a collection everyone who wants to puts in say £2-5 you decide the amount, then pass you the money to buy the present birthday girl/boy would like. Means no more tat and no overwhelming moment of having to open lots of presents for your baby!
This is important. Most parties last two hours and little ones will need something to do. Now if you venue is soft play it's taken care of, if it's a hall, think about timings when will you have food, how much time do you think is reasonable to allow everyone to eat, when will you do happy birthday and cake cutting? Now how much time is left! Probably too much to do nothing but not ages. There are many options for entertainment just remember your budget and ages of the children though most entertainers will tell you that older children will most probably join in with younger ones. To save on budget think about just one option or even do it yourself- think old fashioned party games!