Not too long ago, when my first was only 6 months old, I started planning. I pinned my heart out – homemade cake toppers, colorful paper straws, cute themed banner including photos – and the list of things on “Salem’s 1st Birthday” board went on and on. She had the cutest woodland animal/floral tea party theme ever!
Here we are less than a month from my son’s first birthday. Since finding out the gender during pregnancy, the Star Wars theme was pretty much a given (let’s be honest, probably for all future birthdays). So I take no credit for even being prepared in that aspect. I have had a few ideas and haven’t acted on any of them yet. I only just purchased some clip art on Etsy to make an invitation and a pack of stickers for party favors (and really only because they caught my eye during a grocery run). I LOVE making party decorations and accessories, coordinating everything to match the theme, etc. But man is it a little more of a challenge the second go round.
So, even though I’m slacking this time around and have accepted the fact that I can’t do it all, I still want to make his first birthday just as special. So I’ve decided to make a short, basic list of things I plan to accomplish in such a small amount of time. And if I get time to add any extras, well that’s just bonus.
Here is my list of essentials for a quick, stress-free birthday party:
1. Invitations – You can buy at the store and fill out by hand, purchase them pre-made, or make your own graphic (if you’re feeling really artsy). The great thing about the last two options is you can add them to a Facebook invite instead of physically mailing them out if you’re short on time.
2. Cake/Cupcakes – Homemade or store bought are both yummy options!
3. Refreshments – I’ve gone really simple on this one in the past and it has worked out great. Tea, water, lemonade. Or milk and juice for breakfast parties. Limited options, limited leftovers.
4. Paper/plastic products – Necessary since we can’t all eat out of our hands. But instead of going for all themed items, choose one themed item and the rest with coordinating colors to mix it up. This can also make shopping simple and can be budget friendly.
5. A Banner – I love banners! A simple “Happy Birthday,” a fun theme-inspired phrase, or “Maddy is Three.” Since this is my little man’s 1st birthday, I’ll also have the “I am One” highchair banner. Whether you buy one or make one, it’s a fun decoration to have at any party!
6. Balloons – Besides identifying which is the party house, they can double as decoration and an activity! Hang them from light fixtures, fill with helium and tie to the backs of chairs, or make a balloon banner (covering both #5 and #6). OR blow them up yourself, spread them across the floor, and let the kids be entertained!
7. Something for the kids to do – Balloons (see #6), coloring sheets, or just good old-fashioned playing outside. Anything that gets all the kids involved and doing things together makes for party fun.
8. Birthday smiles! – This is really THE MOST important thing. As long as the birthday boy/girl is having fun, as are all the guests, you’ve got yourself a party win!
What else would you include in your basic party planning list?