First birthday party ideas

photo: The MacsFirst birthday party ideas - chalkboard

Before we get all in a tizzy about first birthday parties and the cuteness you are about to behold, allow me to confess that I think the first birthday party is optional. Parents doing something momentous to celebrate their own first year of parenthood also seems like a fine idea (first overnight away?) and well, if baby is sleeping at home or at Grandma’s house, terrific.

Ok, now that’s out of the way. Ideas from around the web:


First birthday party ideas - invitations

This one is from tinyprints.

First birthday party ideas: Birthday Type Children's Birthday Party Invitations

This one is from

First birthday party ideas - invitations

and this one is from Etsy

Electronic invitations are obviously cheaper, greener, but frankly not as gush-worthy cute as the ones you’ll find to buy online. I couldn’t get over my own obsession with having a mailed invitation as a keepsake, so I put one together on Shutterfly when Julian turned one. Kid #2? She probably got an email. I don’t even remember.


First birthday party ideas: Easy rainbow fruit plate

Rainbow fruit: FunFindsForMom

Go crazy with homemade, thematic snacks a la Martha Stewart or order pizza, make a fruit rainbow platter and call it a day. Since your baby and his “friends” may have a limited menu, it’s hard to please everyone. My personal go-to for parties at my house is my local taqueria. I order a pint of black beans, grilled chicken, spanish rice, and carnitas. We put out tortillas, cheese, salsa, and guacamole. Everyone can make their own burrito and the babes can eat black beans, rice and shredded cheese with their fingers. In the backyard, please! Add some bowls of diced fruit for color.

If you read a lot of Internetz, you know that a decorated birthday buffet table with printed signs is all the rage.  Don’t let this make you feel inadequate, but I am posting a few pictures that none of us can ever live up to — because we are hosting a party and have a 12-month old to take care of!

First birthday party ideas: sock monkey decor, so cute!
First birthday party ideas: Very Hungry Caterpillar birthday buffet

Very Hungry Caterpillar fruit Source: via Danielle on Pinterest

John and Sherry at YoungHouseLove provided complete explanations on their printed food cards at baby Clara’s first birthday.

First birthday party ideas: Young House Love bday

First birthday party ideas: young house love party

The site One Charming Party is a great resource if you want an amazingly beautiful, coordinated party. It’s an online store that sells party plans which detail the decorations, food, activities, and more for a number of different themes from superhero to mermaid to country fair-themed.

First birthday party ideas - rainbow decor

This is a preview of the 50-page manual you receive as a pdf with all your instructions, including cupcake toppers and invitation templates.

For one-year olds, I am most in favor of a simple theme, such as their first initial or polka dots because really, are they passionate about Dora or football yet? Unlikely. I met a professional party planner who told me that children’s books are her favorite source of inspiration for a theme. I like the intent, and the Hungry Caterpillar party pictured above is beautiful, but it seems overwhelmingly complicated.

First birthday party ideas: polkadot birthday party

Source: via Kaci on Pinterest

First birthday party ideas: the first initial on everything

Three do-able decorations

Now that I’ve intimidated inspired you with pictures that are literally out of Martha Stewart’s media empire, I leave you with three ideas that won’t break the bank or your back when it comes to adding pizazz to your party.

Inspiring first birthday party ideas

1. Rainbow streamers above the door. Wendy made this special doorway for Augie’s birthday and it’s delightfully simple.

First birthday party ideas: simple doorway streamers


2. A string of balloons. I always hit the party store and get a bunch of balloons on the morning of my kid’s parties. They fill up any dull space in your house or yard and toddlers go nuts for them. (They are also terrible choking hazards, so keep them up high and monitor any interaction with balloons and one-year olds closely.)  This one is from the Young House Love first birthday party.

First birthday party ideas - balloon decor

3. Pinwheels. Buy them at a party store, dollar store, or toy store — or make them if you are super crafty — and use them as decorations. My cousin stuck 20 store-bought pinwheels in the grass to create a festive border for her son’s party at a park. Then, send them home with the kids as favors. Double duty!

First birthday party ideas: cute pinwheels

Source of letter “E” party: via Ellen on Pinterest

Rather have cute stuff for a party delivered to you in the mail? A few affordable Martha Stewart decorations on Amazon and customizable (and reusable!) birthday banners from Minted

Do you have any easy first birthday party ideas to share?