The Perfect First Birthday

by jessicaturner on May 15, 2009

Elias is turning one in two months and I am already obsessing planning his first birthday. Matthew’s family is coming into Nashville at the end of June for our friend Julie’s wedding, so we are going to have Elias’s party that Sunday. (Wedding and family in town, yeah that sounds like a stress-free, easy weekend to have a birthday party, doesn’t it?) I’m also hoping we can swing a trip to Wisconsin, but we’ll see.

At first I thought we would host the party it at our condo’s clubhouse and at the condo pool, but you can’t use the pool for parties. Boo. The clubhouse on its own isn’t very exciting for a bunch of one-year-olds and young kids.

Now I think I am going to have it at a small local park. Then the kids can play, we can have cake and ice cream and celebrate Elias.

I think I want to make the invitations. I know this puts more work on me, but I think it will mean more to me if I make them (because Elias obviously won’t care). I likely won’t do this every year, but since it is his first… I am envisioning primary colors, with a photo of him wearing this cute birthday hat shaped like a cake. (Of course I bought a hat for a photo shoot. I mean, seriously.) Elias is going to be too cute for words… and let’s not even talk about the scrapbook pages. :)

I don’t know what the theme should be. Maybe just bright colors- polka dots and stripes?

I am going to make Elias is his own mini cake (afterall, the pictures have to be STELLAR) and then make cupcakes for everyone else. This seems easier. Actually what seems easier is buying store bought cupcakes. Maybe I should do that – especially given the wedding hoopla the day before the party.

I read on a website that renting a bubble machine is a big hit and baby parties. I might look into doing that, if it isn’t too expensive.

It’s funny thinking about first birthdays because the child doesn’t even remember it, you know? Yet it seems like a really big deal.

Oh, and for Elias’s first birthday, I want to do a photo shoot of Elias with balloons, like what Matt did with Madeline. Oh. My. Word. do I love this… watch the video. You will love it too.

What are your thoughts on first birthday parties? Any ideas?
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{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

Faye May 15, 2009 at 10:42 am

Jessica,this sounds great.The first birthday is always special.I know you will do it up right.Please keep me in your prayers.I go back to the doctor next week.I am scared, but I am trying to keep my faith in the Lord!Hope you have a great day! Blessings, Faye


Angela May 15, 2009 at 12:21 pm

I am in the mist of planning my daughter’s first party. I made the invitations on CM Storybook and having Walgreens print them up. Her theme is Disney Princess because she just loves anything princess. I know it’s too ‘old’ for her, but the girl really does love it. I’m having the party at a park (rented a pavilion). My son’s party was at our house and it rained so everyone ended up in our house, it was crowded, but fun. I had and will have Publix make a themed cake they give you a free cake for the baby on their first birthday. I will also make a cake for her because I want to do that for all my kids birthday’s.
My son’s theme was Elmo, because he loved Elmo at the time.
Have fun planning! It’s your party to plan so run with it!


Lauren Kelly May 15, 2009 at 12:49 pm

No matter what, I know you’re going to make Elias’ first birthday a memorable one :)


MandieGirl May 15, 2009 at 2:24 pm

How funny! I just posted pictures a few days ago on my own blog of my friend’s little guy’s first birthday photo shoot…they’re the funniest pics I’ve ever seen…pretty creative, too! Feel free to check them out.


VanderbiltWife May 15, 2009 at 2:29 pm

We recently had a bubble party for Libbie’s daycare class and they loved it! Even the 5- and 6-month olds, and the bigger ones even more (up to a year). Someone made an iTunes playlist of bubble songs, we set them up on mats, and all the parents blew bubbles. We had bubbly soft drinks and snacks. It was sweet and I think would be even better outside in the summer!


Brooke May 15, 2009 at 2:49 pm

For my little guys first birthday (he had 2 parties) we went with blue as a theme, blue balloons streamers, party decorations, matching cake and Monster cupcakes. I bought a bubble blower from Target ($10) and bubble bottles for the older kids, our backyard was covered. I did make invites and used our balloon shot pictures on them. I know he won't remember it, but it was a really nice memory for us. :)


Rebecca (Sam's wife) May 15, 2009 at 2:53 pm

Girl-I can NOT wait for Cal’s first b-day party!!! Her is still 3 1/2 months away and I already have ideas going through my head. I was thinking girly colors and cucakes and I really want a birthday tutu…we shall see what transpires. I also want to order a hat for her and I want to make her invites…I’m getting excited just thinking about it! ha!
Elias’s party will be fabualous and I can’t wait to see those pics…


Mom2Valerie May 15, 2009 at 2:59 pm

My daughter will be 1 on July 24 – where DOES the time go? I have a few family members that are cake makers and am hoping to have a cute cake made for everyone and a smaller one for her. My mom also has a Cricut machine and a Winnie the Pooh cartridge that I’m going to use to make some cute decorations. (Her nursery is all Winnie the Pooh.) I took my daughter to Sears portrait studio for her 6 month photos and plan to do that for her 1 year photos too. They have a coupon for a free 8X10 and a free photo session for a birthday photo shoot. It can be pretty expensive to pay for photos, but I will just choose one pose to share with family and then get the proofs of other poses to scrapbook like I did with her 6 month (and it only cost me around $30).


Tasha May 15, 2009 at 3:04 pm

Wow,it is so hard to beleive that he is almost one!We are having our daughters first birthday next Sunday.We live in the country and have a nice big deck and yard so we will hopefully be outside.(If it doesn’t rain)Everything will be white and pink.I think I am going to use lots of tulle!It will be so fun.Can’t wait to see pictures of Elias’ party!


Rebecca Louise. May 15, 2009 at 4:20 pm

I would just have a sumemr theme with lots of bright colours.

My niece had a bubble machine at hers and some small paddling pools (which were supervised!) and the babies and toddlers loved them splashing around! xo.


JasonI May 15, 2009 at 4:33 pm

The bubble idea sounds like so much fun, and anything polka-dot would go really well with that!
For my daughter's first birthday, we did polka-dots for the cupcakes and decorations, and gave out big bouncy balls as favors. We had one extra-big ball that all the guests signed for her.
My son just turned one in March, and we had a car/truck theme, because he was just too cute making vroom,vroom noises! I made a really cute car invitation, we gave out matchbox cars as favors, and my favorite part was the cupcake road! I frosted some cupcakes chocolate and some green. One the chocolate ones I put a yellow dotted line down the center so it looked like a road, and cut peppermint patties in half and stuck M&M wheels on them for cars (also did a few mini candy bars for trucks). One the green ones, I stuck road signs for a train table in some of them. Then, we arranged it all like a little road.
I totally started planning the first birthday parties for my kids a couple months ahead of time– I needed the time to prepare myself!


Leslie May 15, 2009 at 5:16 pm

This is so exciting! We're gearing up for my nephew's 1st birthday party tomorrow! Yikes! My brother and sister-in-law went with the park as well. It should be a ton of fun (for those of us who will actually remember it haha) Joshua should enjoy all the pictures someday!

For his 1st birthday I made him an individual cake using a giant cupcake mold from Michael's. I did a trial run and we "practiced" him destroying it on his actual birthday and I'm making him one for his party tomorrrow. Here is the picture of the cupcake and of him "enjoying" it. For this occasion I recommend this mold! It's adorable! here's the link to the facebook album! :) Have fun


Katrina May 15, 2009 at 5:34 pm

Oh good…

So I’m not the only crazy mom that plans their first child’s first birthday 3 months in advance! I have my typed up list of things to buy/make, and I too am making the (super cool, still need a party theme) invites. :)

Happy planning!


Lis. May 15, 2009 at 10:16 pm

I think first birthdays are very important, even though they aren’t too many other people. He may not remember it, but looking back on the pictures and memories will be very special when he’s older.

You’re trying to make it kid-friendly! Most people do not do that!

I love the idea of polka dots or stripes. I’m tired of people going into Party City and having the cookie-cutter party themed sets.

Whatever you do will be special. But definitely don’t overstress yourself. You want to enjoy this special time in his life.


The Rowe Family May 15, 2009 at 11:40 pm

Oh goodness, the 1st birthday is the GREATEST!!!!!!! I love the bubble machine idea. I did primary colors for everything. I also cut out a TON TON TON of bright colored 1’s and hung them from the ceiling throughout the entire house. SO CUTE!!!!! Have a blast!!


vaneblu May 16, 2009 at 12:02 am

Sounds really nice :)
We are planning my Godson’s first bday for august and are having a farm theme :)
Some haystacks cans with a sign that says milk, and store deco :)
I am doing cupcakes too :) A good idea is to buy sugar decoration online to top the cupcakes, is easy and cute :)
We are also getting some farm animal (we are doing it in our backyard) his mom and dad are vets so they are getting them for free :) I will send you the link of my blog so you can see the pics after it is done.


jayfersgirl May 16, 2009 at 1:42 am

My baby girl will be 1 in August, and honestly, I’m not planning anything. We have many extended family members who have invited themselves to be here on her birthday:), and I imagine we’ll just do a little cookout at the park.
We’ll have our normal playgroup gathering 2 days before her birthday, so she’ll have friend time just like normal:)
I was getting a little sad that her birthday was getting out of my control as more and more family members (some I haven’t even ever met!) are coming for her actual birthday…I love special occasions to be something for just the 3 of us, but it’s not to be:), so we planned a little getaway for just the 3 of us…something I hope can be a tradition:)
We are going to San Diego for 2 days to the amazing San Diego Zoo.
I’ve been trying to figure out some kind of cake-type thing to have for her birthday, but I can’t imagine giving her all that sugar:) I’m still trying to figure out a non-sugar cake:)


smiliesar May 16, 2009 at 7:03 am

I am getting ready to plan my daughter’s second birthday this June and I must say. . . keep it simple so you are able to enjoy the day. That’s what’s really important. We went to a couple other first birthday’s around the same time as our daughters and the parents were so busy trying to get things done and out (spending a fortune too) that they weren’t able to just relax and have fun. We went really simple with a store bought cake with her name on it and ice cream. That was it. I got a balloon at the dollar store with matching plates, napkins, and a table cloth and had the party at my parents house in the backyard. The kids played on the play structure and the adults talked. We had a lot of fun and got some great pictures without the stress. At first we were going to do food but I’m glad we opted not to do that. The party was at 3 so it was after nap time but also not around a meal time. It was a lot of fun too for everyone and cheap too ($30 or so).


The Belton Family May 16, 2009 at 11:56 am

I have been planning Taft’s first birthday since February and it is June 2nd. We live in FL and we have a pool so we are having a beach monkey theme. Then we travel to AL the next week to see family and have a party there. My husband’s first birthday theme was farm so we are doing that in AL.
I got a creative friend that was great at photoshop to make the invites for me so that I could do other things.
They have bubble blowers at Target in the pool toy section for about 10 dollars. I think that we will have one for the pool party.
Can’t wait to see what you come up with and the photos.


Becky May 17, 2009 at 1:21 am

Sounds like a really fun day!

My friend just celebrated her little guy’s 1st birthday and she was able to arrange a tour of the local firestation. It was so fun – even for the adults! The kids loved the tour and were able to play on the trucks afterwards.

I’m sure whatever you plan will be great!


Jessica L May 17, 2009 at 1:35 am

Have so much fun with this! My lil one is gonna be 4 and I still go all out on her parties! For her first I actually did a rubber ducky/bubble theme. Had the bubble machine, which is completely worth it and some small wade pools with a lil water and rubber duckies floating in them. (completely supervised :)) Made the invites complete with a pic of her in her pool surrounded by yellow ducks and bubbles…a lot of work, but completely worth it! Have a great time and don’t stress!


Sara May 17, 2009 at 2:31 am

you should check out my sister’s blog for cake ideas. Of course, we are in louisiana so it’s too far for a cake order, but she is so talented and has amazing ideas. check out
for amazing stuff. I know his party will be great no matter what you do.


elana May 17, 2009 at 7:35 am

We did a circus theme for my son’s first birthday a few months ago. I saw this idea and it all came together: I had a friend create my invitations, but there are tons of cute ones on Etsy which you can print yourself. Have fun planning!


mary h. May 17, 2009 at 2:13 pm

What a fantastic video. 1st birthdays were always huge(I’m talking wedding $$ huge.) in HI because the infant mortality rate was so high in previous years. You know if you make the cupcakes by hand and freeze them, they will still be moist by then. I say do it a couple weeks ahead of time. Save you lots of money so you can rent that bubble machine. Or just buy a bunch of bubbles and wands to let them all play with them.


Anonymous May 17, 2009 at 5:03 pm

My SIl makes her own invitations. Last year she put her son in a white shirt and put big felt letter stickers on his shirt that said Come to My Party. This year we are having a joint party so she took pics of my daughter and her son. The shirts said Lets Party this year. It was so cute and we put Birthday Paper behind the photo.


Abby Vostad May 18, 2009 at 2:38 am

My Sister in Law did the cutest thing at her son’s second b-day. She tied balloons to rubber duckies and used them in the pool as decorations than each of the kids got to take one home for a gift. Just an idea.

I love your blog. Blessings to you!


Mama Notes May 18, 2009 at 5:38 am

oh my gosh, I can’t believe he is almost one already!! I remember just yesterday (it feels like) I was reading your blog and he was just a month old! wow!


About The Brown Eyed Bunch May 18, 2009 at 1:25 pm

I am not sure how much a bubble machine is to rent BUT at Target right now they have these bubble generators for like 9.99, I have bought them for 2 kids, 1 turned 1 and the other turned 3 and they both loved them, they work really well. Just a though, maybe be cheaper and something that you can have for Elias to keep.


Anonymous May 20, 2009 at 12:41 am

My nephew is turning one this summer, and I am obsessing.. er.. planning it. I think I am going to do a cowboy theme. bandanna prints, cowboy hats, boots, etc. For the invites, I might do a WANTED sign… We will see..


Anonymous May 31, 2009 at 2:13 pm

I had cupcakes and I found the cutest little things that you poke into the top of them that I ordered online,….they said Lily Claire’s first birthday and had the date……If you want to give me your email address, I can send you the pics of her first birthday. My best friend made a huge cake shaped like a cupcake for Lily to dig into…..her theme was cupcakes obviously. We had a pinata with the pull strings so little kids could pull it, too. We had a jump house ( my friend had one and let us borrow it)……..
I’d love to share photos….just need an adress to send it to.
katie in Texas


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