Having three girls born in three successive months the Winter period is 'party season' for us. Recently for my baby's first birthday party the pressure was on to do something different for baby Marnie, since I'd already had first birthday parties for Ava and Sasha.
If you already have a 1 year old you'll be well aware that first birthday parties are pretty much all about the parents: the celebration that 'We Made It' through the first year and yay, we're bona fide parents. And fair enough: its hard work!
Being my third 'First Birthday Party' I had a pretty good idea of what was involved. Point a) you can NEVER have enough balloons when there's kids involved, and b) keep the food simple.
Children love fairy bread, party pies and sausage rolls, and honey joys - so that what they had. I didn't spend my days and nights thoughtfully and lovingly baking healthy food, spending hours decorating them only to have them sit there all day uneaten. No point! I'd done it before - killed myself for nights and nights baking and it's just not worth it.
When my 5 year old daughter said 'make sure there's hundreds of balloons Mummy!' I took her advice literally. Not only did I order hundreds of balloons, but also used that as the theme. Baby Marnie is only 1, she's not into unicorns or fairies or princesses (or Frozen!) yet. Thank GOD! So the theme was balloons and I used them as inspiration for the decorations, invitations, party bags and there was lots of colour.
We live in Melbourne's inner north with a small courtyard, so outsourced the party venue and booked an upstairs function room at a pub, which was perfect. Lots of space for the kids to dance and run around, and no cleaning up for Mummy afterwards! I highly recommend this! We had a tab for the adults, and had a selection of food for everyone that the staff served and everyone was happy.
Months before we went to a family wedding with dozens of children, and the couple had thoughtfully prepared a big table of dress-ups for the kids - funny hats and oversized sunglasses, long beads and whistles, necklaces and headbands and feather boas, so I did this too. It was a great idea to keep the kids entertained, broke the ice with the parents who didn't know each other and made everyone feel like it was a party.
My baby girl Marnie Kate turns one
We had fabulous entertainment from The Mexican Music Man who I discovered at the Collingwood Children's Farm Farmer's Market. He was wonderfully entertaining and had all the kids (and parents) singing, laughing and dancing with his rock versions of children's nursery rhymes and instruments to play along.
Continuing the colourful balloon party theme Love JK made the invitations, thank you cards, and the fun, personalised water bottles for all the kids - not only did it make a cute and original party favour for the children to take home, but also meant they could use the drink bottle during the party - instead of getting a fresh cup every time they wanted a drink! Love JK also made the beautiful invitations, name bunting and thank you tags for the party favour bags.
Because we wanted lots of colour I couldn't go past Poppies for Grace for all the accessories, including cake toppers, table decorations, party bags, party hats, tattoos and other bits and bobs for the party bags and the dress up table. Colourful, original and quality they really are the best place to go to for party accessories.
My girls: Sasha, Marnie and Ava
Cake toppers by Poppies for Grace from Ruby Rabbit
Entertainment from the hilarious and fun Mexican Music Man
Marnie loved playing with the musical instruments from The Mexican Music Man
Personalised water bottles for all the children doubled as party favours
Party favour bags by Poppies for Grace and personalised Thank You tags by Love JK
The children were given water bottles with their name on it as they arrived.
Party favours are a bug-bear of mine because I just hate the idea of giving small children lollies and junk food, so we filled them with press-on tattoos from Poppies For Grace, party whistles and mini-puzzles from the supermarket, balloons, bubbles, star wands, stickers, bracelets and little toys. Plus they could take home the water bottle with their name on it - they were very happy!
All the kids, and my, FAVOURITE part of the party was easily the cutting of the cake. Despite begging for weeks, neither of my older girls knew I'd ordered a Rainbow Cake and the gasps around the room when we cut it to reveal the six tiered, gluten free cake were just gorgeous! Check out Eat A Rainbow - she does a fabulous job, it looked amazing and it was delicious, and was right on theme for colour!
My tips and advice:
- Don't overthink it, choose a fun theme - it can be as simple as my 'colour and balloons' and stick to it
- Get your invitations out early. Everyone's busy these days, so aim to send your invitations 4 weeks before the party date
- Book your venue first. We have a small courtyard and living area, so it's not suitable for more than 15 people.
You can never have too many balloons!
Personalised 'Marnie is 1' bunting from Love JK
Decorations by Poppies for Grace complimented the amazing rainbow cake by Eat A Rainbow
The six-tiered Rainbow Cake was a hit with all the children
Marnie gave the Rainbow Cake her tick of approval
And finally thank you to the lovely, patient and talented Sophie Fisk for capturing our special day in these beautiful photographs. You did a fabulous job and we couldn't be happier with the photos. Check out her work at Sophie Fisk Photography
Sasha having loads of fun with the instruments The Mexican Music Man brought along
Ava enjoying all the party dress ups