It’s finally here. After twelve months of diaper changes, round-the-clock feedings and playing peek-a-boo, it’s finally time to celebrate your baby’s first birthday. It’s not just a day reserved for your little one, but a special occasion for you, too. So if you’re ready to pull out all the stops when it comes to planning your baby’s first birthday, you’re in good company.
According to a survey conducted by
With many parents sparing no expense for their little one’s big day, moms and dads are opting for a particular theme for their child’s first party. BabyCenter reports prince and princess affairs as popular choices, while Shields gets lots of requests for Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, superheroes and favorite storybooks like Goodnight Moon.
In Your Face
One of the more notable emerging first birthday party trends is the ever-memorable smash cake. Serving as a separate confectionery designated for the sole purpose of letting the birthday boy or girl play with his or her food, this cake is typically smaller than an average birthday cake and is followed up with a larger cake for guests and party guests. “Smash cakes are very popular and we include them in our first birthday packages,” says Shields, adding that dessert buffets coordinating with party themes are also gaining notoriety.
Debbie McLoughlin, who recently celebrated her daughter’s first birthday, ordered a smash cake for the party. “For us, it cost nothing extra, as Target includes them for free if you order your cake from them,” says the
For Nicole Young whose son turns one this month, she purchased a smash cake in advance of the party and used as a prop for a photo shoot whose pictures became party invitations. “I kept it inexpensive by buying a regular cake from the grocery store, knowing it was going to be destroyed anyway,” she explains.
Of course, what parent doesn’t take a zillion pictures of their child’s first year milestones? Birthday parties are no exception, with some creating digital birthday books via Instagram and Facebook and others booking photographer for the day. Shields has seen this with her own customers. “Parents are hiring professional photographers quite often so they are not relying on their own cameras to capture the special day,” she notes.
Young, in contrast, plans to take her own pictures. To correlate with her Dashing Little Man party theme, she is supplying her guests with little mustaches, bow ties and glasses cut from paper and glued to skewers. “Hold them up and they make great photo props,” she explains. “I thought they’d be fun and just act as a conversation starter. Plus, it’ll give us cute pictures and memories.”
Keeping it Simple
While it’s tempting to go all out for your child’s first birthday celebration, experts and parents alike believe everything in moderation is key. For both McLoughlin and Young, keeping their guest list to a minimum was essential. “I am sure her parties will be bigger as she gets bigger, but we felt this day was more so for us and the memories,” says McLoughlin who had her daughter’s party at their grandparents’ house.
Similarly, Young is having her son’s party at home with close family and friends. “I’ve seen people trying to make each party bigger and better, and I don’t want to get caught in that trap,” she explains.
Shields advises her clients to model this type of behavior, encouraging them not to go over the top with first birthdays. Many of her customers have been coming to her with pictures they have seen online and asking her to replicate them. “I advise my clients to stay off Pinterest, as much of what is on there is staged events and not actual parties, and it sets expectations that are not realistic,” she notes.
Instead, keeping the affair simple, yet memorable ensures a good time for everyone. “Years of birthday parties are ahead that can be planned to reflect the interests of the child, more so as the years go on,” points out Shields. “It’s more than OK to make this one about the parents surviving the first year and celebrating with family and friends.”