I have always envied my friend Christine, who honored her child’s first birthday by throwing a dinner party after he was asleep in bed. In Christine’s case, her parents live on the other side of the country and wouldn’t have been able to travel to the first birthday due to age. I, on the other hand, have a horde of parents, stepparents, and siblings who saved the date to attend my baby’s first birthday party. (And I had to be prepared for that; we had more than 20 people at our house celebrating our son’s first year!)
Every situation is different and only you know will work best you. Before throwing a party, take into account whether you have a home or apartment, the size of your guest list, and the time of year in which your child’s birthday falls. With that in mind, it’s time to start prepping – for a modern party, of courser. Here are some ideas to inspire any modern party.
1. Share a photo retrospective of your baby’s year. Go through your pictures and print one great portrait from each month of your baby’s first year. It doesn’t matter if you didn’t pull off that same-chair-every-month thing. Mount the photos on similar backgrounds and hang the whole thing up in a prominent location.
2. Keep decor simple. Many of the photos you’ll see on Pinterest will have coordinating felt banners, chalkboard backgrounds, and vintage glass carafes full of beautifully colored hard candy. (Note – please don’t put hard candy on the table at your toddler’s birthday party!) One thing that unites these pins are coordinating color. Pick a color scheme and stick with it. Ten helium balloons that match the plates will do the trick.
3. Respect the nap. Most 12-month olds take two naps per day, which makes them happy and healthy. It can also make scheduling a party difficult, if you expect your guest of honor to be there every minute. It’s perfectly okay for your baby is asleep for part of the party; in fact, nap time is strongly suggested if one is needed. Remember – It’s your party, too. If baby’s asleep when people arrive, try to see it as an opportunity to talk to them without distraction. Guests will understand.
4. Share your baby’s culture. This is a fun chance for friends and family to learn more about where your family comes from. Your baby is a blend of both sides and sharing a tradition or food with the crowd makes the grandparents feel proud and appreciated. Old-fashioned is the new modern, right?
5. Let things go and let others help. Christine Koh, co-author of Minimalist Parenting, said of her daughter’s first birthday, “When I invited my family, I was explicit about the short time frame and that it would be fruit, cake and beverages.” Your mom wants to make her famous artichoke dip? Just say yes. Your mother-in-law wants to come over two hours early to help? Have her take baby for a walk outside the house so you can get ready. It’s much easier to go with the flow and let good intentions shine through. In the end, everyone will be happier for it.
Image via instagram.com/chantillyinwanderland