Your baby’s first birthday is a huge milestone for both baby and parents – it’s time to celebrate with these adorable first birthday ideas.

Congratulations on making it through the first year with your baby! I remember when my kids were babies (especially with my first)… there were times during that first year where I wasn’t sure we’d make it!

A party for a one-year-old is certainly different than parties for older kids, so you may find yourself wondering just how to pull it off.

Today, I have you covered in that department – I’ll show you adorable first birthday ideas from where to have a first birthday to what to serve for a first birthday cake and everything in between.

Where to Host Your Baby’s First Birthday Party

Wondering where to have a first birthday celebration? There are plenty of options available for you to pick from:

  • Stay home: Having a party at home is perfectly fine. There’s no need to shell out big bucks (or stress out) for baby’s first birthday.
  • Restaurant: If it’s mostly adults (which is common for the first birthday), then a restaurant could work well.
  • Play Place: If you have a lot of kids coming, renting space or having a birthday party at a play place (such as My Gym) could be the right fit for you
  • Park: Weather permitting, my personal favorite option is to host a party at a park, since there are things to do for kids of all ages. Plus, it’s often free or can be reserved for a low cost.

First Birthday Ideas and Themes

Choosing a fun birthday theme is sometimes what sets a first birthday party apart from the rest of them.

You can choose to go with a theme that plays on the Number 1 (like as One To Grow On, or Wild One).

Or, you can go with something that your child loves (such as sports) if your baby loves balls or model the party after your little one’s favorite book.

The possibilities are only limited only by your imagination!

First Birthday Ideas for Invitations

Invitations for a first birthday party don’t need to be expensive or time-consuming (you ARE still busy taking care of a baby, after all). Keep it simple with these tips:

  • Start by choosing whether you want to print invitations and mail them or send out digital invitations.
  • Consider sending digital invites with Evite. They are quick to make, easy to send out, and cheaper than printed versions (some are even free).
  • Include the pertinent info: cute background, a favorite picture of your little one, and details of the bash.

What Do You Serve At A One-Year-Old Party?

Think about your theme and the type of party you are hosting as you plan out your menu. Some common crowd-favorites include finger foods (chicken nuggets, veggies), chips and dip, fresh fruit, and (of course) cake and ice cream.

If you are planning a more formal event, keep that in mind as you plan your menu.

Don’t Forget the Smash Cake

A first birthday party isn’t complete without a smash cake! But what exactly is it?

Smash cakes are small frosted cakes made just for the birthday guest of honor. Give it to your child and let them dig into it with their hands.

That’s when you get those classic, adorable pictures of your little one with cake all over her face and hair! 🙂

First Birthday Party Food Planning Tips

A little advance planning helps to reduce stress. Trust me on this!

These tips will help you with your planning: 

  • I always reach out to parents in advance and ask about any food allergies or intolerances (there have been multiple times when I have been grateful that I did this).
  • Avoid serving nuts or dry fruit (peanuts, almonds, raisins and so on), popcorn, small hard candies, small fruit like grapes or cherries that may present a choking hazard to the little ones.
  • Plan for some extra food to account for extra people (siblings, nannies, parents) who join in on the fun.
  • Use child-friendly cups, plates, and utensils. Many parents prefer to use disposables.

Picking That Perfect First Birthday Outfit

The outfit you choose should also speak to the occasion, such as the theme or formality of your child’s first birthday party. There are so many places to find an outfit but I have noticed many people look on Instagram for inspiration!

Whether you’re looking for something cute or formal, funny or comfortable, you can find that perfect item with just a little searching.

A Few Final First Birthday Party Ideas and Tips

  • Keep it simple – Many parents find that cake and ice cream or a back yard barbeque shared with family and close friends at home generates wonderful and warm memories. It helps reduces the chance that your baby will be overwhelmed by a huge gathering.
  • Expect a glitch (or two) – From spills to your child bawling while everyone sings ‘Happy Birthday,’ expecting a glitch or surprise will eliminate a great deal of pressure to plan the perfect day. 
  • Let guests know what you want – many guests will ask if you have gift requests. Don’t feel awkward about providing ideas. It will make the shopper’s job easier.
  • Accept help – If someone offers to cut the cake, shoot the video or refill the coffee pot, accept their invitation to lend a helping hand. You’ll make your guests feel comfortable, and they will be contributing to your child’s special day and you’ll benefit from the kind assistance.
  • Savor the moment – Your baby only gets one first birthday. Take a moment to salvage a few small mementos from the day as souvenirs, such as a deflated balloon or an extra invitation. 
  • Respect the nap – Happy, stress-free occasions require a well-rested baby. Birthday parties are no exception, so time the bash around your baby’s nap. Trust me – you’ll thank me for this one.
  • Have a back-up plan for bad weather. We have no control whether it rains or shines. Check the weather app a few days before the party and come up with a plan just in case!
  • Keep it short and sweet – Little ones get overstimulated and tired quickly. Limit your party to 2 hours or less so everyone has a good time.

Now that you made it through your first year of parenthood, it’s time to chose that first birthday outfit, buy a smash cake, and throw that first birthday party! Make it memorable (and stress-free) with these first birthday ideas for a fun party.

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