A simple first birthday party

When planning a birthday party the easiest way to go about it is to pick a theme and draw from it for ideas regarding decorations, food, games etc. However, it isn't necessary. And when planning for a first birthday party, your child's interests may not be very clear yet, so it can make party planning a little more tricky.

When I thought about planning my daughter's first birhday party, I thought about what it was going to be to me. Ultimately, it was a celebration for us having made it to ONE. She had gone through many trials in her short life and we were just ready to celebrate getting to one with a happy, healthy baby. There was a lot of reflection on the year past and so I knew, I just wanted to celebrate her and remember how far we'd gotten.

I picked out a few colors to stick to, decided I'd have lots of pictures hanging around, and a few other ideas stemmed from that.

I had hundreds of instagram pictures on my account, and I loved the look of the square photo printed, so I got about 150 of my favorites printed. Then I attached twine to some of my windows, fireplace, tables etc and used tiny little clothes pins to hang them. It was my favorite thing about the party--the guests spent a lot of time looking over each one of them and it started some great conversation.

With any party I plan, I have a pretty frugal budget in mind. While I love 'going overboard' and planning each detail out, I am too practical to hire things out or spend frivolously on everything for the day. The photos were my biggest expense (aside from food for dinner), but it cost less than $50 to have them all printed. When the party was over, I put them all in her time capsule...

Since we invited all of our closest family and friends to her first birthday party, and I knew we wouldn't be doing that for all her parties, I loved the idea of having them write a letter to her to have when she was older. I asked everyone to write something to her, or put something in a little box I had prepared as her 'time capsule'. When the party was over, I put a letter from her father and I and all the photos and momentos from the party in it and wrapped it up so it'd be preserved for her future self. I can't wait to give it to her!

While there were some younger cousins at the party, it was mainly adults. And what's a party without a party favor? One thing I did as a favor was a balloon wreath game. I made a balloon wreath for decoration--but also as a game. I had each guest write down how may balloons they thought it took to make the wreath and whoever was closest won a bottle of 'whine'.

I also made a bunch of #1 sugar cookies for the party but also wrapped individually for guests to take home with them as a thank-you. Many of them traveled quite a ways to be with us, and I know they appreciated the guesture...it was important to me they knew how much we appreciated them being with us.

To save on money, I simply made a couple of different types of cupcakes for the guests instead of a cake, and I used some of the batter from the cupcakes to make a small smash cake for the birthday girl. I simply used a tipped piping bag and a can of vanilla frosting died three different colors and piped roses on the smash cake--less than $5. For decoration, I just put some #1's in some of the cupcakes, and printed the birthday girl's face with a party hat on, taped it to a stick, and stuck it in the cupcakes. I loved the way it turned out...the dessert table cost me no more than $25.

Any other decorations included some balloons, and pictures that I had already from around the house and in her room. I also put out any photo books that I had put together already for people to look at. Outside, we simply put some yard games (bean bag toss, ladder golf etc) and kid toys.

Her first birthday was perfect. It was a great example of celebrating the birthday kid without going overboard but having a great cohesive look without a real 'theme'.

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