Welcome to my “Planning a 1st birthday party” mini series. I am sharing everything I am doing and planning for my little girl’s first birthday bash. We are not big on birthdays in this family, there will not be huge parties every year, like my kid’s first year but there is something very special about their 1st birthday to me that I think it’s justifiable to give it a little extra attention.
For my daughter, it will also be her christening on the same day. I am attempting to keep them very separate so I will be doing a post of her birthday party and a post of her christening at the church separately. I never want her to feel like because she is the second child she got less than her brother did with two separate parties. It was just the way it fell that her christening was so close to her turning one and us leaving for America so it was the right decision. So if we all are in the same outfits on both special days, well it’s because it’s the same day! 🙂
Booking It & Invites
I talked A LOT about the importance of lists in Part 1, a place to get all your ideas, wants and needs down on paper first. For Part 2, the fun hasn’t started yet, sorry, it’s now time to make some key decisions and book it!
Here is where you need to book the following:
Cake maker/ Design
(especially in summertime cake makers are very busy and might not be able to fit you in with weddings, birthdays, and christening galore)
For Missy Moo’s cake I designed it myself and asked a friend to make it. You can find tons of pictures online to get inspired. I always like to come up with the overall design myself. My friend has done a few cakes for other parties that have turned out fabulous, so I am very excited. Why not try making it yourself? Save some pennies.
(again if you have your heart set on a certain place, get it booked as soon as you picked a date)
We chose a old barn conversion for Missy Moo’s party, that has plenty of light and room for the kids to run around. I always think in terms of facilities too. Is it going to feel cramped? Is there light or will be feel like they are in a dungeon?
(a kids party always needs something to keep those little people active, this could be a bouncy castle, a clown, or an entertainer)
I booked my kids’ music class teacher to come do an hour entertaining for all the kids. She is great at birthday parties as we had her for Buba’s as well. She always fits her music themed entertainment to the birthday party theme too. Most of your toddler music class teachers will do private parties. The kids love it too because they know her.
(decide what style you want hot or cold buffet are using best for birthday parties and book the caterer, or inform your venue of your food preferences and any allergies or vegetarians that may attend)
I chose a venue that does the catering which makes it easier. Just like all your soft play areas they will have party packages that are great to have everything done for you. We have severe allergies to worry about and a big group of vegetarians that are attending so our venue had to be informed way ahead of time. Birthday parties are always hard for me to enjoy because I am always worried about Buba and his allergies but it will so great to enjoy this one knowing it will all be safe for him to eat and touch.
(some may want a professional photographer, get them booked earlier, especially in summer months. or delegate it out, don’t think you can take them all yourself and talk to everyone and make sure it all goes smoothly. Ask friends to take photos for you. Place disposable cameras on the tables for guests to play around with. Either way don’t forget to capture these great moments).
I have asked a set of friends to all take photos as everyone’s style and angles are different I am hoping to get a lot of various types of shots. I also will attempt with my new found passion for photography to take some myself but like I said when you are talking and catching up with family and friends it’s hard to do. Delegate out for sure!!!
(book a DJ, a lot of pubs do a Dj/function room package deal for birthday parties and christenings. or make a playlist for an ipod sound system, it’s always nicer to have something playing in the back ground)
Our venue has a sound system for your ipod, so I am making a play list to suit a kids birthday party to play in the background until entertainment arrives! Kids love to dance around with each other. If you keep the kids happy, you keep the adults happy!!
It sounds like a huge fancy party, but honestly it’s not. You can apply this to any size party large or small. I am cutting cost down by delegating out to friends and family. Friends have now become cake makers, photographers, and djs (my friend is helping me with my playlist). So you can make a little birthday seem grand without the price tag. And friends love to get involved in your special day! I have always been one to try to do it all myself but lately I am finding out that it is ok to ask for help! You will stress less and enjoy the day more!
I am huge on invites!!! And when I say huge I mean spending as LITTLE MONEY I possibly can on them because they will just go straight into the trash! I made that mistake with my wedding invites and it was just wasted money when I thought about how people just chuck them away except maybe your grandma, mother and self. So if need be buy yourself a nice invite and for the rest of your guests try the following:
USE VISTAPRINT: They have hundreds of predesigned options or make your own options and cheap for a bundle of invites that get quickly delivered to you.
USE STORE MADE: Grocery stores have a few designs for themed parties, that you just have to write in, at affordable prices.
USE ECARDS: Save on paper, the environment and money. No postage necessary. Email out your invites, create your own design in minutes and have an automated RSVP list made for you!
USE PICMONKEY: I use picmonkey.com for everything on my blog and so when it came time to make Missy Moo’s birthday invites, I ran straight to it.
Designing Missy Moo’s birthday invite using PicMonkey:
Step 1: Colors/Theme
I wanted the colors to match the party since there was no real theme, just a color scheme. I chose Peach, Silver and White for my color theme as I thought it was fitting for a 1 year old party and a Christening. I couldn’t chose bright pinks, yellows, and blues like I originally wanted because it wasn’t very fitting for a christening too. There is always next year for the bright and bold!
Step 2: Background & Size
First thing I did was went online and typed in peach free backgrounds. I was lucky enough to find a gorgeous bokeh peach background with white bokeh effect. I screen shot saved it and uploaded to PicMonkey to design my invite. Then I chose what size I wanted it to be. I like 5 x 7 for birthday invites but some prefer 4 x6 to keep postage down. Think about envelope sizes too because you might choose a size that may not fit into any envelope without being awkward.
Step 3: Add Information
Then I chose a font and typed out When, Where, What it was for. If you don’t like the font you chose with picmonkey it’s super easy to highlight and go through them all to see which one looks the best.
Step 4: Add a photo
I love invites that are more personal so I added a photo of Missy Moo so that immediately when her guests open the invite they know it’s for her. With PicMonkey you can resize and shape the image into a heart, circle, oval, rectangle or square beforehand then add it to your invite. So I had two screens open with PicMonkey for this. One to work on the invite and one to shape, edit and save a photo of her.
Step 5: Decorate It
This is the “make it pretty” step! Add doodles, hearts, arrows, bunting, balloons, you name it PicMonkey pretty much has it. You can completely make your invite look professionally made and personal. Get your creative juices flowing here. I used mini bunting in the corner as I had a lot of information to put on the invite.
YOU ARE DONE!
*this is as close as to her real invite as I could get, I made it quickly so you could visually see, real one is MUCH prettier, font is aligned and everything flows better promise!
The beauty of PicMonkey is that you can change it around a few different ways to see what looks best. I think I made three different ones and then chose the best of the three. Want landscape or horizontal try both, see what you think. Your choices are endless. It was fun to play around with it and it’s FREE!
I saved my image as a jpeg then ordered invites from Tesco’s Online Photo service, three days later they were delivered to my house, high gloss photo invites made by Yours Truly! It was cheap to use Tesco’s photo services too. They are fast and easy to upload your image from your computer or iPhone. I also saved my Tesco vouchers so this actually didn’t cost me anything. I then bought my 5 x7 envelopes from the pound shop!
My 1st Birthday Mini Series:
Part 1: Making Lists (start from the beginning)
Part 2: Booking It & Invites (here)
Part 3: Making the Decorations (stay tuned)
What do you think of my planning a 1st birthday party so far? Have I sparked any ideas for your little ones big day? Would love to hear your thoughts, ideas, and comments. The fun will now start to begin with making the decorations and setting up that all too famous Cake Smashing Photo Shoot so please stay tuned!!!!!