The Ultimate 1st Birthday Party Planning Guide

Unless you’re a party planner by trade or natural inclination, preparing for your baby’s 1st Birthday Party can be a bit stressful: Where do I start? What theme to choose? Who to invite? To buy or DIY decorations? How much money do I really need to spend on a party the baby won’t remember? What exactly is a “smash cake” anyway?

I have been determined NOT to get stressed out over planning Taylor’s birthday party, because Lord knows I already have enough emotions going on with the winding down of our nursing relationship, seeing her basically turn into a kid right before my eyes, etc. to add stress to the emotional mix. If you’ve read this blog for a while you’ll know that the only way I get anything accomplished (without losing my mind to stress) is through some kind over over-analyzed organizational system (but that’s kinda why you like me, right?).

True to form, that’s exactly how I’ve tackled planning Taylor’s birthday party and it’s been smooth sailing thus far. T Minus two weeks until the big day! I wanted to share the following with you in the hopes that it will help your own party planning process go smoothly.

  1. A 1st Birthday Party planning checklist
  2. Unique 1st Birthday Party themes
  3. Perfect Gift Ideas for a 1 Year Old

1st Birthday Party Planning Checklist:

This checklist has helped keep me organized and able to ENJOY the process of planning such a milestone event for Taylor:

Access the printable PDF version HERE.

Creative 1st Birthday Party Theme Ideas:

These theme ideas were crowdsourced from my AMAZING Instagram family in this original post. Some words of advice that I found really helpful were to pick a color palette and theme early on, and then to focus on a few key pieces and decor to bring your theme to life. My favorite idea is definitely the last one on the list, from The Mamaste Blog. I actually ended up coming up with a theme that isn’t included on the list below…I can’t wait to reveal what we picked!

Access the printable PDF version HERE.

The Best Gifts for a 1 Year Old (Girl or Boy!)

These are gifts I’ve either purchased in recent months, or are on our current wish list for Taylor’s 1st Birthday! Some are toys while others serve as creative play spaces for little ones. Many of the linked items are Amazon Prime eligible (free 1-2 day shipping and free returns, among other perks!), so if you don’t already have a Prime membership, sign up for an Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial here.

  1. Personalized Wooden Name Puzzle (option for pastel or primary colored lettering)
  2. Something to ride like the classic Little Tikes Cozy Coup (red or pink), The Step2 Easy Steer Sportster, or a splurge on this motorized Land Rover
  3. Little Tikes Trampoline
  4. Happy Birthday Baby  or Baby Touch & Feel: Happy Birthday board books
  5. Pop Up Play Tunnel
  6. Crayola Wonder Color Drawing Paper (mess free coloring!)
  7. Hape Pound and Tap Bench with Xylophone
  8. Fisher Price Little People Fun Sounds Farm
  9. Manhattan Nurturing First Baby Doll and accessories: Stroller, Feeding Set and Changing Set. I got a brown-haired Stella doll for Taylor that giggles and says, “mama”!
  10. Water Table like this one (best seller and available on Amazon Prime) or this one with an umbrella, but my personal favorite is this one (pictured above).
  11. Land of Nod Tee Pee and cushion
  12. Fisher Price Corn Popper
  13. Playroom table and chairs set
  14. Melissa & Doug Shape Sorter
  15. Mega Blocks or Tegu Magnetic Wooden Blocks
  16. Ball Pit (this inflatable pool) and Balls (100 count, so I would by a couple sets). You could even add a slide for extra fun!!

I hope this planning guide is helpful to you or a mama you know (please do share!).

Is there anything I left off the party planning checklist? What about other gift ideas for a 1 year old? I would love to know what you are planning to choose or what you did choose for your child’s first birthday theme. Leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts!

xo, Ashley (1)
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