Party Decor
Party Decor
Ideas And Inspiration For An EPIC First Birthday Party
Monochrome
Monochrome
Ideas And Inspiration For An EPIC First Birthday Party
Balloons
Balloons
Ideas And Inspiration For An EPIC First Birthday Party
Cake
Cake
Ideas And Inspiration For An EPIC First Birthday Party
More Cake
More Cake
Ideas And Inspiration For An EPIC First Birthday Party
Flags & Straws
Flags & Straws
Ideas And Inspiration For An EPIC First Birthday Party
Banners
Banners
Ideas And Inspiration For An EPIC First Birthday Party
Layer Up
Layer Up
Ideas And Inspiration For An EPIC First Birthday Party
Words
Words
Ideas And Inspiration For An EPIC First Birthday Party
Pin Image

Ideas And Inspiration For An EPIC First Birthday Party

Author: Lolly Gautier-Ollerenshaw

Next month Hector turns one. ONE! How is that even possible? It feels like sometimes I’ve been captured by a Time Lord and whizzed away and back again in a Tardis in what feels like a heartbeat and a century all at the same time.

It has definitely been the longest year of my life; I’m exhausted and I have the equivalent of a full suite of Louis Vuitton luggage underneath each eye, I’ve yet to lose the last bit of baby weight (seriously when will the double chin shift itself?!) and I have the opening credits of ’64 Zoo Lane’ constantly whirling around inside my head.

But I wouldn’t change it for anything….well perhaps a week’s worth of sleep 😉

Anyway since Hector reaches the big 1.0 in less than four weeks my thoughts have turned somewhat to planning his first birthday party. I’m not trying to kid myself into thinking that he’s going to remember the celebrations and let’s face it, a first birthday party is for the adults more than it’s for the small pints but I couldn’t not acknowledge the special day in some way. So for those of you planning your own mini parties, I thought I’d share some of my party planning inspiration in the hopes that it might spark off your own creative bonfires. Perhaps you might even share your own birthday themes with us too…

One Focal Point

One of the sagest pieces of advice I was given regarding the planning of Hector’s party arrived when I was pulling my hair out as to ‘how BIG should I go’ when it came to styling and organising the celebrations. I didn’t want to blow our already stretched budget on fripperies that would no doubt be shoved in a black bin bag at the end of the day but I didn’t not want to make an effort either.

Instead a friend of mine suggested that I focus on styling one area of the venue where the party was going to be held – namely the dessert/food table since this would be where most guests would gravitate towards anyway. This would create maximum impact whilst being kind on the purse too. With this plan in mind, I’ve decided to decorate one long table on which the cake will take pride of place complete with banners above (more on this in a moment) and balloons at the side and hopefully heaving with sweet treats and tasty nibbles.

Balloons

Theme wise I knew that we just had to go down the animal route. Hector adores animals but I wasn’t about to hire the services of a travelling zoo any time soon. Balloons seemed a good way to bring the animals in whilst ticking off the decor box too. They’re big so they fill spaces easily and cheaply to boot.

There are literally hundreds of balloons of all different shapes and sizes out there so the world is pretty much your oyster. If your Princess wants unicorns galloping around her party there’s a balloon for that, if a flamingo themed party is right up your street then there’s some for you too. Palm trees, pandas, polar bears even polaroid balloons – I came across pretty much everything on my travels. In the end, I settled for Zebras and panthers with some animal print balloons too and will be inflating them on the premises using a helium tank purchased via Amazon.  Bingo!

Oh and when the party is over I’ll be sending each kid home with one of the balloons from the day – they’ll be happy and it will be one less thing to clear away at the end. Two birds, one stone.

Cake

As Julia Child once remarked, ‘A party without cake is just a meeting’ so I’m intending to have cake and LOTS of it. Plus I know that a fair few of our guests have a sweet tooth or ten. I’ve enlisted the help of a family friend who has an awesome bakery in Birmingham to make Hector’s first birthday cake and a few others on the side. Think a single very deep tier covered in white chocolate curls and awesome candles! Whilst I like the idea of making Hector’s first cake, my personal cooking triumphs are few and far between…in this case I’ll leave it to the experts.

Inspired by Rock My Wedding’s recent collaboration with Marks and Spencer, I’ve also invested in a couple of Schleich figurines for the cake topper which I think I’ll make some miniature hats for (like the bear in the slider at the top) – so cute!!

There are so many amazing cakes out there that I just had to add a few extra into the gallery – particular highlights are that rosy hued cake with the coconut dusted outer layer and rose garnish and the sherbet lemon cake with hundreds and thousands and flying saucers. SO PRETTY!

Streamers & Banners

I love a banner. In fact I can’t get enough of them which you probably saw when I showed you around Hector’s nursery  so I definitely made the most of the opportunity to indulge this weakness and buy this tasselled beauty from Molly Meg. On a serious note though, banners, tassels, pennants, bunting and streamers are all effective ways of creating a real impact without having to spend too much…even more so when layered up in different colours too.

I particularly adore the bunting mixed with tiny pompoms on a string combined with hanging streamers in the gallery image above – it looks so fun yet would have taken only minutes to hang up and pull together. The tree trunk cake stands are a clever touch too! Now where’s the nearest fallen tree….

Charlotte also shared her super sweet bunting with a sentimental touch – the “12 months of Mabel” from Mabel’s birthday party recently on the blog which I’m thinking of cheekily copying for Hector’s soiree. Such a brilliant idea that can be reused in their nurseries and then packed away for future teenage reminiscing after the event is over.

Final Details

Lastly it’s the tiny details that really do make all the difference when it comes to really selling a theme. Paper plates in your said colour theme with matching cups, clever cake stands, extravagant candles, sweet mini bunting cake toppers, personalised name tags, miniature milk bottles with witty tags….honestly it’s very VERY easy to get carried away…

Of all the quirky styling touches I came across I loved the birch patterned straws in their very own bark clad container and I fell head over heels for the animal shapes on the sticks. I’m not sure if I’ll have time to put on my DIY hat before the day itself but I reckon I can stretch to the straws for the kids at least….(that’s what I’ll be telling the boy anyway!)

So there we have it – hopefully I’ll be able to share some details from Hector’s birthday on the blog. At the very least I’ll be posting a few sneaky peeks from my Instagram page anyway.

Are any of you planning birthday parties for your little ones? What theme have you gone for? Do any of you have handy tips to pass onto me? Anything I should be aware of?

Image sources | Girl with Crown | Baby With Backdrop | Monochrome Party Table | Black Balloon | Pastel Pompoms | Picnic Balloons | Coconut Cake | Naked Bear Cake | Flying Saucer Cake | Trio Of Cakes | Animal Flags | Straws | Tassel Banner | Star Banner |Giant Balloons | Pretty Pink Party | Bottles of Pop | Animal Cake

{Contributors}
Author
Author: Lolly
Lolly is a self-professed frustrated florist and styling maven with an endless passion for all things pretty.
Follow Lolly on instagram @graceandgable
{VISIT OUR AMAZING SPONSORS}

21 thoughts on “Ideas And Inspiration For An EPIC First Birthday Party

  1. Cripes! My advice would be……. don’t spend too much, or go to a ridiculous amount of effort. Invite people you want to spend the day with, who are important to you. Get a cake (of course!) – I made one as it’s important to me to make my daughter’s birthday cakes myself. Get M&S sandwiches (it’s not important to me to make a thousand sandwiches) . Get your mum to make biscuits. Do nice, full party bags with cheap stuff off Amazon. Have a colour theme – so much easier than any other type of theme. Raid Tesco/Home Bargains for decorations and party-wear (shock horror, no fancy expensive trendy shops!!) Don’t worry if you forget to blow up the million balloons you bought. And make sure you have PLENTY of fizz for the mummies!

    1. Haha! The M&S sandwiches are already on order Sophie and the prosecco is definitely going to be on tap! I hadn’t considered party bags – I’m thinking a bit of cake and a cool balloon will be more than enough but perhaps I’ll supply a few treats…

  2. I literally cannot wait to see this party come together! Animals is the best theme for kiddies and quite possibly what I was planning for Molly’s birthday later this year. She would probably prefer disney princess but she shares the party with a friends little boy so don’t think he would appreciate that. On that note, joint parties are a great way to relieve the budget. I’m lucky that my friends little boy was born the day after Molly and so with the same friendship group, schools etc we have it sorted! For Molly’s second birthday we had a teddy bears picnic which was great fun for the littles. Think check blankets, teddy sandwiches, bumble bee cakes and so on. Last year it was a circus theme which was great. The Schleich animals made an appearance on the cake jumping through glitter pipe cleaner hoops. So far Alice has had, unsurprisingly, a mad hatters tea party and paddling pool party complete with blow up flamingoes! Kids parties are my absolute favourite although like you I do tend to get carried away with the decorations (and the budget!!). xxx p.s. Wait to see what I’m bringing later on today. There may be mini animals and party hats involved! x

    1. I remember having a couple of joint parties in my time Lottie – one was a kind of glow in the dark detective adventure – which I shared with a boy and was possibly my favourite party ever. I was an unusual child. I love the idea of a circus theme and I’m definitely going to be stealing the miniature party hats and presents idea. Awesome!!

  3. Tom will be 1 in exactly one month and I am planning a vintage circus themed party. Originally I was going to be sensible and have a family party with tea and cake, but you only have your first baby’s first birthday once. So many lovely folk have helped us through Tom’s first year and I want to celebrate them as much as anything else. So we are having décor, massive cake, lots of food and compulsory party hats. I can go back to being sensible the day after.

    1. Ahhhh I love this Susie – a way to celebrate your family as much as baby Tom himself. That’s so kind and thoughtful – I’m thinking perhaps I should do the same! I think I like the idea of showing Hector when he’s older his first party and what he looked like so I can’t help myself making an effort.

  4. Juliet was born in March and when she was 3 months old my best friend and my sister threw 5th birthday parties for their own children. And they were epic! So I’ve sort of been thinking about Juliet’s first party since then. Now it won’t be on the scale of a 5th birthday party but I still want to celebrate. It will be mid March so will need to be indoors and I think we’ll have some sort of afternoon tea affair. I know some awesome bakers so want a tiered naked Victoria sponge (this was my second choice for a wedding cake so I get to have it this way) and some homemade party ring biscuits because i love the colours! I love the idea of just decorating the table area though. That will stop me from going to crazy. Just 6 more months to wait! Hector’s party sounds lovely. I hope you have a good time!

    1. Hi Jennifer – thanks so much for your kind words and honestly it will fly by to March so definitely worth planning it all now! I think I need to hear more about these homemade party ring biscuits – they sound amazing!

  5. I love your theme. I never was a fan of monochrome but the more I look at Hetctor’s nursery and your inspiration pics the more I love it. I reckon I need another baby and another nursery to decorate!

    Concentrating your styling efforts on one area is definitely the way to go. I did a cake table complete with bunting indoors but as it was a garden affair there were confetti balloons and honeycomb decorations (ikea have a great selection http://www.ikea.com/gb/en/search/?query=visionar) out there too and maybe a flower garland on Anna’s swing….yeah so much for concentrating on one area. You can check some of it out on my instagram https://instagram.com/explore/tags/annachopsturnsone/.

    I’ve enjoyed making Anna’s cake but Sophie is right do the things that you enjoy and are important to you and relax about the rest. From the looks of it Hector will have once cool party!

    1. Hi Kat bizarrely I was never a fan of monochrome either but somehow I seem to be drawn to the theme and colour scheme over and over again. I think partly because it’s so forgiving and partly because you can pair pretty much anything with it. Plus it’s unisex so bits and pieces can easily be transferred in the case of nursery decor over to baby no 2 regardless of gender.
      A flower garlanded swing sounds like the best thing ever and your photos from the party look amazing – particularly the image bunting, so sweet!

  6. All the ideas sound fabulous. We actually did hire a travelling zoo (well a little petting zoo with small animals! – well Annie was two and it was summer!!) And we also did the cake with the schleich animals and party hats – thank you Pinterest! (Pics on my instagram – achichiaffair.

    I say go all out! People may criticise but he is your baby boy and I’m sure you love him more than anything in the whole world – why would you not want to celebrate that!!

    Rx

    1. Ahhh Rachie that sounds amazing! I think if we did have a travelling zoo then Hector would be in his element. He squeals with glee whenever he sees a animal but he’ll have to make do with balloons this time round. The party hats on the animals sounds wonderful – I might have to do something similar myself!

  7. Love a first birthday party! We did cloudy lemonade and cake at home in August for our daughter’s birthday, with close family, godparents and a couple of Orla’s tiny friends (and their parents!). I followed a similar plan to Sophie above, I did get a few bits of decorations (including the fab DIY bunting from This Modern Life that Lauren has mentioned on here before), some helium balloons and I made some 12 months of Orla bunting, finished off with a polaroid taken on the morning of her birthday! We have a fab bubble machine, and Orla got a circus tent from her grandparents for her birthday so we popped them in the back yard too!!
    One thing I would suggest is to think of the timing – we planned ours from 4 until 6 so that the babies could have their tea, and Orla normally has a long sleep in the afternoon. Safe to say, she wasn’t feeling a nap on her birthday (a lot of the guests were visiting from afar so arrived much earlier, so she was much too busy opening presents!), so I ended up driving around between 3 and 4 to get her to have a sleep before everyone else arrived!! I would also recommend borrowing high chairs/booster seats (or asking people to bring their own!) so that all the tiny guests have somewhere to eat while they smear cake around!! A LOT easier than letting them eat cake whilst sitting on your knee!!

    1. The circus tent sounds amazing Amy and I’ve been toying with the idea of getting a bubble machine for a while now. We’ve planned a day from 1-3.30 as Hector tends to have a long morning nap and then a shorter one at about 3.30 in the afternoon but I’m thinking that there’ll be a bit of sleep resistance on the day itself…We’ll have to wait and see..

  8. I also have an almost-one year old. He’s my second baby so I’ve done this party thing twice before. Baby no. 1 had a safari-themed first birthday party and a transport-themed second birthday. By the time his second birthday came around I had gazillions of ideas (damn you Pinterest)! Definitely a great idea to go for the table as the focal point, that’s what I’ll be doing this time too but I am planning an ‘open-house’ day rather than a specific party time and… a DIY cake smash photo session at somepoint either in the morning or before bed (and bath!). Goodness knows how this will go… eek.

    1. I know Joanna – Pinterest is both a blessing and curse isn’t it. So many ideas so little time. I take my hat off to you for the open-house philosophy, such a lovely idea and takes the pressure off other families for trying to get there at a certain time. I’ve heard lots about these cake-smash sessions, I just couldn’t bear the idea of cleaning up but so many friends have said how fun they are!

  9. The schleich animals are just the best cake toppers – and anything that can double up as something to run around the house with afterwards making noises is a winner in my book. On that note I love anything that can be doubled up as bedroom decor after or reused for another theme later on. The focal point is such a good way to do it – you need far less but still create the same impact.
    I have 21 kids partys under my belt now. Wowzers, I’ve never counted that before. Thats just my own, all home hosted, and then for each of those I must have been to 12-30 of other peoples for each of these counting their friends ones – thats too big to count and probably a scary amount of hours spent with cake and balloons! I reckon I could write a thesis. I completely love them though and do still go ott on each and every one of them.
    My two very top tips would be to plan enough for kids to do. Obviously if you only have 1 year old babies this is easy enough – you might not want to attempt cande making just yet… but (sorry… here is my creative youth resource role coming out) I always have at least 4 activities which are varied between physical and creative and some things that might require parent help and others that dont. The best parties are ones when the parents can actually have a catch up, a glass of wine and a chat… which doesn’t happen with bored children, or when there’s 20 kids and one trampoline and nothing else to do. For younger parties face paints, colouring sheets, lucky dip and treasure hunts are dead easy to do on theme and keep them happy and having the choice of activities means they can get a bit of space away from other children if its all a bit overwhelming.
    Then I’d also say keep party bags simple. A piece of cake and a balloon is an absolutely lovely treat to take away from a party… and if you want to go do more then make it usable. Its ridiculous the amount of plastic tat I’ve thrown in the bin over the years – its just not necessary. Some of my fave ones have been where they’ve made a t shirt, so brought that home or been given a book or a simple wooden toy. It doesnt have to be expensive. One of mine that went down the best was my daughter’s storybook party where I’d just been out to charity shops and found old copies of classics like The Secret Garden, Black Beauty etc with the prettiest covers I could find. Each of them took home an old book wrapped in ribbon with a couple of sugar mice. I dont think any one of those books cost more than 50p but they felt really special and went down about a gazillion times better with parents than a neon plastic harmonica!
    Really love some of the ideas on this slider – I’m such a monocrome fan too. Happy planning!

    1. Amanda there are so many good ideas here that I may have to steal some for future use. The simple route for party bags is definitely up my street and the book idea is definitely going down in my book of ideas for older birthday parties.
      We have a mixture of kids coming but not that many in all – probably no more than about 6 or so and a range of ages too so I’ll have to have a think about the ‘activity’ side of things. Colouring is a good idea as is the ‘lucky dip’. Thanks so much for all the advice! xx

  10. Omg, my little girl is one in the middle of October, and I have been a very bad mummy and not even thought of where/what to do for her party!!! Cue a very quick trip to town today, and ta da, we are having a butterfly themed do at the local garden centre, which also has a soft play area. Even sorted the party bags and cake decorations! Feeling much more organised now, so thanks a million squigillion for the well timed post/reminder!!! X

    1. Absolutely no problem at all Danielle – I have to say I’m incredibly impressed that you’ve managed to sort everything out including party bags in a single day. I wish I was so organised! Super mummy points go to you!

  11. I’m currently planning my son’s 1st birthday, I’m finding that the two hardest jobs are –
    What theme should I use?
    & like yourself, how big should I go?
    I tried to organise the whole party by myself, however we have a very big family so I’m using bespoke children party planners.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *