Enchanted Mommy

It’s Party Time: Planning a 1st Birthday Party

So, we hear someone is turning one… it’s time for a birthday, right?!

Don’t worry – there are plenty of other birthday parties to host down the line. According to professional party planners, your little one likely isn’t ready to celebrate in style, so it’s OK if the party is geared towards the friends and family of mom and dad. 

Your baby’s first birthday is a big deal, both for you and baby. That means it’s the perfect time to celebrate this milestone for both of you. While your baby might not be walking, talking, or really ready to enjoy a party of their own, a first birthday needs to be celebrated. Mark the occasion by hosting a birthday party for your baby, close friends, and family. We’ve got you covered on how to do this in style but without breaking the bank. 

First, we’ll cover a few basic questions like how long the party should last, some great places to get both gifts and gear, as well as a few theme ideas. Then we’ll get into the specifics!

Here are a handful of commonly-asked questions about hosting a first birthday party. 

  • What can you do for a first birthday?
  • How much should you plan to spend on your baby’s first birthday?
  • What are some popular party themes? 
  • How long should the party last? 

What can you do for a first birthday

Celebrate, of course! 

A first birthday party is a big occasion for both baby and parents, so there’s no reason to skip out on a party or celebrations just because the guest of honor isn’t fully ready to appreciate a party in their name. 

There are so many different things you can do to celebrate your baby’s first birthday. There are some special things you can plan to do, like take a photo with your baby for a keepsake. You can also think about writing them a letter to read later in life. Another way to celebrate baby’s birthday is to try a new experience together. Of course, these aren’t necessarily party ideas, but they are activities that baby can enjoy too. 

In terms of the party, keep it simple. 

How much should we spend on the first birthday party

Party planners suggest budgeting somewhere between $300.00 and $1,000. Of course, budget is a personal preference. To help you get a better idea of what exactly you might need to add in to your party budget, consider the following: 

  • Food
  • Decorations
  • Goody bags or party favors
  • Gifts
  • Cake 

That should help you get started!

What are some popular first birthday party themes?

At this stage, there won’t be too many opinions from the peanut gallery (your baby) about what sorts of decor to have, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with the party theme. Experts suggest staying away from clowns and similar costumes or decor in order to make sure your little one doesn’t get scared or shy away from the party. 

These 46 creative 1st birthday party ideas should get you going, but some of our favorites include: 

  • A country fair
  • Forest fur friends
  • Cars-themed
  • Sports of any kind, from football to hockey
  • Baby shark (check out this sweet decor theme
  • Disney
  • Princess themed (you should absolutely order a crown like this) 
  • Sun and Moon 

Check out some other fun themes for your baby’s party here

How long should the party be? 

For one thing, you know your baby’s schedule. Plan to host the party during a 2-hour window that will help baby be on his or her best behavior. You don’t want the party to be too close to nap time, bed time, or another part of your routine that could throw behavior off. That said, 2 hours is a great timeline for a first birthday party so the guest of honor isn’t overwhelmed after the party, or even during. 

What to Expect shares some great insight on how to time the birthday party for the little guest of honor. 

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s talk about the goodies! 

Party Favors for the Kids


One of our favorite parts of our childrens’ birthday parties is the goodie bags. Party favors are a fun way to make the celebration memorable for everyone. From cake-pops or decorated edible favors to cutesy boxes full of small toys, trinkets, cups, or similar items are perfect for a first birthday. You can even find matching party favors to your decorations from Etsy or Amazon, which we totally recommend. There’s nothing like a one-stop-shop.

Party favors for the Adults

Depending on the theme of the party you’re hosting, party favors for the adults can be lots of fun too. Especially if you manage to match them with your theme. Say your little girl is the perfect match for a princess party. There’s no reason not to order personalized glasses or cups that will go along with the decor and the guests when they head home. 

Maybe baby girl isn’t necessarily ready for a bottle, but your gal pals will be ready for this rose-gold bottle opener

Giving Little One Their Gifts

No party is complete without the gift table. Even though your baby might be a little young to enjoy the full festivities, gift-giving is not one of those things. With the help of moms everywhere, we are putting together a little list of great first birthday gifts for your little one, all of which are below $100. Check back soon! 

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