An Uncomplicated Life Blog: How To Plan the BEST Birthday Party For A 1 Year Old


Monday, May 18, 2015

How To Plan the BEST Birthday Party For A 1 Year Old

Tips on planning a fun birthday event for your little one

It's no secret that our little peanut turned one on Saturday. It's also no secret that I don't care for typical children's parties. They're an extensive amount of work for the parents hosting the party, they're hardly fun for parents bringing their children to said party, and if you're inviting child-less friends to come and celebrate too, forget it. They'll grin and bare it, but only for your sake! How can you plan a party that's fun for everyone, adults and children alike? The good news is, it's relatively easy. Here's the truth of the matter: First birthday parties are for parents, not for the actual child. They'll be too young to remember it. They won't know who came, who didn't, and who gave them which gift. They might not even be interested in the gifts - my kids always prefer the wrapping! Use these tips to create a fun party for you and your party attendees. Odds are pretty strong that they'll help put a smile on your newly turned one year old, too.

So how did we celebrate Henry's debut into toddler-hood? We cooked for two days, bought several cases of beer and wine, got some fancy cupcakes and a few cutesy decorations from my friends at They have the BEST invitations and decorations for all sorts of celebrations - showers, birthdays, anniversaries and more!

Start with planning a menu that is manageable for the size of the crowd you're having. You don't want to do mini-sliders if you're feeding 50 people. Trust me, I did this for our second son's first birthday and it took ages to put all those sliders together! Plan a menu that's easy to serve. Since Henry is a late spring baby and we were going to have 40 people there, we did pulled pork in a crockpot. That was easy to make because it's low-maintenance. Then all the party goers could build their own sandwiches, and I didn't have to worry about keeping anything warm or setting out new, hot food since the crockpot did all the work for me. We did a few easy to make in bulk quinoa and pasta salad to round out the "BBQ" theme and boom. Food for a crowd that was easy to prepare in advance and easy to serve!

Half of the spread

In addition to the cute party supplies I ordered off of Minted, the morning of the party, I headed to a party supply store and got some balloons, just to be extra festive. I just beat the rush, and holyguacamole, what is with the excessive princess crap for children's birthdays?! The woman in front of me bought $70 worth of princess balloons. Pro tip, get to party supply stores EARLY and better yet, order your balloons in advance! You can buy balloons anywhere now, even Amazon, then bring them to a Party City or other party supply store and pay to have them inflated. Then you can set up your pick up time the morning of your party and whoohoo - you beat the rush and you don't have to wait for them to inflate them!

 Ahem. Back to the awesome party we threw.

Cupcake flags/banners from Minted!

We had about 35 people eat and drink their way through Henry's party. Corn hole was a massive hit with the 15 months-4 year old demographic. Henry was passed from person to person, drooling this thanks on all the guests. My mom managed the food situation. And the weather, which has been about six weeks of a non-stop monsoon here in Dallas, cleared and the sun shined!

That's a huge tip: have a plan B in case of rain. If your house won't fit everyone, call around to different locations to see what your options are. Parks usually have pavilions, but they need to be rented out in advance. Restaurants have party rooms, but most have a food and beverage minimum you need to meet, so it can get expensive. Also have activities for your guests to do! We own a small bounce house now, and would set that up for kids to play in. Like I said, we have a corn hole set that is always popular. Bocce ball is also a big hit if we put it out. Give your guests something fun to do while they're at your child's first birthday! This helps people interact, too, if you're inviting people who may not know each other.

How to plan the best birthday party for a 1 year old:

  • Plan a menu that's low-maintenance for you to cook, and easy for guests to serve themselves if having a large crowd
  • Order balloons and decorations in advance; drop them off at a party supply store early so that you can plan your pick up date and time to avoid lines and delays
  • If planning an outdoor party, look into backup options for inclement weather
  • Party pavilions in parks are often rented in advance; call your Parks and Rec department for availability and fees
  • Plan fun activities for both adults and children (if both will be at your event); yard games are great for outdoor events, board games are great for indoor events

Not impressed with cupcakes, despite the blue icing and sprinkles

Everyone said it was the best one year old birthday party they had been to! Even a dear friend who's hosting his daughter's first birthday party at the end of the month said, "You win at one year old birthday parties."

Here's the thing folks: Your kid is turning one. Do you remember your first birthday? Me neither. So plan your party for the adults who are coming. Especially consider the folks who have rambunctious three and four year olds - have some activities for them to expel their energy, and some alcohol for mom and dad. Have a few things for kiddos to do that are in easy view of where parents can gather and socialize. Keep it simple. The fewer fussy, high maintenance things you provide, the more fun EVERY ONE will have, including you, the parents of that sweet baby who's turning one.


  1. $70 in balloons? Um, no thank you! It looks and sounds like you nailed your party!

  2. Oh dear his face with the cupcake is just the best!!! I loved all your details - great job girl! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

  3. this is my kind of kid party! i totally agree - i'm childless, and i love my kids friends.. but parties aren't necessarily my jam because they are filled with several other people and their kids all vying for the attention of the birthday kid.. if that makes sense. i'd rather just hang out with my friends and their kids so i can monopolise the kid's attention. haha! I love that Henry wasn't impressed with the cupcakes - that's fabulous! let's hope he stays that way ;)

  4. You rocked it! Perfect mix of kid friendly activities and adult fun. Booze should be available at every birthday party, regardless of the age of the person being celebrated...

  5. Now this is how to throw a little kid's birthday! As someone who doesn't have kids yet but gets invited to my friend's parties for their kids, I would enjoy a party like this way more. And the kid would still have tons of fun!

  6. OMGG this is adorable!! perfect!!

  7. Yes! That's exactly what we did. Food, drinks, and way more adults than kids. Now that A will be turning 4 this year it may transition to a "drop your kids off, or we're doing a princess tea" type of party, but for the first 3 years it was much more geared toward adults.

  8. so so true! I never understood all the hoopla about making it about the baby, it should be about the parents! My friends had a "we managed to keep our baby alive" party for their son's first bday and it was awesome

  9. I would have TOTALLY been down to party with y'all. I'm actually kind of bummed we missed it... stupid anniversaries. ;)

  10. Wow, you truly nailed this birthday party. I love your cupcakes. They look so delicious. His face with that cupcake is so hilarious. Love this picture! Anyway, I also attended a grand New York city party yesterday. I enjoyed a lot there with my friends.

  11. Wow great blog! I am also planning to celebrate my child's first birthday. I am planning to hire any of a good catering service in Toronto like Franco Freshy( )which is near us. Hope it goes well and be the best.

  12. When I was a kid I use to go park with my parents , and use to jumping on the bounce house. I always wish if I take this think with my home. But now i can hire inflatable bounce house in my house for party.

  13. Wishing you health, love, wealth, happiness and click here
    just everything your heart desires. Happy Birthday.

  14. Their children to said party, and if you're inviting child-less friends to come and celebrate too, forget it.

  15. I hope you will share such type of impressive contents again with us so that we can utilize it and get more advantage. Perth Bouncy Castle Hire WA

  16. best thing on internet. wanna check out this Best Cordless Steam Mop

  17. For parents planning of a party for their kids can be a pleasure and it brings some fun.We planned our daughters birthdays a lot of times when they were children,but recently as me and my spouse are pretty busy and kids now are teens(it is harder to impress them),we tend to delegate this process to a planning agencies like this one for example
    But of course you should try to do it by yourself at least once,that might be very cool :)


  18. Thanks for the sharing the wonderful post , keep share more post
    party halls in chennai

  19. hello!,I like your writing very much! percentage we be in contact extra about your post on AOL? I require a specialist on this area to solve my problem. Maybe that’s you! Having a look forward to peer you.
    Regards: Eve Hunt

  20. Thanks for the sharing the wonderful post , keep share more post
    wedding & Reception halls in chennai