Friday, October 12, 2012

First Birthday Party Ideas {Setting A Pace}

Planning any party can feel like a daunting task, and a first birthday party can feel extra challenging when you are trying to balance life and your baby!

As I mentioned in my previous post, I had passing thoughts about Noah's party since the day he was born. But when time came to really start planning his first birthday celebration, I knew I needed to set a pace to get it all done on time, without feeling stressed.

I had the hardest time knowing where to start...I know, it doesn't make sense from someone who has made a career out of children's party designing and planning...but it's true. I think part of me wanted to postpone him turning one, and I thought by postponing the first birthday party planning, it would postpone the event itself. Reality: time doesn't stop.

Now that I am really into the last few weeks of planning his party, I am so thrilled and excited, I can hardly wait for the celebration!

I have learned many new things while planning Noah's first birthday party, and I would love to share them with you!

First, it was a struggle, where to scratch the surface? I turned to another for help! I discussed it with my husband Ryan, which helped immensely. He loves and adores Noah, and is the most amazing husband anyone could ask for--and puts up with me talking about festooning or cakes for hours on end. I know how truly lucky I am. He has been terrific, with insight and thoughts on themes, color-schemes...sure he doesn't really want to chat about it for any real length of time, but he helps me decide between idea one and two, this color or that color--which is wonderful!

I decided to knock out the basics first...

WHO do we invite to the celebration? In our case, immediate family.

WHEN will the party take place? I considered first the DATE that worked best for us and our family members (especially those who travels often). Then we chose a TIME based on Noah's napping schedule, the daylight (best for taking photos--wouldn't work too well if it were dark out since I love natural light photography), and some other factors as well.

WHAT will the party be? A luncheon, brunch? Based on the time of day, we knew that a serving a full meal wasn't necessary. We decided on traditional cake & ice cream, and a party only lasting one hour.

WHERE will the party take place? This was a tough one for us. We had to consider the ages of the children attending and a place safe and appropriate for them, choose a space large enough to accommodate all of our guests comfortably, and within our budget.

After we got those basics down, we were able to focus on the more creative aspects! Choosing a color scheme and theme, then ordering the invitations.

I sat down and wrote out a basic timeline of when things needed to be completed or ordered by...such as making sure the photographer was booked well in advance, the cake ordered at least 2 weeks before the party, and getting the invitations ready to send out one month prior to the party date.

Since I will be making a few things for the party myself, I decided to pick up the materials as far in advance as I could (after I finally chose the color scheme) so I could work on them bit by bit during the evenings after Noah went to bed.

We also lined up some child care for Noah the day before the party, to make sure that he was kept on his nap schedule and feeling good while I was able to devote my attention to getting the room ready for the big day.

What I have learned is that it isn't easy to make every deadline. It has been extremely helpful having a basic timeline and schedule I set for myself, but regardless, it is not totally realistic to go by it day by day.

 I have found some DARLING items I would have loved for the party AFTER the deadline to order has already passed. And it was OKAY.

I have discovered that not every night was I going to have the energy to make certain items, so I decided to allow others to help, and enjoy the time I did have to create party goods.

I am a perfectionist to a fault, and so this experience has been extra challenging for me, yet also an amazing opportunity for growth. It thrills me to say that not everything is ordered yet with just a few weeks to go, and not every item is made (including Noah's party hat which I fully intend to make myself),--and I am okay with that, because I know it will still be a most wonderful celebration.

Planning the party with the help of others, doing it bit by bit during nap times or after Noah goes to sleep, has been extremely helpful.

Getting the basics (Who/What/When/Where and colors and theme)selected and invites out the door has been a huge relief, and discovering the joys of letting things go and recognizing not everything is going to be perfect has been a challenge, but a great one at that.

Noah is officially 11 and 1/2 months old, so today I am going to snap out of party planning mode, and enjoy the day with my sweet baby boy!

Stay tuned MONDAY FOR SOMETHING HUGE. I am so so thrilled about this, and hope you will stop by and take a look!

Do YOU have any tips that helped make planning your little one's first birthday easier?


Jennifer Tetreault said...

What a great post, Kate! As party stylists, we're never "done" creating. My husband always teases that even if I complete everything that I plan on, my imagination takes over and I just add something else to the list. The bottom line is, no one will ever know what projects you didn't do. Refocus that energy on relishing the celebration for your little one and savoring every second. :)

Barry and Rena said...

great tips!!

Lauren said...

Really great tips for first birthdays!

Julie Gallagher said...

Enjoy every moment - it goes so fast! can't wait to see the actual party I am sure it will be fabulous!

Michele I said...

Just enjoy and have someone video tape everything