5 Must-Haves for Baby's First Birthday

Baby 11

first birthday partyOr, should I say five must-haves for my baby's first birthday, but perhaps you'll love these ideas, as well.

Now, a first birthday party can go one of two ways, and I fully support both: 1) a low-key family affair or 2) a huge bash that's solely for the mother and father to celebrate the fact they made it a year with their sanity in tact.

I chose option #2.

Kyle's first birthday party was quite the get-together. For one, we had about 50 people in our 1300-square-foot house without the ease of going outside since it was 40 degrees out, so the chaos was unreal. Thankfully, we also served alcohol. (You don't have to drink at your kid's party -- and I didn't -- but you could offer your sweet guests the opportunity.)

Anyway, here are the five things I had at my son's birthday party that I absolutely loved, and you're welcome to snatch the ideas for yourself if you think they're as awesome as I do.


1. Each week of Kyle's first year of life I took a picture of him in the same rocking chair. The Rocking Chair Series is what I called these pictures, and I chose one picture from each month to display at his party. Like this:

first birthday party

I used twine and tiny clothespins.

2. Pick out a great outfit that screams BIRTHDAY BOY/GIRL. Now, my husband and I didn't see eye-to-eye on this, but I won in the end. My son will only have one first birthday, and I was determined to put him in a shirt that I'd be able to save for his memory quilt.

I picked out this personalized basketball t-shirt from the Ashley Alexander Etsy Shop and here's my cutie wearing it.

first birthday party

3. Don't stress about the cake. My husband wanted to make the cake himself and bought fondant weeks in advanced and destroyed our kitchen on "test cakes" and when push came to shove, we bought a $6 soccer ball cake from Tom Thumb, and it was PERFECT. It was everything I wanted without the fuss OR the price tag. And, heck, the cake is just going to get smashed anyway!

first birthday party

4. Make sure there is lots and lots of food. The menu should be simple but varied. Lots of appetizers, lots of easy-to-munch-on treats. The food table was the center of our party and food blogs were our huge go-to resource including The Pioneer Woman and Bakerella's cake balls.

I bought all the supplies for the cake balls at Party City.

first birthday party

5. Thank your guests! If there is ever a time to send thank-you notes, it's for a kid's first birthday party. Again, the fuss is for the parents, not the guests, so those 50 people who were kind enough to come to my son's party? THEY GOT THANKED FOR BEING THERE. I handmade the thank you notes, with cards from Paper Source.

thank you note first birthday party

What was YOUR must-have first birthday item?


Images via Jennie Canzoneri

baby first year, bonding, development & growth, do-it-yourself, milestones


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APeve... APeveteaux

We served a speciality cocktail at our daughter's first birthday party that wound up being way too strong and a lot of our guests got smashed. Luckily we didn't live in a driving city so no lives were put in danger, but wow, I wish I'd done test runs on the drink like your husband did with the cake.

CafeM... CafeMochaMom1

Hey Jennie,

The baby picture's of Kyle look like he's having a ball eating the cake. He may not remember his first birthday but I know Mom will and not just because of the pictures. The first birthday is really one of many important birthdays that we celebrate. throughout the years.

frysh... fryshannon34

I love the pcitures and the thank you card

Lokis... LokisMama

OMG, that thank you card is so adorable!

Both my kids first birthdays were little basic things. Just a couple family members and a home baked cake.

emtgi... emtgirl885

your son is so cute!

my son is 9 months and I am looking around for ideas for his party. The theme will be music.

KatieP. KatieP.

I did pretty much what you did except that he was born in June so we did a huge BBQ at a local lake. We did serve adult beverages but I of course stayed stone cold sober as did daddy.

Pnukey Pnukey

We went low-key. MIL wanted to host, so we let her. It was fun.

Carey... Carey2006

When you buy a 1st Birthday cake at Publix they give you a lil round cake for free! My son devoured it!!!!!

nonmember avatar Birthday Ideas

What fun party, and so nicely written! I love the idea of taking a picture every week, they change so fast in the first year. Did he get some great gifts?

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