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