Our plan for Owen's first birthday is to keep it small and intimate, at home. It’s not just that we are working with a smaller budget. We also recognize that the first birthday is, for the most part, more for the parents and the pictures than for our little guy. That said, no matter how intimate, if you want something memorable, a little preparation can go a long way. Here are 8 tips for planning your baby’s first birthday party and how to make the most of it.

  1. Keep the planning simple.

Life is busy. So rather than stressing myself out about organizing the party, I want to do my best to keep things simple. Why? Because if I keep things simple and organized, I’ll be more likely to actually enjoy the party too! Our little pals and gals only turn one once, after all. Finding a venue that's both affordable and comfortable for you and your guests is key. We plan on doing Owen’s party at home, but there are many other cheap or even free options, like parks or a friend’s backyard or house.

  1. Choose a savory theme.

Bananas are one of Owen’s absolute favorite foods. While we will have loads of various snacks for our close friends and family to munch on, I’ll bake a couple different banana goodies: a homemade banana cake for Owen to eat and smash, and chocolate chip banana muffins for everybody else. We will also have fresh fruits and a kale salad for the health conscious. And of course, beer and wine for the 21+.

  1. Create digital invites.

I love the idea of having handmade invites, but I'm coming to terms with the fact that we're living in a digital world that actually makes party planning (and many other aspects of life) easier. With the Hobnob app, designing your own invitation directly on your phone is easy breezy. You can create your own or use one of their templates. Then, you text the invitations to your friends and family, and if you're trying to reach a larger group, you can even share the link on social media. Mom hacks that make life a bit easier? Yes, please.

  1. Buy supplies that you can use again.

Since we have limited space, anything we buy for the party will be items we will reuse in the future. We don't have a ton of serving dishes and we will need some for the party, so I’ll use this opportunity to make the investment. Not only will I be able to reuse them on the daily, I’ll also get to use all of it to stage my recipes for Household. Two birds, one stone, amirite?

  1. Keep the guest list small.

That’s especially true if you are planning on a birthday party at home. Our space is small, and we don’t have enough room to set up activities for a lot of kiddos. Plus, having to cater to both kids and adults at home can become overwhelming. So my gut feeling tells me to keep the party to family and a handful of friends, and do an additional park play date with all of Owen’s mini buddies.

  1. Create a gift wish list.

Gifts are so sweet, but we are very intentional with the toys we get for Owen. If you are like us, you can create an Amazon wishlist. This can provide guidance to the guests who want to bring a gift to the birthday star. Not only can it help ensure your little one receives gifts that fit your small space, you can also (hopefully) avoid duplicates.

  1. Have a decor that you can reuse and recycle.

I've been dying to put up some of the removable chalkboard wallpaper , and I can’t think of a better time to take the leap. I’ll write birthday sentiments for the party and will let people contribute notes and quotes after the fact. I want to keep the decorations fairly simple -- probably just a handful of fall flowers and, if they are available by then, pumpkins, which will make for a great seasonal decor. The flowers will be in simple bottles and jars that will double as party favors for our guests -- a cute way to thank them while making as little waste as possible.

  1. Take pictures.

We are so looking forward to celebrating Owen and our first year of parenting, that we cannot wait to share this moment with all the folks who have supported us along the way. So of course, we want to make memories, and what better way than to take photos. Our photographer and friend, Amy Frances, will be photographing the party. I look forward to her capturing some portraits of Owen as he reaches the year mark. But I also can’t wait to see all the candid moments of all of our friends and family gathered together for the occasion.

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