first birthday fun: tricks from a new-ish mom

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I planned a blowout for Birdie’s first birthday even though I knew full well it was probably more for Casey and my benefit than for hers. But why am I apologizing? Arriving at this day marked as much of a milestone in parenthood as it did our baby’s growth.

We crossed our fingers that Birdie wouldn’t be too scarred by the celebratory chaos, picked up booze along with the juice boxes, and invited a crowd of family and friends. All in all we had a blast! Maybe it was that first taste of chocolate cake that helped put the birthday girl in rare party form (she loved every minute). — Megan K.

Some highlights:

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*Put on your Party Hat: That became the default theme because the birthday girl was wearing a big sunhat on the birthday invitations I made. I ordered a couple of packs of Dr. Seuss-inspired accordion hats at OrientalTrading.com for guests, plus a hot pink Trumpette first birthday cake hat for Birdie.

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*Polaroid Booth: I’ve admired this activity a million times in magazines, and a kid birthday seemed the perfect occasion to instate the tradition. I bought a bunch of film and a camera from Target, and set out a thin black permanent marker so guests could write a bday note on their snapshots. The “booth” consisted of a wooden bench, behind which I taped a rainbow-streamer “frame” to the wall. After the party, I displayed the snapshots in rows above Birdie’s high chair. She loves looking at them.

Click through to the next page for more party tips!

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*Tiers of Joy: I created a mini-cupcake display on our dining room buffet with stacked cake stands. Here’s a tip: If you don’t have a cake stand, you can create one by turning a bowl upside down and placing a plate on top; I did this with sets of three white bowls and plates for a tiered effect. I decked out the rest of the room in bright Mexican streamers and globes from PaperGami.

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*Do the Kids a Favor: I also ordered mini party rubber ducks from OrientalTrading.com in honor of Birdie’s favorite yellow bathtime friend. They were a big hit with the teething set.

*Hire Cheap Labor: I’m talking in the form of family members and friends. My sister manned the photo booth and my neighbor Kara offered to take candid shots of the rest. That allowed me to be a much more relaxed hostess.

From our partners
Mekea

Adorable ideas…many of which I will still for Grace’s first bday. It was well worth the effort!

lucky little cutie!

Bunny

What a gorgeous little 1-year-old! I love the photo-booth idea–for grown-ups, too.

Phil

I can’t believe I had to wear one of those hats. And I can’t believe I forgot to take home a party duck.

Great ideas, all. She’s too cute!!

Beth J.

I love this, Megan. Well done! Where did you get the polaroid?

megan k.

Thanks, Beth! Target!