Tomorrow begins a new month, August. This means that in 6 short weeks, I’ll be celebrating the anniversary of the most exhilarating day of my life, also known as Hailey’s 1st birthday. This occasion fills me with joy, pride and a bit of anxiety.
…Wait, what? Why anxiety?
I’ll tell you why anxiety… BLOGS. PINTEREST. ETSY.
As wonderful as these new online tools are for getting ideas and planning events, they inevitably lead to a feeling of inadequacy when your event doesn’t have every detail color coordinating with the overall theme. At least, that’s how I feel.
I’m so grateful that Pinterest wasn’t around while I was wedding planning. Would I have felt the need for more elaborate tablescapes? Would I have actually known the word tablescape?
Now that I’m in mom world, I’ve seen 1st birthday parties transform into the new version of MTV’s Sweet 16. Seriously, I’m surprised there hasn’t been a spinoff focusing on the celebration of 12 months of life.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m in awe of mom’s that transform their child’s birthday into a themed wonderland. I admire the details of personalized water bottles, giant banners, dressed up characters and professionally baked, fondant covered cakes. However, it left me feeling like a subpar mom when I didn’t have the desire to rent a petting zoo for Hailey’s 1st birthday. (truth be told, I had the desire, but not the cash)
It took me a little while of internal struggle to figure out what to do in this situation. Do I want Hailey’s first birthday to be special and cute? Absolutely, but not at the cost of my sanity or the loss of our savings. And as with almost everything in babyland, I think you have to do what works best for you.
So, I’m doing things my way. Here’s the plan:
Keep it small. Similar to wedding planning, your guest list can multiply at an ungodly rate if you let it. Instead of inviting all the people I can list, I’ll be inviting family and a few close friends. I want to be able to focus on the birthday girl, not stressing about being a proper host.
Have a theme, but don’t buy the whole theme packet available on Etsy. I love a good theme as much as the next person and plan to have one for Hailey’s party. However, I think a few key items, like invitations and an outfit can define the theme, then I can take colors and run with it. Honestly, do I really need themed toothpicks? I’m hoping not. By the way, theme sneak peak: (!!)
Save on invitations. This was a tough one for me. I really wanted a cute, themed invitation, but didn’t want to shell out big bucks printing and mailing them. Plus, I know other people will look at them, smile, then toss them in the trash. Not very environmentally-friendly. Instead, I paid $7 on Etsy for a digital invitation to be designed for me (fitting my theme). I’ll print out one to keep in Hailey’s baby book, one to frame at the party and then guests will have the digital image emailed to them as the official invite. This way, they’ll see the cute themed invitation, I’ll save a few bucks… and the Lorax will love me.
Bake your own cake or cupcakes. Professionally done cakes are pretty awesome. In fact, there is an adorable bakery nearby that might as well be the Cake Boss because their cakes are incredibly detailed and downright impressive! However, I just can’t justify spending $50 (or more) on a perishable item that is going to be smashed between Hailey’s chubby little fingers. Instead, I’ll be baking cupcakes.
Nix the goody bags. Does this make me heartless? I hope not. I’ve seen goody bags that others have had at their parties and they are so stinkin’ cute and, of course, go with the theme. However, rarely do I do much with them once we’re home. I plan on saving goody bags for when Hailey is older and it’s more of a children-based party.
I’m feeling pretty confident we can throw Hailey a memorable and special 1st birthday party without breaking the bank. And, much like a wedding, it’s important to remember the reason for the celebration. There may not be lion cubs present(darn it!), but people that love Hailey will be there to watch her smash her face into the cake, play with wrapping paper and enter into her next year of life.
Do you have any party planning, money saving tips?