First birthday parties have always been my favorite. I just love getting to see a baby eat cake for the very first time and celebrate what a huge milestone a year is, so when it came time to start planning my little guy’s first trip around the sun I went into full on mom party planning mode. Turns out it’s my favorite kind of mode to be in, and I made about a hundred to-do lists to get everything perfect. I’m so happy to say that although party planning can be stressful, I had so much fun with all of it! I kindof want to be in mom party planning mode all the time.
We opted to have Theo’s party at a park, partly because it was safer to gather in the open air and partly because we wanted to invite all of our friends without feeling cramped. There was a huge playground there that all the kids ended up taking over, so that was guaranteed entertainment. My first order of action was to transform the regular ol’ park into something spectacular though. I focused on decorating one central tree and ended up finding this YouTube tutorial on how to make fun streamer-like garlands for hanging. They added so much color and texture after hanging a few in the tree branches!
The best thing about these decorations is they’re made out of plastic tablecloths from Hobby Lobby and at 99 cents per tablecloth, it was a really cheap DIY (each tablecloth goes a long way). You basically cut each tablecloth into 2 inch strips and then just tie them to a cotton string and voila.
To add even more color and texture, I found this custom balloon arch kit on Etsy where you can choose from over a hundred balloon colors to create your own design. I decided to keep with the retro rainbow color scheme and the balloons ended up matching the garlands perfectly. The kit is so simple too – you basically blow up the balloons in different sizes and attach them to a plastic strip (it comes with the kit), then use glue dots to fill in any gaps with the tinier balloons. So fun!
For the cake, I used my vanilla smash cake recipe and added about ¼ cup of sprinkles to turn it into a funfetti cake, then coated it with a layer of my favorite vanilla buttercream. Then, I used that same retro rainbow color palette to tint some extra buttercream while the cake was chilling in the refrigerator. Once the frosted cake was firm to the touch, I swiped the rainbow colored buttercream around the finish with a small icing spatula. I ended up making my own cake topper using a t rex figurine from Amazon and attaching a tiny party hat that I made from construction paper with a little puff ball glued on top.
The best part about first birthday parties is watching a baby eat cake for the very first time, and I’ll have to admit, I was a little nervous that Theo wouldn’t like cake. He is definitely my son though, because he devoured about half of it and literally smashed the rest into oblivion. It was so cute to watch him eat it all! And he clung to that little dino cake topper the whole time even though it was covered in frosting.
Other little details that made this party fun: a good party playlist, a bubble machine, these cute faux tropical leaves I ended up accenting the food with, food that kids and adults could enjoy (little sandwiches, capri suns, la croix, pasta salad, fruit salad, little bags of chips) and plenty of cupcakes that I sprinkled with these pretty rainbow sprinkles.
So just like that, my baby is ONE! I can hardly believe it. Having a first baby during a pandemic was not easy (I don’t think it’s supposed to be easy without a pandemic either), but I would not change a thing about this past year. This boy has brought us so much joy through it all and his smile melts me all the time. It’s crazy to look at him and realize that he’s the same baby we took home from the hospital a year ago. He’s got the biggest personality already and I have been having the time of my life watching him become more and more of who he is.