First Birthday Party Checklist

First Birthday Party Checklist

Planning your child’s first birthday party is typically a fun and exciting experience, but sometimes, depending on the number of guests you invite and how big of a soiree you’re hosting, it can become a bit stressful and chaotic. To help stay organized and on track, you’ll want to give yourself plenty of time to plan. Creating a checklist of the essential tasks you need to accomplish can help make your little one’s first birthday bash a smashing success.

First Birthday Party
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Start Months in Advance

Two or three months before your baby’s big day, you’ll need to start the planning. This is the best time to decide how large a party you want to have. Make your guest list and choose the party date, checking in with essential guests first to make sure they’re available. Order or create your invitations. Set your RSVP date for two weeks before the party so that you have ample time to plan around the number of people you’re having. If you’re planning to order a birthday cake, call your preferred bakery to find out how much lead time they need.

Four Weeks and Counting

About four weeks before the party, you’ll want to address and mail out your invitations. If there will be a number of children at your little one’s affair, start thinking of kiddie games or activities. Very young children might be happy chasing a balloon around the room, whereas older children would prefer to play a structured game or engage in a craft. Another option is to have some live entertainment like a kid’s entertainer who specializes in singing songs for tots. Start planning your menu. Decide whether you want to keep it cake-and-pizza simple or create a more elaborate buffet. Also, decide what kind of gift you want to give your little one — and purchase it, especially if it’s a hard-to-find or popular item.

Two Weeks to Go

Two weeks prior to the big day, check in with any guests who haven’t let you know if they’re attending. Make a grocery list and a list of supplies you’ll need like any special decor or party items such as hats and noisemakers. Even if you’re just having simple snacks and finger foods, write everything down and take the list with you to the store so that you don’t have to make multiple trips, which can lead to added stress. If you’re giving goodie bags to your guests, start putting them together. And if you haven’t already done so, do buy your baby’s birthday gift.

Just One Week until B-Day

The week before the party, follow up with any guests who still haven’t responded. If you’re having the party at home, clean your house thoroughly so that you only have to do a light cleaning before the party. Prepare as many foods in advance as you can, freezing them if possible. Call your bakery to ensure that your cake will be ready on the right day. Order balloons and go to the party supply store to get the items on your list. Wrap your babe’s presents.

Almost There

A day or two before the party, do your grocery shopping. Also check your cameras to make sure the batteries are ready and that your memory cards have enough space. If you’re having the party at your house, do a final straightening up and light cleaning. Begin decorating. If you’re having the party at another location, load up the car with supplies and decorations and see if you’re allowed to decorate early. Finish as much of the food preparation as you can.

Day of the Party

When the big day finally arrives, you’ll need to pick up the cake and balloons, as well as finish any last-minute food preparations. When guests start to arrive, take advantage of their offers to help and ask them to supervise a craft or game. Finally, remember to breathe and enjoy the day — after all, your baby’s first birthday only comes around once in his lifetime, so you won’t want to miss a moment of it.

References & Resources

Catch My Party: Free Printable Kids’ Party Planning Checklist
Real Simple: Child’s At-Home Birthday Party Checklist