Babies 1st birthday smash cake
All things baby,  All things toddler,  Surviving motherhood

How To Plan The Best Birthday Party For A One Year Old

Sharing is caring!

Are you ready for the day your baby turns the big 1? It’s the day you never thought would get here, while at the same time came so fast! Are you running around and Pinteresting (is that even a word?) like crazy trying to figure out how to put together a birthday party everyone will love? Don’t fret, I will show you how to plan the best birthday party for a one year old that even the non baby having guests will enjoy.

One thing you will learn about me is how laid back I am and most of the time, not very creative. So it only makes sense that I would throw a laidback good ole blue themed party for my one year old! I mean blue themed, how uncreative is that! To my suprise it actually turned out awesome! Here’s how you can throw the best birthday party for a one year old!

Things to consider when throwing your baby’s 1st birthday bash

1. Who you want to attend

Is this event going to be just for kids or will there be adults without children attending? If its just kids, should you have favors for them? If there are going to be adults also, should there be booze? And what about the food? keep on reading to find out!

2. Where you want the party to take place

Once you know who you want to attend, think about where you want to host the party. If you are on a budget (like me) think about having it at your house or maybe a friend or families house that has the space you need. We had the space, so my sons party took place in my backyard.

Little one year old girl with her smash cake celebrating her birthday at a local park.

Are you struggling to find different ways to keep your busy toddler entertained? How about amazing coloring pages right to your printer? I upload different coloring pages a couple times a week so be on the lookout for your next coloring printable.

Check out my FREE Resource Library for amazing coloring page pintables to keep your energetic toddler busy.

Here are potential places you could host A birthday party

1. A park– you could do a metro park, state park or any local park would work. Try and rent an area of the park with pavilion incase the weather doesn’t cooperate.

2. Local church– if you or anyone you know is a part of a church, they often have a banquet style room for such events.

3. Banquet hall– these tend to be a little bigger and blander for my taste but it works just as good if you have a larger group.

4. Amusement park– it can be indoor or outdoor depending on the time of year. Places like Kalahari or splash universe or great wolf lodge. These places will also have a banquet style room for your event. I have attended a birthday party at this type of establishment and it was so cute! The kids and adults could play.

5. The zoo– who doesn’t love getting a dose of vitamin z every now and again?

6. Indoor play place– this one might not be as fun for the adults but the kids will have a blast.

3. The Theme

There is literally an endless list of themes you could do for a birthday party! All you have to do is look at Pinterest and you will get overwhelmed with ideas. In this case though the overwhelm is good, because there is so much to choose from.

I am not creative in the least and chose a blue themed birthday party for my son and it actually turned out really cute! If you can’t narrow it down, think about what would be the simplest to execute.

A minnie mouse smash cake for baby's first birthday

Side note– some themes are hard to find decorations for. So before you start ordering stuff with your theme in mind, do a little research to see what there is for that theme.

4. Invitations

This is probably the easiest part of the planning process. Once you have your invitation list, location and theme picked out then choosing the perfect invitation is easy. If you don’t want a printed invitation you can also create a Facebook event. This is quickly becoming the new norm since its free and you can still reach a lot of your friends and family through Facebook.

What I did was create an event on Facebook and then got just a couple printed invitations for the older guests that don’t use Facebook or are not good with it.

You see how this is the ultimate guide for the best birthday party for a one year old yet, keep reading for more goodness!

5.. The Decorations

There are tons of decorations out there. But be careful because some decorations are harder to find then others, and not all of us have a cricket on stand by. But if you are one of those then get that cricket running because you can make some pretty awesome things with it!

Here are potential places to buy birthday party decorations

1. The party store– they will have tons of stuff, including character decorations like mickey mouse for example.

2. Craft store– you can find all kinds of basic decorations here like streamers, balloons and even simple cutlery.

3. The dollar store– Us mammas on a budget frequent the dollar store often. This is a great place to buy cutlery, balloons even kid favors for your guests.

4. Etsy– they have tons and tons of already made decorations for basically anything you can think of and they have totally cute stuff. However they tend to be on the expensive side, so if you can buy else where first I would.

5. Online only stores– such as amazon or oriental trading. Be aware though that when buying balloons or blow up items online they ship without air. So think about where you can get air in them. Places like party stores will usually do this for $1 a balloon, but you can also buy a small helium tank at any party or craft store.

6. Did someone say food?

You don’t have to have food at the birthday party. You could just do cake and ice cream and that would totally work! But if you are having food, think back to who you want to invite for a couple reasons.

  1. To see how much food you need
  2. Make sure no one has any kind of allergy
  3. To see if anyone is willing to help make the food

Remember you don’t have to make the food if you don’t want. You can cater.

7. Lets talk about the cake

Picking the cake and smash cake in my opinion was the best part of the whole planning process. The part everyone looks forward to at a one year old’s birthday party is how much cake the birthday baby will smash into their face! I mean how cute does a little baby, I mean toddler look with a face full of frosting.

Here is my little cutie digging into his smash cake, how cute are those blue lips!

You don’t have to just do cake for your guests either, cupcakes are becoming the new fad and rightfully so. It is so much easier to hand out cupcakes then it is to cut the cake, use up paper plates and silverware and then serve. With cupcakes the guests can just grab and go, so much easier in my opinion and they can be decorated just like the smash cake.

Potential places to buy the cake

1. A bakery– if you plan to through a bakery be sure to give them enough notice. I tried finding a cake for my sisters baby shower through a bakery two-three weeks before the event and everyone was booked solid.

2. Grocery store bakery– this is a good option because it is cheaper and in my experience tastes just as good. But you probably won’t get a cake that’s as good looking as you could a bakery.

3. At home bakery– not everyone is comfortable with this option but you could ask your friends and family for a good person that bakes out of their home. You can even get on Facebook groups and you will get tons of people interest in making your cake. Be sure to check their pages first however to make sure their legit.

4. Make the cake yourself– this could be a fun and cheaper option for you. I was wanting to do this for my sons birthday but the stress of making the cake perfect was way to much unnecessary pressure on me and I ended up going with a bakery.

Potential places to get food catered

1. A caterer– this will be more expensive and in my opinion unnecessary for a birthday party. But if you have the funds to do it then you may choose this option to make it easier.

2. Subway– you can get a large party sub with all the fixings and all you have to worry about is sides (if you choose to have sides).

3. Costco or Sam’s club– you can get party trays from here and there not that expensive.

4. Potluck style– this is the option we chose for our event and it worked really well. Most people love to help contribute to these types of things and food can get pretty expensive. Asking your closest friends and family to bring a dish saves you a ton of money while at the same time making your loved ones feel like they were a bigger part of the event.

5. Chick-fil-a– you can get awesome chicken platters here that everyone will love.

8. Entertainment

If this is only a child friendly event then there are tons of kids games you could play. In my opinion though games are not expected at a first birthday party because the birthday baby cant yet play most of them. We didn’t have games at our sons birthday party and everyone still had a blast.

There was also a play area we set up for the littler kids. We just used the panels from my sons play area and put it together outside to create a safe play space for all the little kids. That way the parents could enjoy the party also without worrying if there child is getting hurt. This was nice because then all the kids played together safely.

If you plan to have adults also think about how you can entertain them. We had ours in the back yard with booze and a bonfire. Don’t worry it was safe and no kid wanted to jump in. If you are hosting the event indoors you could think about turning on a sports game for the guys while the women socialized and talked about how often their partners watched sports (just kidding, kind of).

Check out my FREE resource library for Free coloring page pintables added weekly. This an easy activity for the little ones at any birthday party.

a teddy bear coloring page printable

9. Kid favors yes or no?

I will say this is not necessary and no one expects it at a first birthday party. But if you want to give the older kids a little something for attending the party there are tons of things you could do.

  1. Small toys or bubbles
  2. Baggies of candy
  3. Small books
  4. Fun socks or gloves
  5. Crayons or chalk

There are tons of favors you could do, just ask Pinterest.

There is so more to celebrating then just having your baby turn one. I mean having a baby is hard and scary, especially when you have other kids at home and you finally made it to the other side. You survived that first year of your baby’s life and this alone is cause for celebration.

Did you think this was the ultimate guide to planning the best birthday party for your one year old? Let us know in the comments how you planned your little ones party and the theme in the comments below.

Want to remember this amazing guide to planning the best birthday party for a one year old? Pin now to your favorite Pinterest board!

A baby's smash cake for their first birthday party celebration.
A guide to planning baby's 1st birthday party with a free printable checklist inside.


If you loved this article and want to print a FREE birthday party planning checklist, check it out in my FREE RESOURCE LIBRARY, which you can have full access to by signing up for my weekly newsletter.


I am a loving wife of 5 years and mother of a beautiful, smart and ever growing one year old, whom I can talk about endlessly! My main goal in life, besides being the best mother and wife I can be, is to be a resource for mothers to help you live the best life you can. Do you ever feel like you have a bigger purpose in life then just living out your days? This is a constant feeling of mine and its my main motivation for starting this mom blog! We will talk about everything from; pregnancy, baby and toddler related. From their dirty diaper to keeping them entertained in a healthy way to finding ways to organize your home for easier cleanup, so there can be more you time!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *