15 answers

1St Birthday Party, Small or Big?

I need some opinions since I'm divided between make a big party for my baby's 1st birthday or make just something small and simple.
I do want something BIG with tons of friends and puppets and music, food and a HUGE cake ... but my husband wants something small, just close friends and a small cake for her to dig in.
Some people say that is not a big deal since she wont remember it but I will and I really think is a big milestone for us as a parents too.

I don't know what to do. Suggestions?

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

It depends on whether the party is for you or for her. In my opinion, kids only enjoy what they are able to enjoy - and usually big crowds are hard on them when they are that small. I think when a child is one, have one friend, then when they are two, two friends, and so on until they are nine, when you start going back down and have eight friends, then ten has seven friends, until they are 16 and go on a date. Parties are really fun, and I gave every kid (I had 6) a party almost every year and we played games and had their favorite food - just what they wanted. Other times, we had Halloween parties or Graduation parties or Christmas parties or sleepovers - and invited plenty of friends and had lots of fun. But the child having the party directed the food and games and friends for their birthdays so that they didn't get lost in it.

More Answers

Hey K.,

Our daughter's first birthday was more of a celebration for us getting through the first year. We had close family and friends with a cake I made and gifts but it was really nice to get together with adults, have a drink and some good food. My husband and I were able to enjoy it and relax because we were not hearding dozens of cranky, screaming, overtired kids all day. I know if I had gone all out I would have been disappointed because I would have expected more of a response from my daughter than I would have gotten. She was just too young. It is true that they will not know or remember so do what makes you happy while you have the opportunity to be in control. Once they get older they start demanding ideas of their own. I say find a happy medium that makes you and your husband and your budget happy. If your going to pop for the balloons, puppets, big cake etc. do it when the kid is old enough to realize it is special, what they are celebrating, and can appreciate the effort put forth by you. Have some fun for the kids and for the adults. You have plenty of years ahead for clowns, games, and huge cakes.

For my son's first birthday, we had a HUGE party and invited everyone we could think of. We thought the same thing, he won't remember it and it's more for us anyway, right? My poor little boy was SOO freaked out by so many people around and everyone wanted to touch him and get excited to say happy birthday. He basically cried the whole time, I felt terrible. My daughter will be 1 in December and we'll be having a very small party for her :) Whatever you end up doing, I hope your daughter has a very happy birthday!

Have a medium size party as a compromise. Invite who you want. For my son's birthday we had a medium sized birthday and it was great. Forgo the pomp because they won't remember. Save the big parties for when she is 2. Get a medium sized cake, music, and puppets. She will be entertained but don't expect a long attention span. These are the kind of things we love to do for our kids but we need to remember their age. For example, we are not going to Disney land until he is about 7 so he can go on the rides. Otherwise it won't be as much fun for him and he won't really remember. We love to lavish our kids but you need to be practical. I hope this helps.

I say keep it small. Close family, friends, a few of her playmates. She is only 1 and trust me you will have bigger parties later on whether you want to or not.

Mom of 18 yr old and 11.

I totally agree with someones previous post that this party is all about you (and your hubby) making it through the first year. My son was SO hard and I was so glad to make it to his first birthday without having a mental breakdown. We had a big party, but we had it in the morning (from 10-noon) and did not serve a meal, we just had snacks, drinks and cake. So it was a gathering for all and we had lots to do (ball pit, splash pad, pool, slip and slide, a craft for the kids, a few games with prizes) had cake and we pretty much kicked everyone out by 1PM. We also requested no gifts, so we did not open gifts during the party.

I do think you have to take the temperament of your little girl into account too. If she is in the "stranger danger" phase, then it may be a long party. My son is shy, but not dramatic meeting new people and loves to play with other kids so he did fine.

Congrats and I hope your daughter has a good party whether it is big or small!

I would keep it small. It's not like she'll be playing with all her friends and having a great time. You can have the bigger party later when she can really enjoy it.

I am not a big fan of having a huge party for a 1 y/o yes the milestone is awesome but a huge may overwelm the guest of honor and they may have a bad day. especiay if baby has issues with strangers and you know strangers are anyone the baby didn't see yesterday. have the little cake for baby take lots of pictures and invite the grandparents, very close aunts and uncles, and save the big bash for a later party.

Hello!
A friend of ours joked that the 1st birthday really celebrates the parent's (or the baby's) survival of the first year, so I guess it depends on who you want the party to be for. We had a lot of people over for the first birthday of our oldest with lots of kids and water play. She had a great time, but in the end she was completely exhausted. I carried her around for a hour before she finally was able to fall asleep, because she was so wound up. So I guess, if you are willing to take that chance, have a party, otherwise make it small.
I think it will be somewhat smaller for our second daughter, but we will still have friends and kids over.

D.

Personally, I would invite family and special friends. Save the big stuff for when she is old enough to remember it. Every birthday is special and a milestone.

for us, since our daughter was the first grandkid on both sides, the first b-day was a big deal. we went all out. it was great for pix and lasting memories. But all the rest are small. Her 2nd and 3rd were small and her 4th will also be. she doesn't have a lot of "real" friends and we are saving money up for her school days parties when she will be wanting something bigger.
You are right, the first b-day (especially for your first child), is a big milestone. Have fun. Let her eat cake and get messy. But then tone it down for other parties.
Hope this helps!

I went with small and just family for both of my boys' first birthdays. It was overwhelming for them both and after lunch, presents, and cake, they both napped for a very long time. That seemed like enough activity. Plus, it made it easier to take pictures and video. If you plan too much, you may not get it all on film. In the end, do what will make you happiest.

Dear K.,

If budget allows...do both. Husband does not have to attend the bigger party.
But on a note for looking at the future, have you and husband discussed what big milestones you can agree on? Are age 5 and age 10 big too? Or some other numerical configuration of significance? (Often culturally and personally influenced)
If not every birthday is going to be big, maybe he can see where you are going and why. He can see the years ahead when he can plan smaller affairs. Just a thought.
My husband and I do not have big plans for birthdays as our circumstances keep changing, moving, new friends, etc.
Maybe someday we can be blessed with this hard choice!

I guess it depends on a lot of things. For my first son we had a huge event with all our friends and family. For our second, we lived too far from our family although we invited them anyway, but had just a small thing with just us and a few friends. You could do a compromise and have a medium sized party though. Make the guest list together and let him know why you want to invite certain people he does not want to invite. I would make a guest list though and go through it together and see what you end up with in the end. That way there is no arguments later when it comes time to get ready and all.

It depends on whether the party is for you or for her. In my opinion, kids only enjoy what they are able to enjoy - and usually big crowds are hard on them when they are that small. I think when a child is one, have one friend, then when they are two, two friends, and so on until they are nine, when you start going back down and have eight friends, then ten has seven friends, until they are 16 and go on a date. Parties are really fun, and I gave every kid (I had 6) a party almost every year and we played games and had their favorite food - just what they wanted. Other times, we had Halloween parties or Graduation parties or Christmas parties or sleepovers - and invited plenty of friends and had lots of fun. But the child having the party directed the food and games and friends for their birthdays so that they didn't get lost in it.

I have 2 kids and for both we had a bbq at our house and invited close friends, family and neighbors. We served picnic food (burger, dogs, potato salad, etc) and had a big cake for the adults and a seperate little cake for the birthday boy. If you buy your cake at Safeway, they will give you a free little one for the child along with the big cake (call them for details). I had decorations, a pinata for the bigger kids, and goodie bags. For a 1st birthday I think this just perfect. It really is more for the parents with the child being the entertainment digging into the cake. It's a milestone that should be celebrated. Enjoy!

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