9.07.2009

First Birthday Party Rules

William's first birthday party was yesterday. Now that I've had some time to think about it, I'd like to share some rules to help guide new moms in the planning of the first birthday party.

1. Get help!

If friends offer to come early to lend a hand, take them up on it. Angie, Kari, and Anthony were the only reason my vision became a reality, even if I couldn't explain it to them. Once the party starts, have someone who will be responsible for the birthday kid and give the necessary bath and bottle if that time comes and the party is still going on. Thanks, Grandma H!

2. Live entertainment is always a win (if your budget allows).

We weren't sure about this one and pulled the trigger about 72 hours before the party. Best decision ever. The One Man Jamaican Band helped set the mood and was a great ice breaker when the two hosts are running around like Hannemaniacs. Yeah, Mon!

3. Pop is not just a mixer anymore.

Unfortunately, we were more concerned about making sure the beer was cold than we were about pop and juice boxes. That made plenty of people very happy, but others quite thirsty.

4. Don't underestimate the number of kids you know.

Although I counted them many times and wrote down all the names, I still was shocked to see them all running around in my yard. On that note, all of these kids needed toys, which we did not have nearly enough of and underestimated how interested 3 year old are in toys for a 1 year old. If you're lucky you'll have awesome neighbors (like we do) who will come to the rescue with kid-sized tables and chairs, sidewalk chalk, and a bubble machine. (And while we're talking about kids, don't forget to give out the goody bags. I MIGHT have forgotten that step.)



5. The party needs to move along quickly.

Kid parties do not have the longevity of normal parties, so plan for things to move rather quickly. When everyone arrived we had a very heavy spread of appetizers and our plan was to serve grilled burgers and chicken two hours later, followed by cake. We lost some guests before the burgers made it off the grill. Guests leaving before the meal is always sad. One friend mentioned that a good idea for kids parties might be to include a schedule with a rough menu. Half of the people gorged on the appetizers and were too full for burgers, the others who knew the plan took it easy on the snacks and were starving once we brought out dinner.

6. Don't open the gifts during the party.

I read this somewhere and it's a great idea, so I followed it. First off, I HATE opening gifts in front of people and - let's face it - I would be the one opening the gifts while William was tearing apart tissue paper or stacking all of his gift in one box. During the party all of the gifts were kept on a table. We opened a few this morning and then William starting ripping cards and was on overlaod, so we stopped. The rest were opened, organized, and recorded during nap time.

7. Cater, order pizza, or count on pre-made food items.

Grilling burgers and chicken kept Matt really busy and not able to control timing as well as we would have liked to. Like I've said, get help, which we did for the sides from Grandma B and Aunt Enza.

8. Make sure the camera is ready for the party.

I can't tell you how many times I heard this one. Just turning on the camera and seeing that there is battery life does not ensure you have a camera with a charged battery. Just charge it. Lesson learned.

9. Let your kid taste cake before the birthday.

The photo should explain this one. He hated it.


10. Take a photo of your little family before the party begins.

We didn't get a good one and had we just done it when everyone was well-rested and looking nice, we'd have one today. Everything was downhill once he tasted the cake. No chance of him smiling for a picture.

In the end, you'll have a successful party no matter what you do. But, if you read the post that I wrote on Chicago Moms Blog about planning the first birthday party, you know that this was not just a party for William. It was a party for us to celebrate our first year as a family in our home, our awesome friends and family who helped us get here, and life in general. And, if I do say so myself, I think we did a pretty good job.

1 comment:

Kari said...

What a great party! We had a blast! YEAH MON!