Let's Have A Ball Birthday Theme
Here's the thing about your first child's 1st birthday party - it's really all about the parents. What few "friends" your child may have are probably invited but they don't care about the party or even know what is going on. For the most part, parents invite their friends and celebrate the fact that they survived a year of parenthood. While this is definitely worth celebrating, it cannot be replicated with the second child. I didn't want Maelle to think this party was about her so I didn't invite any of her friends who don't actually play with Linden.
Instead, I wanted Linden's first birthday to be all about him and there is nothing he loves more than balls. I was going for simple, yet impactful, decor. I chose to surround him with only his favourite friends that he knows and sees the most. It turned out exactly how I had hoped. I loved this theme and if you need some inspiration feel free to read on to see how I pulled it off.
I chose the "ball" theme because Linden loves balls in all shapes, sizes, and colours (insert dirty joke here). I loved that it was simple and the decor would be easy to find. Circle and polka dot decorations are common so I knew I could utilize this to tie the party together. I wanted the party to be about Linden and not Maelle so I catered to his interests and what would entertain the other babies at the party.
I went with bold primary colours. The reds, yellows, and blues were bright, eye catching, and looked spectacular in the photos and videos.
Birthday Banner Wall:
This was a simple DIY project. You can buy these banner sheets at Michaels in different colour packs. I chose yellow. I also bought sticker letters in red. Make sure that the letters you buy will fit on the banner and still be bold enough to read. Alternating between the different banner paper designs I simply wrote "Let's Have A Ball". I bought the blue honeycomb garland at Walmart which tied this display together perfectly.
High Chair Feature Wall:
I bought red, yellow, and blue circle garland at Party City. Each colour had 6 strands of garland per pack. For this wall, I used 9 of the garlands in pattern form to create a bold backdrop which was perfect for capturing those lovely, messy, smash cake pictures. I bought the "Happy Birthday" gold sign and the gold number "1" balloon at Walmart; these items put the finishing touches on the wall.
Utilizing the remaining 9 circle garlands, I created the same backdrop as I did for the high chair feature wall. I bought the "Happy Bday" balloon at Walmart and this just popped off of the wall. At Party City, I found the perfect display banner for Linden's monthly pictures we had printed. This was a lovely way to see how much he has changed over the course of a year.
Other Decor Items:
I bought 10 helium filled balloons in blue, white, and gray from Michaels for some photos I took of Linden the day prior but used them on his party day as an added pop of colour. I also bought a pack of 12 blue polka dot balloons which I added to the ball pools for some extra fun.
For Linden's high chair, I put bunches of ribbon on either corner of his chair to add a little pop of colour. I knew that anything super creative would get ripped off in seconds but this didn't even last that long. The first thing Linden did when he woke up from his nap before anybody had even arrived was tear the ribbon off the chair. We tried taping it back up but little hands managed to get at it again. I'm glad I didn't do anything more creative and time-consuming just to have it damaged.
This was a brunch birthday as the party was timed for 11:30-1:30pm.
I served sesame, plain, and french toast maple bagles. I had peanut butter and cream cheese out to use as spreads or a variety of cold cuts, condiments, and cheese to create bagel sandwiches.
For fruit, I had apple slices, oranges, and blueberries.
I served a vegetable tray that had carrots, snap peas, broccoli, tomatoes, and a dip with it.
There were iced or chocolate mini croissants to choose from.
We had 40 assorted Timbits which are always a hit with the kids and parents alike.
The only hot item I served were sausages wrapped in pastry and sprinkled with parmesan cheese.
Grape and orange mango juice for the kids and strawberry Perrier for the adults.
Not surprisingly though, between the 6 adults who were actually drinking coffee we downed 22 cups total. Caffeine is a must for any parent gathering where the kids are involved.
Linden's smash cake was made from Betty Crocker confetti cake, covered with homemade vanilla buttercream. I bought fondant from Michaels which I can't rave about enough. It is easy to use and a lot simpler than trying to make your own. They have a variety of colours but for obvious reasons I bought red, blue, and yellow. I cut circles out of the fondant in various sizes and then placed them all over the cake. It turned out exactly how I had hoped it would.
The rest of the party got a marbled store bought cake with chocolate and vanilla icing. It was decorated with dots and balloons and satisfied the cake cravings of all of our guests.
In order to entertain the babies/toddlers, I stuck with the theme and rented 1,000 plastic play balls from a local party rental place. If you are interested in adding a little extra entertainment to your parties I suggest looking into these rental companies. I filled two plastic kiddie pools up with the balls and it was amazing. These pools entertained all of the kids for a majority of the time. It was honestly such an easy get together because the kids were all so content. The parents were able to mingle and catch up while the children played without (much) fuss. Bliss!
I love giving party favours. I think they are a nice way to say thank you for coming and show just a small amount of appreciation for any gifts received. I really try to give favours that will be used. I attempt to avoid items that the kids will get bored of quickly as well as an all "treat" grab bag whenever possible. For the older siblings at the party, I opted for a ball theme bucket and added 2 balls inside along with some ball themed chocolates. I figure a bucket is always useful and the balls will be perfect for the coming spring and summer weather. My daughter has a set of these balls and has used them for a variety of different games and activities. For the babies, I went with a bell ball that added the perfect sensory feature and some baby friendly treats.
This was hands down the "simplest" birthday theme I have done so far yet it had such high impact. I loved everything about this party. The low key nature kept my stress minimal and made it easy for me to mingle and enjoy with the guests. The simple but delicious food meant I wasn't in the kitchen or ordering pizza hours in advance. The ball pits kept all of the kids entertained so I didn't have to have a plethora of activities planned (even for the older children). Linden was as happy as ever and that was all that mattered to me. A first birthday party I will never forget. Thank you to everyone who came, helped out, and made the day extra special. With no family in town, you make these events everything! So grateful.