Saturday, 15 March 2014

Planning the perfect party

The planning for Ethan's first birthday party is in full swing now, with less than two months to go and lots to organise. After pondering what would be best to suit little ones and adult family members and friends, we've decided to host a party with a special area just for the children to play whilst the venue has a bar and plenty to keep adults happy too.



The theme
It's going to be a teddy bear's picnic party, held indoors because you can never rely on the British weather!

Venue and timings
We're hosting the party at a church hall that is regularly used by hubs' family and it offers everything we need. The dance floor area will be for the little ones, there's a separate room for the food and there's a bar so all our family and friends can enjoy a drink and sit together.

We've suggested that Ethan's friends come along between 12pm and 2pm mainly, as we all know that kids will wear themselves out quite quickly at this age and they'll all be ready for a nap after all the food and fun. We then have the hall until 5pm so our friends and my parents, who will be travelling to come to the party, will get plenty of time to have cuddles with the birthday boy.

Activities
To keep the children busy, we've booked a soft play hire package for the afternoon, which includes mats, a big ball pit and other fun toys that the children can climb over and play with. I think it's best just to keep things simple - they're all so young, we can't really play any games as such so we'll just let them play together.

We also need to arrange a music playlist for the party - a mix of children's classics and crowd pleasers to make sure everyone is happy. Of course, Teddy Bear's Picnic will have to be played, but we'll need to give some thought to other more general songs... I don't think something like Blurred Lines would be acceptable at a party for one year olds!!

Invites
I'm a stationary addict and spent ages researching invite ideas. I was going to make these myself, but I realised that it would be quite a big project (flashbacks to our wedding!) and with all the bits and pieces I would need to buy, it could end up being rather expensive.

After being rather uninspired by what was available from the usual shops, and with the teddy bear's picnic theme in mind, I had a look at the Vistaprint website. I was really impressed by the amount of designs on offer and it was quite hard just choosing one design. I chose a design which let me add photos and stuck to a palette of red and blue, with a picnic print used as a background on the reverse. I was able to adapt the design too, so I ended up adding even more photos to the reverse of the invites. I wanted to show how much Ethan has changed since he was born and thought the invites would be a nice walk down memory lane.

The invites were really easy to design and the end result looks great. Even with the linen paper and coordinating envelope stickers I added to the order, they still worked out at a good price so I'm really glad I used Vistaprint.


Decorations
I haven't started these yet but I'm thinking of hanging some bunting here and there to set the scene then would like to put some pictures of famous teds, including Paddington, Winnie and Rupert, dotted around the walls along with some snaps of the birthday boy himself.

We'll no doubt get a big number one balloon too and I have a clever idea for the tableware. There's quite a few small tables in the hall and then the big L shaped table for the buffet, so rather than buy lots of disposable tablecloths, I thought I could use patterned wrapping paper instead, which we can easily cut to size. I've seen some that has a picnic print and at £1 for a five metre roll, this could help us save some money too.

Food
There's going to be a table for the little ones, with lots of finger foods, including grapes, carrot and cucumber sticks, cubes of cheese, cocktail sausages, Pom Bar crisps and jam, soft cheese and tuna sandwiches which I am going to cut into teddy bear shapes using a cookie cutter. For the adults, they'll be lots of your usual buffet / picnic items, so salad, ham, sandwiches, crisps and dips and so on.

I'm going to try and buy and prepare all the food myself. I want to watch the pennies and I've worked out that I can put on a nice spread for everyone for no more than £100. I've also planned things to make sure there's not a lot to do on the morning of the party - I have a friend coming down and plenty of people who can help if needed, but I want to make sure I get to spend lots of time with my little man, rather than being stuck in the kitchen making sandwiches for three hours.

Goody bags
I am quite excited about these! Ethan has around 10 friends coming and I wanted to give them something nice to take home. This is where I'm going to get creative... I want to buy some brown paper bags with string handles, that will sit up nicely. Then, using brown card, I'm going to cut out two circles, then two smaller circles from pink card. I'll stick these to the bags, one on each side, draw on a nose and smiley face in pen then add two googly eye stickers and voilà, you have goody bags that look like bears!

Inside, I'm thinking of putting a bag of Organix snacks and some Heinz Biscotti in each goody bag, plus a small toy or bear-related book.

Making memories
For his first birthday, we're mainly buying him some new clothes, as he will need the next size up of everything, a car seat and a photobook of his first year. I made one for our wedding, with additional books for our family, and Stephen made me one for Christmas the year before last about just the two of us. My plan is to show what Ethan did, month by month, and to leave a few pages blank at the back so that people at his party can write a special message to him.

I'm also going to take my DSLR camera with me to capture the fun of the party. I'd really like to put together a collection of teddy bears at one end of the hall so that we can get some fun photos of Ethan and the other children sitting amongst them.

After writing everything down, what seems to be a small get together for our baby boy has now turned into something else altogether but that's just me - I have to do all that I can to make something special and there's nothing as special as my baby boy and his first birthday.
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5 comments

  1. awhhh sounds like the perfect party!

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  2. Yes nice planning, I'm sure it will be a really nice party...you're absolutely right the first birthday is one of the most important!

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  3. How exciting! Love the sound of the goody bags :-) x

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  4. Awesome ideas! I want something amazing like this on my child’s 1st birthday.

    http://www.carousel-parties.co.uk/

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