Essentials for a first birthday

First Birthday Party Checklist and Ideas for Must-Do's

A first birthday is a huge milestone for the whole family. To help make your little one’s first birthday go smoothly, check out these essentials for a first birthday. I also created an Ultimate Guide to Planning a First Birthday. This is a checklist to help you with the planning details.

Essentials for a First Birthday

Smash cakes for a first birthday. Must do's for a First birthday. | What Do I need to do for a first birthday? First Birthday Planning ChecklistSmash cake

If you have been to a birthday party for a one year old, then you know the best part of the party is when the baby eats his or her birthday cake. While eating cake for a first birthday is a long standing tradition, the idea of a smash cake is a newer concept. A smash cake is a small, specially designed cake for your baby to eat, or smash into. Most bakery’s will opt for lighter and healthier alternatives for your baby. If you are making your own, check out some of the best(healthy) recipes we found.

First birthday photos

Be sure to capture your little one throughout the party. Also consider taking first birthday photos to commemorate him or her turning one. Take them yourself or hire a professional photographer.

Capture Family Photos

Capture family photos. As a hostess, sometimes you forget to stop and pose for the camera. It’s a real bummer to look back on photos and realize you forgot to get some special shots of yourself or other family members. Find a good spot during the party to stop and take some photos.

Decorate the highchair

Pick up a plastic table cloth to go underneath the highchair. This will make clean-up a breeze.  Also, decide what your little one will wear when eating the smash cake.  Have a back-up outfit ready for afterwards.

Show pictures of your baby’s month by month progression

You’ve probably spent the last year documenting your baby’s every smile, milestone, and outfit. Pick out your favorites to display so your friends and family can see your little loves growth in the last year.  If you have been making a memory book you can leave that out. Otherwise try hanging them as a backdrop behind the cake and dessert table. Checkout these LED photo clip string lights.

Create a board or poster with your baby’s favorite things to do, eat and learn  

Every baby is different.  Your guests will love to see what your baby is interested in.  Does she like sweet things or salty things? What’s her favorite thing to do? What does she dislike? Checkout these handmade boards here.

Practice opening presents

Practice opening presents with your little one a few weeks before the big day. Put tissue paper in gift bags and show your baby how to pull it out.  This way he or she will be excited to open presents. Even if it’s only one or two.

Write a letter to your child

Take some time to compose your thoughts about your journey with your child over the last year. What did they teach you about motherhood?  How about your favorite memories? What are your wishes for your child in the future? Be sure to hand write this. The sentiment is what is important.

Pick a theme & create a menu

Picking a theme is part of the fun of planning a first birthday. Keep in mind your audience. How many kids will be coming to the party? In addition to the usual sugary items, look for healthy alternatives for snacks and drinks for the younger kids.

More Resources on First Birthday Planning

For additional first birthday resources, check out my ULTIMATE GUIDE TO PLANNING A FIRST BIRTHDAY for checklists and tips on planning a first birthday. I have also compiled a list of HEALTHY SMASH CAKES FOR A FIRST BIRTHDAY from some pretty awesome mom bloggers!

Things you don't want to forget for a first birthday. Cake? Check. Family Photos? Check | First Birthday Checklist and Planning Essentials| #Free Printables #FirstBirthday





I’m Chanele. Housewife, Mama, and Chief of Household Management. I love charm, simplicity, and getting organized.

I‘m always on the hunt for inspiration
and love the creative process. All of the tips I share are for busy moms managing a household and family.

Please join me in making magic, molding memories & managing a household.


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