And just like that, my son is now one year old. Sharing with you some photos of my son’s birthday dinner and also some details on how I planned for my son’s first birthday. They say that you need to throw your child’s first birthday the biggest party as a tradition and I am not quite sure if this is a Filipino or Chinese tradition. Well, I don’t actually remember how my first birthday when I was little, I mean who does right? But I am pretty sure it wasn’t grand. I don’t actually believe in these so-called traditions, I think having a big party or a simple celebration is totally up to you. If you have the budget and the means, then why not right? But If you don’t have enough budget, I think a simple cake and spaghetti would be enough to celebrate a child’s birthday or anyone’s birthday for that matter.
I have been planning for my son’s first birthday even before his Christening last October 2018. It was a matter of weeks discussion with my husband whether to throw our son either a big or a small birthday party. I originally wanted a small party just at home with family and close friends but we couldn’t get down the guest list into 50 people since 50 is just practically family and relatives (since we both have big families). We had an intimate Baptism last October (here), and so we ended up deciding to have Riley’s first birthday big or have no birthday party at all. We then rounded it off to 200 guests. And that’s how the planning all started.
Tips On How To Plan Your Child’s Birthday:
Set a BUDGET and stick to it.
It is very important to set a budget because from there you can layout your plan for everything. For me, 50% of the budget goes to food then the other half goes to everything else. But I think Ideally, 80% goes to food when you are in a tight budget. I mean I’d rather put the budget on food rather than having beautiful decorations while my guest starves, right?
Make a GUEST LIST
Depending on your budget, you need to list down your guest list and narrow it down until you can work around with the number of guests that fits your budget.
Decide on whether it’s a LUNCHEON, AFTERNOON SNACK, or DINNER party (depending on your set budget)
An afternoon snack kiddie party is always the most inexpensive way to throw your kid a party. It’s a kids party after all right? Spaghetti, fried chicken, sandwiches and cupcakes are practically enough.
Book a VENUE/CATERER
I actually booked my desired venue six months in advance just to make sure I get the venue that I wanted. Or else, I have plan B and C. So depending on your number of guest, you can decide on where to hold your party, either at home, a restaurant or at a convention center.
They say never celebrate a birthday with a cake. I personally made my son his birthday cake and of course, It’s a Finding Nemo birthday cake. I originally planned on making a three-tier birthday cake but opted for a one-tier cake instead since there was no party.
Pick a THEME/concept
My son’s favorite movie is Finding Nemo, that’s why I choose it for his birthday theme. He has been watching Finding Nemo since he was five months old. He just loves it. If your child has a lot of favorite shows or has no particular character in mind, then maybe you can go on a Safari theme if he/she likes animals or a Rainbow theme if he/she likes colors.
Decide on whether to have GIVEAWAYS or not (giveaways are optional)
Giveaways are actually optional in parties nowadays, but if you decide to have some giveaways and you have the budget, then choose something that is useful or functional. I happen to choose these Lunch Bags as Riley’s birthday giveaways. I had these customed made from Arteegram Manila. (Make sure to order in advance, their lead time was 3months, so I ordered 4 months prior but they ended up not delivering on time still and I was not very pleased with their customer service. I was relieved that the party was canceled otherwise I wouldn’t have any giveaways to give out that day.)
- Hire an Event Stylist/Decorator and/or party ORGANIZER (optional)
If you don’t have the time to decorate the party yourself, ask some of your relatives or family to do it for you. But if you have an extra budget, it’s always great to hire the professional and you wouldn’t have to worry about it.
In the age of social media, it’s just practical to send out digital invitations through Facebook, messenger or Viber and the likes. But for Riley’s birthday, I actually planned a having invitations cards.
Prepare for your child’s OUTFIT
A suit for your little man, a cute costume, a tutu skirt for your little girl, order or purchase it ahead of time and have an extra outfit ready too in case it gets wet or dirty.
Book a PHOTOGRAPHER and VIDEOGRAPHER (optional)
Photos and videos for me are the most treasured keepsakes, that’s why I always take a lot of photos and videos myself. But during the party, you will be very busy attending to guests and everything else, unless you have a friend or family assign to take photos during the party, then go ahead. Otherwise, it is always, wise to hire the professional to do this job.
Photographed by Carlo Dilla of Red Epic Production
Make a PROGRAM
If you don’t have a party coordinator, then plan the party program ahead. Games, prepare prizes, maybe a magic show or balloon shows or some dancing mascots or clowns (not a fan of clowns though).
Kids Entertainment (Optional) Riley’s Mobile Party Playtown
If you are looking for something unique and fun entertainment that kids will truly enjoy at the party, then a mobile party playground is the way to go. It will keep the kids entertained the whole time as they can play in the playground area while the parents can enjoy the party too. This is how Riley’s Playtown was born (more about it here).
Don’t stress yourself out, just enjoy the party.
Then came April, we had the saddest news in the family. There was no doubt in my mind that I needed to cancel Riley’s first birthday party because of my father-in-law’s untimely death. My husband and I just knew in our heart that we had to cancel our son’s birthday party and sacrificed all the non-refundable down payments we made to all our suppliers. It just felt inappropriate to hold a big party celebration after a loss of the family member.
So for Riley’s first birthday, I just wanted it to be a simple dinner with family at my parent’s house. But a few days before my son’s birthday I just couldn’t help but make a last minute decision on hiring an event stylist and a good friend, Soljin Robles to put some decorations. I already have all these Nemo and Dory balloons on hand since March so it’s such a waste for it to just be stored. But funny how fate is, Riley’s outfits and giveaways didn’t arrive on time for his birthday. I would have been so stressed out if his party pushed through.
There were no games, no clowns and not even Riley’s Playtown. Just a simple dinner with family and relatives. It wasn’t the party I planned it to be but what’s important was that Riley was surrounded with his loving family and I wouldn’t have it in any other way. Thank you, Lord God, for the beautiful first year with Riley. I continue to pray for my son’s good health, safety and a life filled with love and happiness. Beyond grateful. Thank you guys for dropping by my blog and hope you like this post.
Photos by Carlo Dilla of Red Epic Production