I started thinking about Fox' first birthday months in advance. I love planning thoughtful celebrations, and I was extra excited to celebrate our little boy.
Looking back, I think focusing on planning his first birthday also helped me process my baby turning one. It's a wonderful thing to see your baby grow, but I'm especially sentimental, and so having fun planning this event was a great way for me to slowly take in this milestone.
I have also loved arts and crafts since childhood, but I don't do it as much now, so the chance to get my hands into some creative projects was really fun.
Also, it's worth mentioning, I realize some might consider this "over-the-top" for a first birthday. Fox may not remember it, but I will. He'll also have the photos to enjoy. A first birthday is about the baby, but it's also about celebrating your family reaching one year of raising your child. That is a big deal to me, and I wanted to celebrate! A celebration should reflect what's important to you, and this party did just that for our family.
I hope that you'll enjoy the details and find a couple ideas that make your next party even more fun and meaningful for you and your guests.
Theme & invitations
A theme is always the starting point for me, and I began dreaming of this long before Fox was near 12 months. Knowing he probably wouldn't have many specific interests at one, I felt free to select a theme that fit him and that I loved. Somehow, the idea of a blueberry themed party came to me. Next, I thought of the rhyme for the invitation and from there it was a done deal.
I LOVE paper invitations and working with my friend Kayla on this resulted in one of my favorite invitations ever!
I used a local printer to create poster-sized version of the invitation as a focal point for the party! Then, I framed it in a frame I already had. I love how it turned out.
Fox's birthday is in early February, and while I loved the idea of an outdoor party, I knew indoor was the best choice for the time of year. I chose our home because it cost nothing, and I could start decorating days in advance if I wanted. It was also really special and intimate to celebrate such a special occassion where we live.
One of the ideas I was most proud of was how we made our home extra kid-friendly that day. We have built in bookshelves in our living room that are normally filled with beautiful and breakable items. For the party, I completely cleared out the bookshelves and loaded them with toys and books. I wanted the kids to come in and feel instantly at home, and from seeing how they all quickly gravitated toward the collection of toys, I think it worked well!
Fox and Ruth are buddies. Ruth's Mom, Rachel, is one of my dearest friends, and I prayed that we would be pregnant at the same time. Long story short, these two nuggets were born two weeks apart to the day. Seeing them grow together makes my heart so full.
This was the most fun! I quickly discovered that our blueberry theme was very versatile and easy to work with. I decided to use shades of blue with lots of navy and royal blue (with a few bright pops of color here and there) and incorporated gingham, stripes, and a beautiful vintage blueberry runner I found on Etsy (for under $20!). I also found some items that were fun and simple DIYs like party hats, hanging blueberries, and a photo mobile that thankfully turned out really cute! DIY was good for both our budget and my creative side.
I learned a new DIY party trick, too. I had never heard of a "Pom Pom Maker," but they are quite a handy tool. I picked one up at Michael's and used yarn to create pom poms that I turned into garland, party hat toppers, and toothpick toppers for an extra pop of blue on the food table.
I also added some color to the space with inexpensive, easy-to-make paper chains and crepe paper streamers. These make a big impact and are so easy to do!
I personally think every party looks better with a little fresh greenery. I spent less than $25 on some flowers from the supermarket, clipped a few greens from my own yard, and made arrangements to add life to the decor.
The photo mobile was a DIY project almost gone wrong, but thankfully it came together! I bought three wooden embroidery hoops and some decorative trim and ribbon with hopes of a cute decor piece. After playing around with a few options, I used some Artifact Uprising prints I ordered and some paper blueberries I made to create a mobile for above the kids table. It turned out to be a cute way to share some of our favorite memories from Fox's first year.
I had so much fun making party hats! They were a little more time-consuming than I expected, but they turned out so cute, it was worth it. I looked for some solid color hats to start with, but I couldn't find any so I downloaded a template on Pinterest. I used an acrylic craft paint and pencil eraser to embellish them with dots and stripes. I added the pom poms to the top with hot glue and did elastic chin straps for the kids hats and yarn ties for the adults (to accommodate different sizes). Everyone looked so festive in them!
This is not my specialty, but I really wanted the food to be delicious, kid and adult friendly, and to include some GF options because we had a few GF guests coming. The blueberry themed leant itself to a picnic style lunch, so I decided on a sandwich station for the main item. I got specialty bread at Whole Foods, fresh sliced deli meats and cheeses, and fresh toppings. I must say, it turned out to be so delicious!
I also had some themed food like "blue potato chips," "blueberry and friends" mixed fruit, chocolate blueberry clusters, and blueberry muffins. I made some specialty items in advance and froze them until the day of the party like the "Fox is One" cookies. It was a good way for me to do something special and sweet that would take no effort on party day.
I originally planned to make the cake and Fox's smash cake, but as the party got closer, I reasoned with myself. I enjoy a lot of party planning elements, but a cake makes me nervous! Outsourcing this was a GREAT decision. I worked with a local baker that specializes in small celebrations, and this cake was AMAZING. Everyone agreed, especially the birthday boy!
We went with a blueberry cake (think blueberry muffin with icing!). It was gorgeous and delicious and all the things. Also, one of my favorite aspects of working with local vendors is the special touch you get. Rebecca of Bec's Cakes had some leftover cake from leveling out the cake layers, and knowing our party theme, she turned them into the most adorable blueberry cake pops ever! Y'all, she did this for us as a gift. I was blown away. Also, everyone who ate them was obsessed with how delicious they were. She also told me that she prayed for our family as she baked for us, and well, that just had this Momma in a puddle.
I just love a good party favor. I had the idea to do some sort of oversized stuffed blueberry, and my talented friend Mary and her insane knitting skills quickly came to mind. She knit the most precious collection of blueberries for the kiddos to take home. I bought little berry baskets at Michaels and set up a station for the kids to "Go Berry Picking." It was simple and sweet and the kids really liked it!
One of the elements I knew I wanted to incorporate into Fox's first birthday celebration (probably since before he was born), was a photo garland of his monthly photos. I always enjoy seeing the progression of children growing, and these photos and the memory of taking them, are some of my most special treasures from his first year.
We were also gifted a Kid's Legacy Prayer Journal for Christmas, and I thought this was the perfect place for guests to write a note to Fox.
I've mentioned that I'm sentimental, and you're about to see what I mean. I had the idea to create an item for the party that could be a usable keepsake in our family. I went to our local pottery painting studio, and with the blueberry theme in mind, I decided to do a fruit bowl. We kept the design simple with blueberry clusters on the outside and a simple blue check pattern inside. And, the best part? The blueberries are made of Fox's thumbprints (insert cry face here). It's the sweetest thing, and it turned out better than I could've hoped. The employees at the shop were SO helpful in getting Fox to cooperate with the fingerprinting! It did take a couple trips, but it was totally worth it.
I also got the idea from my friend Emily to create a birthday tradition that returns year after year. I decided to make a special birthday plate at the pottery studio, too, that I imagine him eating pancakes or cake from every year. The polka dots inside the party hat are Fox's thumbprints, and they're just so cute. We also did his full handprint on the back of the plate and on the bottom of the bowl and wrote "Fox's first birthday February 2018."
When I first picked up the pottery, I was so pleased with it, and I still am! I kept looking at Fox saying, "look at the art you and Mommy made together!"
I mentioned earlier I love creating things, but if you're thinking, "I can't draw a thing," not to worry! The employees at DIY pottery studios can be very helpful in bringing your vision to life. At our local studio, they'll hand letter pieces for you with your kids handprints. It's a great option even if you don't feel artistic!
I also selected a "Happy Birthday Banner" made of a good quality felt as an item that can return for Fox's birthday every year. It may not always fit the party theme, but I love the idea of hanging it in our dining room on his birthday morning every year as we prepare to eat pancakes on his birthday plate!
Excuse me while I step up on my soapbox for this one.
I just can't say enough about the gift of photography. It's an extra investment, but it's so, so worth it to me. When I look back at the photos of Fox's first birthday party, I feel transported back to that day with all our special people. I even get to experience little moments of the party that I wasn't part of that day.
Our friend Mary Margaret took photos at the hospital the day Fox was born, did his newborn photos, his six month/family photos, and his first birthday photos. We love having her with us for these special moments, and she captures our family so perfectly. My mom has even joked at Christmas and other family gatherings, "When is Mary Margaret arriving?" It's an added luxury, I know, but in my opinion, photography is worth saving for, friends!
This moment with these two is too precious for words.
The birthday boy eating a blueberry. I cannot handle the cuteness!
Thanks for sharing in our boy's first birthday fun! I hope you take away an idea or two that you can use at your next party.
Photography: Mary Margaret Smith Photography / Food: Whole Foods, Publix, Trader Joe's, and homemade / Cakes: Bec's Cakes / Invitations: illustrated by Kayla Nortune, printed by Printswell / Linens: blueberry runner on Etsy and striped tablecloth and runner handmade by Fox's Grand B / Happy Birthday banner: Amazon / Paper plates, napkins, cups, straws, and metallic "1" balloon: Gygi / Blueberry tissue balls: Amazon (green leaves added were DIY) / Pom Pom Garland: DIY / Party hats: DIY / Berry baskets: Michael's / Knitted blueberries: You Me Serendipity / Fox's overalls: Osh Kosh from Kohls (similar)
First Birthday Party Inspiration
It helped me to view other blogs as I was deciding what was most important for Fox's birthday, and I wanted to share them with you. You'll see from these that there are many different ways to plan a meaningful party, it's all up to what matters most to you and your family and what works for the season you're in.