Planning your kid’s 1st birthday party is similar to planning a wedding, except in this case, I’m the mother of the bride! When it comes to planning an important event such as this, having the right people onboard that can help deliver the job is the most important thing because you do not want to be running around, worrying about the details at your own kid’s 1st birthday party.
I didn’t expect to be one of those parents who’d make a 1st birthday party a big deal. I always thought, they are too young to remember it and it would be a complete waste of money but Anthony and I had a wild year as we welcomed our new addition to the family and as we slowly adjusted into our new role as mom and dad we realized that we wanted to celebrate this milestone with the tribe that helped and supported us through the first year of Naomi’s life. There’s something about your child turning one that gave me validation that we are officially a strong family unit and that somehow we managed to find our groove and our place in each other’s lives.
When it came down to planning Naomi’s 1st birthday party, Anthony and I had a pretty clear idea on what we wanted. We love entertaining at home and wanted to bring a low-key, relaxed but elevated vibe to Naomi’s party. We focused on three important things: venue, food, and a beautiful and simple set-up.
Here I broke down the different elements that went behind planning Naomi’s bunny themed party, especially for moms out there who are looking for 1st birthday party ideas.
Naomi loves bunnies, especially her Jellycat bunny that she absolutely cannot part with at night. We also call her little lapin (rabbit in French), so it was only natural to throw her a bunny-themed party. When it came to the decoration, I didn’t want it to look like an overly decorated, colorful party for children. I wanted it to look simple, beautiful, and cater to a more adult aesthetics while keeping it fun for the children. We were going for a whimsical and rustic vibe, think ‘bunnies in the woods’ theme… and I knew exactly who I wanted to do the party decoration.
I had been stalking Chocolate Fish Parties on Instagram and I knew I wanted to team up with them for Naomi’s party – I was confident they would understand my vision pretty perfectly. After our initial briefing, they suggested a few creative ideas and we decided to focus on three design elements: balloons, cake and the party favors to make an impact.
For the balloons, I had been seeing a lot of beautiful cascading free form balloons on Pinterest and knew that Chocolate Fish Parties was the only one that could pull that off well, so we decided that would be the main focal design point. We kept everything subtle and went with light pinks and white with a few eucalyptus branches hanging off the balloons that tied in really nicely with the table arrangements. Naomi loved the balloons so much, we had to keep her away from them to keep her from destroying the set-up!
Chocolate Fish Parties also took care of the cake. I wanted to have a beautiful tall and slim naked birthday cake and we settled for a classic vanilla with white chocolate icing that was decorated with wild flowers and a cake topper with Naomi’s name on it. The cake was absolutely delicious and everyone loved it. Although it looked small, everyone had a slice and none of it went to waste.
For the party favors, my only request was to have Cadbury mini eggs as a take away favor, mostly so I could secretly have them as well. They suggested having the mini eggs for the adults and a soft bunny stuffed toy for the kids. I absolutely loved how they decorated the favors and displayed them on the dessert table.
Apart from these three focal design elements, Chocolate Fish Parties also suggested to install a soft play area complete with a tepee and toys, which was a hit with all the kids at the party. Naomi ended up playing with cars on the floor with the older kids for a good part of the party, which gave Mommy a little break and time for a tipple of bubbly.
Once Chocolate Fish Parties and I decided on the theme and the different elements for the party, finding the right location that would tie into the theme seamlessly was the next mission. I knew we wanted to have a rustic and relaxed feel and had initially thought of the outdoor area at the Grand Hyatt Hotel. After meeting with and explaining the theme of the party to the Grand Hyatt team, they showed me the outdoor area of the new Santa Monica Breakfast Club (SMBC) and I absolutely fell in love. The SMBC felt like an elevated version of our outdoor entertaining at home, which was exactly what we wanted – a relaxed and low-key venue. Added bonus, the outdoor area is covered by a huge canopy that protects the place from the sun and heat.
Hosting a kid’s party is new to me and there were a few new factors to consider such as catering for babies, kids and adults. It was pretty perfect that the food at the Santa Monica Breakfast Club was in keeping with the backyard low-key entertaining vibe of the party. We went with their birthday party package which consist of crowd-friendly casual options like pizza, burgers, French fries with cheese, and sweet potato fries. The food was a hit and a few of the standout dishes were definitely the Pan Con Chicharon with roast beef brisket sandwich, the Decadence pizza with black truffle oil, talleggio and mozzarella cheese, and the Black Angus Benedict burger topped with cheddar, avocado, poached egg and a delicious tarragon hollandaise sauce.
ADVICE TO PARENTS
I wanted to do everything in the beginning: DIY the decorations, cook the food, do the table-setting etc. but it was actually Anthony who suggested we get help from a party planning company and with the food catering, so that I can enjoy the party and he was 100% right. My number one advice for when you do decide to put together a 1st birthday party is to source it out and get help because the last thing you want is to run around the party trying to organize everything when really, you should be with your baby (who is growing up so fast!) and enjoying your time with friends and family.
We all know that a 1st birthday party is more for the parents than the kids so when it comes to organizing the party, think of what you would enjoy too rather than focusing all the attention on the kiddies. Remember, you and your husband survived the first year of parenthood and that is worth celebrating. For Anthony and me, having our tribe of friends and family there to help us toast and celebrate Naomi was important for us – with cheeky bubbly!
What are some of your party planning tips or favorite moments from your kid’s 1st birthday party?