Organising a first birthday party

Organising a first birthday

Your baby’s first birthday is definitely a reason for a celebration. A first birthday party is an important milestone for any parent and whilst your child will play whatever the day, the key is to make it a memorable occasion for you and any other significant adults in your child’s life, such as Grandparents, aunts and uncles.


As a parent where do you start in organising a party for a one year old? UK-Entertainers has compiled a series of helpful hints to get you started. After reading this article and you have your party organised you may find it useful to check Tips for a Successful First Birthday Party.

Who do we invite?

A child as young as one has very definite views about who they know and who they don’t know. Young children can easily get distressed with large numbers of unfamiliar adults around them. Keep guests to a minimum of close family (siblings, grandparents, uncles and aunts). If you are confident that your child will cope with additional visitors, then a few close friends and their children from your antenatal or toddler group can be included.

Invitations are a special way to mark the event. If guest numbers are small then you could purchase special invitations (remembering to keep a copy for your child’s keepsake / memory box).

Invitations should be sent out at least two weeks in advance of the date to allow guests to reply. You may like to consider sending them earlier if the party is at a particularly busy time of year.

How long should the party be?

At the age of one, your child may be having one or two daytime naps. Try and plan the party for after a nap to get the best from your child. If you are inviting parents with other children of similar ages, check their nap times too. A party can change from all smiles to tears if the children are tired!

Keep the party short. An hour to an hour and a half is sufficient for a one year-old.

Where should the party be?

Choosing a venue for a first birthday party is crucial to the happiness of your child. It needs to be familiar place e.g. your home or a grand-parents house. For a larger space, a local hall where your child goes to a toddler group. Unfamiliar large spaces can unnerve children, so somewhere well-known to them is best.

What food shall I serve?

This is dependent on the time of day you have your party and also how many children and adults are invited. UK-Entertainers has an article specifically detailing ideas for First Birthday Party Food that you may find helpful.

Do I need party bags?

Party bags at the age of one are not essential. If you would like your guests to leave with something then slices of birthday cake are sufficient, and perhaps choose a cloth / board book or a bath toy. Avoid small party bag goodies and trinkets as they can be a choking hazard for small children.

Whatever you decide to do to celebrate your child’s first birthday, we suggest that you make sure that whoever is organising the party makes time to enjoy it too. It is a special occasion and as a parent or someone close to the child you need to make time to make your own memories too.

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