If you’re a first time mum and you have a 1st birthday looming it can be quite overwhelming to begin party planning! Even if you’ve done it all before, birthdays come around again and again – so there’s no escaping it! Let’s focus on the ‘theme’ today and ease all of your stress in that area!
As an invitation designer I get asked tricky questions related to kids birthday parties almost on a daily basis. Do I need a theme for my kid’s party? How do I choose a theme? What theme is age appropriate? How do I tie the theme altogether? Soooo many questions! But, it’s really quite simple to choose a relevant, age appropriate, fun birthday party theme if you follow these 3 easy steps:
1. What does your little one love?
It can be very easy to feel like you ‘should’ be having a certain on-trend theme for your little one’s birthday but all you really need to do is ask yourself this one important question – what do they love?
Unfortunately (or fortunately) this may not be one of the current trendy themes such as tribal, unicorns, boho or woodlands….. but it’s important to remember who the party is for! A first birthday can sometimes be a small window for you to have a bit more influence in the ‘direction’ of the theme as a little 8 month old is honestly only interested in climbing furniture and chewing on toys – so use your judgement here!
For us, when planning our little boy’s 2nd birthday earlier in the year I was gearing towards a construction theme as he seemed to enjoy the ‘dig digs’ whenever we drove past a building site….but, I knew he didn’t LOVE them.
Balloons, on the other hand, were something he adored – even more than he seemed to love his mummy! He was obsessed with them in a gorgeous, happy way! Balloons from the hardware store were the highlight of his Saturday, balloons on TV were a big, exciting event & even drawing balloons was all we were asked to do!
So… balloons became his birthday party theme! I did what mummas do best and googled anything and everything to do with balloon parties and we gave him one of the happiest days he can remember.
Try to focus on keeping your chosen theme relevant to your little person and organising a party that you know you’ll look back on and remember fondly as linking with something that they loved at that time. While gorgeous, styled photos with backdrops and food tables and bunting and props can be stunning, you can still achieve this by centering your party theme around something your little one loves!
2. Is there anything that is relevant to your child as a baby birthday party theme?
I’ve seen some gorgeous mummas choose their party theme for some very special reasons. A garden party for little Rose, a tribal Baby Shower for the new one joining the tribe of other children, a Teddy Bear’s Picnic for little Teddy, a Rainbow/unicorn theme for a very special rainbow baby, a Twinkle Twinkle Little Star party because they were born in the middle of the night, an arrow theme for little Archer and even a Two-ti Fruity party because of how much fruit their little one eats!! Is there anything you can link with your little one?
Obviously organising a slumber party for a group of 2 year olds will not work as well as it would for 9 year olds. So some birthday party themes can also be age appropriate. Our oldest boy would not love it if I threw him a Teddy Bears Picnic Party for his upcoming 6th birthday! I’m sure if you consider this as well, you’ll be on track to selecting the perfect theme.
Choosing a theme based on special little features of your little one can be a gorgeous way to organise a party that is completely relevant to the life of your child. It’s also a really nice discussion point when people receive their invitations – especially if you have them custom made with some special wording.
3. What do you already have available to you?
Answering this question can really cut down on costs and organisation time. If you have a little one that loves superheros and you already have a huge dress up box full of costumes, face paint & props that can really cut down on what you have to buy for party entertainment! If you have a pool at home and the birthday is in the swimmable months – a water theme could be the way to go!
You can also consider who you know when deciding on your theme. Do you have access to a cake maker, face painter, clown, animal farm or do you live close to an entertainment centre that you could use? As I’ve said in a previous blog about planning a party on a budget (you can read it here), getting free (or cheaper) help from people who offer is always beneficial.
If you’re lucky enough to have a backyard full of gorgeous foxes, squirrels and bunnies – then definitely choose Woodlands (ha ha, cos we all have that!). But seriously though, if you use what you have you’ll probably also find that it links closely with the other 2 questions above.
Some mummas can spend weeks deciding on what theme they are going to have for their party (I’ve even spoken one mum who has started planning with 8 months still to go!) and while there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, it’s also OK to go with a theme that is not a current trend. Be creative, trawl the internet, ask friends and always bring it back to your little birthday person!
Happy party planning!
Jenny Webb is the owner and designer at Eckles Invites. If you’re looking for some gorgeous invitations for your little one’s first birthday, be sure to check out her stunning designs on her Instagram, Facebook or VIP Facebook Group.