Your child's first Birthday is a MAJOR milestone. Therefore, it's easy to get carried away with the planning and preparation. But, don't forget that the star of the show is your baby (who will only turn 1 year old and will technically not remember all the blood, sweat, and tears you will put into the planning). Hence, make sure that he or she will also enjoy his/her birthday party. I will share some tips on how we managed to make the occasion enjoyable for everyone, most especially the birthday girl.
Basically, we planned the party based on PRIORITY (project management 101: prioritization).
This pretty much set the tone of what are the must-haves versus the nice-to-haves while I was planning Kara's party.
Food: Never sacrifice the quality of the food just to have pretty decors because guests will always remember how good (or how bad) the food was. Besides, it's easy to improve the decors =)
We got Corrhin's Catering to prepare the menu. Aside from the food, their packages include the buffet set-up, the centerpieces, and the table arrangement. Miss Virgie (the owner) is also very accommodating and very easy to talk to. You will be surprised with how affordable their rates are. E-mail me for their contact information.
Photographer: This is one thing you’re going to thank your past self for setting up way before the party. A very good photographer is a must to make sure you capture all those cute moments beautifully. Plus, you're going to show these pictures for decades and your child will appreciate how awesome his/her party was (despite not having any memory of it).
My sister (who happens to be the godparent of my daughter) found the photographer for Kara's party and pre-birthday shoot. At first, I was having doubts when I heard about his age (quite young) but when I saw his portfolio, I was immediately impressed. He didn't disappoint - the photos turned out really well and my hubby and I are very grateful to my sister for finding Byron Hipolito.
Venue & Time: The venue must be easy to go to (whether guests are from North or South), well-ventilated for the number of guests, and with enough parking space,. We already know how horrendous the traffic conditions are in the Metro, so guests will really appreciate if they can easily find a decent parking spot to attend the party. As for the time, we scheduled the party mid-day because aside from my daughter, the other kids who were invited to her party we're barely 1 year old.
Decor/Theme/Cake: people often splurge on this - but not me. We prepared the decor ourselves with the help of a very talented friend, unfortunately for the rest of the world - she only does this for her closest friends... thank God we're super close! haha). We got some of them from the Celebrations Store at Glorietta 2 and from the Gift Market in Market!Market! However, majority was hand-made (including the invites!) The theme for Kara's Party was Princess Peppa Pig (because she loves Peppa). I also asked the help of Baker Rae to create the various treats to be displayed on the dessert table. As usual, all her creations were beautifully made and very delicious too.
Ate Rae (as I fondly call her) has been customizing cakes for me since 2010. The very first cake she made me was a Louis Vuitton Alma Bag for my birthday. It seriously looked like the real thing. My guests and I hesitated to slice and eat it but it smelled so good so we gave in to the temptation. It was THE BEST CARROT CAKE ever! Anyway, checkout what she made for Kara. I was so touched when I saw these.
Party Favors: I don't like party favors that are not utilitarian (i.e. not useful). So, when we went to US, we got M&M's World to customize our giveaways (yes chocolates are useful - they can fill your tummies and make you happy haha)
Entertainment: We didn't bother with elaborate games or activities. Again, the celebrant is a 1 year old and her guests were barely 1-year-olds. We approached it like a big play date instead. We don't want anything that could trigger meltdowns (like clowns... I'm scared of clowns... LOL) We just had simple games for the guests (perhaps, when my daughter turns 7 and the kids in her party are also older), we can prepare more activities like arts & crafts).
Overall, Kara's first birthday was a hit (especially the desserts!) No babies cried and everyone enjoyed the food and playing with the kiddos.
Thanks for reading!