HAPP Y BIRTHDAY BABY PLAN THE PERFECT PARTY
STICK TO A BUDGET GREAT GIFT IDEAS GORGEOUS CLOTHES (and have fun)
Let’s be honest: your baby doesn’t know or care about having the perfect party for her first birthday. Truth be told, she really won’t even know what all the fuss is about. Yet the pressure to have Pinterest-worthy décor and Instagram-able treats still pushes parents to spend more than they’ve budgeted for and go way over the top.
If that sounds like you, just stop! Sure, it’s important to celebrate the allimportant first year and to thank family and friend friends for their support, but there is really n no need to become a MomZilla when planning the Big Number One. Just remember to be practical, keep it si simple and focus on enjoying the exper experience, advise our birthday planning m masterminds.
It’s best to get a head start on preparations, but you don’t have to spend months planning: around one month in advance of the big day should give you more than enough time. Start with the basics, like when and where to have it, who to invite and how much to spend. It can be tempting to invite all your friends, colleagues and anyone else who has had a role in your baby’s life so far, but it’s best to limit the guest list to close family and friends, suggests Sherree Kruger, founder and chief executive of Supakids SA, a children’s party planning specialist that operates throughout South Africa and Botswana.
If your home allows for it, then that’s the best place to host the party, says Sherree. If your home is too small you
these are themed with the invite. It’s nice for you and the guests to have all the fancy frills, but bear in mind it’s not the most important part of the celebration: your baby is.
Sherree says the best way to keep the money side of things under control is to work out a strict budget and stick to it. “You need to be realistic: is the party for your child or for your guests? Don’t overspend, be cautious not to overcater, and don’t buy things you aren’t going to use after the party,” she says.
As for how much is enough, Sherree says that’s like asking how long a piece of string is – it all depends entirely on how much you have to spend and how many people you invite. As a benchmark, the average her party clients spend is between R100 to R150 per guest. So if money’s tight, start with this and work out how many guests you can afford to
token of appreciation if you’d like to, but adult guests really do not need gifts too.”
A cake, of course, is a must! Perhaps even a smash cake… You’ve seen the pictures: little Johnny with sugary goodness plastered all over his face, hands and high chair as he eats and plays his way through his first “smash cake”. It’s cute, it’s a little horrifying, and it’s all the rage for first birthdays. But it’s also recommended you make or buy a small, cheap cake if you want your baby to smash it, say Daniella Green and Jacqui Biess, the mother and daughter baking team behind Cape Town’s beloved Charly’s Bakery and stars, along with Daniella’s two sisters, of reality TV show Charly’s Angels. “Smash cakes are definitely a popular choice for moms planning a first birthday party but they can end up being a very expensive waste of cake and money,” says Daniella. “Even a tiny cake takes a lot of time and effort to bake, ice and decorate, so it can be quite a luxury.”
They recommend parents don’t get carried away when it comes to splurging on a first birthday cake, especially since most children won’t remember the moment apart from photos. But that’s all a matter of personal preference, and budget. “Some parents make a really big deal about the first birthday cake. They go all out on the party decor and are happy to spend lavishly on their cake,” Jacqui notes. “Other parents just want to mark this special day with a cake, a candle and a birthday message piped on the cake, and so order a low-priced cake. Either is just fine.” As the Hostess With The Mostest, you’re going to be spending much of the party making sure guests are well-fed and happy and that everything is going off without a hitch. But it’s important to know when it’s time to step back, relax and enjoy the experience with your family, friends and, of course, with the lucky birthday baby.
Make sure you’re able to do this by asking a friend or family member in advance to be on camera duty, and lighten your load by asking your partner to share hosting duties.
If your budget allows, you may even want to consider hiring a party planner to plan the whole shindig and manage the fun on the day so you’re free to enjoy every minute of it.
Ultimately, the best way to ensure a happy and successful first birthday celebration is to keep it all in perspective, say both Sherree and the Charly’s Angels. If the cake’s a flop, the weather dismal, the party guests miserable and bored, but your oneyear-old and you are still having fun blowing bubbles in the kitchen – well, then the party is a success! YB