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What I Wish I Knew When Planning My Daughter’s 1st Birthday

March 21, 2018

The day Evie was born was the happiest day of my life.  I was finally a mom, a dream I’ve dreamed since I was a little girl. And I had a daughter! Another huge dream of mine.  Everything was perfect, and I didn’t even know a love that strong could exist. My sweet girl has […]

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The day Evie was born was the happiest day of my life.  I was finally a mom, a dream I’ve dreamed since I was a little girl. And I had a daughter! Another huge dream of mine.  Everything was perfect, and I didn’t even know a love that strong could exist. My sweet girl has brought so much joy to everyone she meets. She is kind, funny, smart, loving, and the best friend I could ask for.

When it came to planning Evie’s first birthday, the pressure was on.  I don’t even know exactly where the pressure came from, but I felt it. Instagram? Pinterest? Maybe just myself and how much I loved entertaining, but when I started planning it, I immediately felt overwhelmed that I had to get it “right.”

The more I think back on that time, I was also using this party and planning it as a distraction from the fact that my tiny baby was turning into a toddler way faster than I wanted.  I was very emotional about that, and still struggle with it at each of my kid’s birthdays. I love them even more with each year, but watching them grow up is hard! Time is not my friend when their birthdays roll around. Those emotions were so strong and I felt the need to make this party an incredibly special occasion.

My daughter was the most special thing to me, so of course her party had to be outstanding. Now, listen, you may have gathered, that I’m a party lover.  I jump at the chance to entertain and open my home to my loved ones. But this first birthday party? It was a big deal.

I was celebrating this little soul coming in and changing our lives forever. I was celebrating Ryan and I surviving our first year as parents. I was celebrating our incredible tribe that has nothing but support, encouragement, and love for my family. I was stressed out.

Something I didn’t often feel when planning a party. I planned my Pinterest board months before the party.  I had pins of all kinds of ideas that somewhat fit my theme, but ones I thought I could tweak to fit better. I had tons of menu plans, dessert ideas, outfits for Evie everywhere.  It was unfocused, overwhelming, and to be honest, super daunting. The fun was slowly fading away, and although I enjoyed the little craft projects at naptime, I was getting over the party planning faster than I should have, being as the party was still two months away.

What I Wish I Could Tell That Mom Today

You need a clear plan and checklist to keep you focused.

I thought I had a specific theme in my head, a feminine pink and gold garden party, inspired by the quote, “She Leaves a Little Sparkle Wherever She Goes.” BUT even with that, I kept buying things I didn’t need that I thought would work, resulting in way too much money spent, and so many decorations and props that I was lost on how to use them all.

Anyone ever gotten sucked down the rabbit hole of having a million tabs open?? That was me BIG time.  I would log on to my Pinterest board, right click all the ideas I wanted to work on, and before I knew it, 20 tabs were open and I kept clicking back and forth getting lost in supply lists, Amazon carts, and blogs telling me how to make paper flowers and decorate the perfect pink sugar cookies.

It was too much, and I know I’m not the only one that feels that way. A clear plan where everything is in one spot with a checklist outlining what I needed to do would have saved my sanity.  It would have made the planning enjoyable, and more importantly, manageable. For every party after that, this is how I’ve planned. Pick a theme, create a plan, don’t stray from it, and use that checklist. It is shocking how fast that overwhelm slips away when you have a plan.

You do NOT have to bake every single item served on the dessert table.

I am not a baker.  I never have been, and I’ve never even pretended to be one to get by.  The precision and recipes intimidate me and take too much time. I much prefer cooking where I can have some creative freedom, but still be confident it’ll turn out edible.  Baking, not so much.

So the fact that I was determined to bake every item I served at the party was beyond me. But there I was, mom of the year (or so I thought) testing recipes and purchasing the fancy tip set on Amazon thinking it would be easy to replicate the cute desserts I saw all over Pinterest. I scoured the internet for a “healthy” smash cake recipe, then donated all the test treats to my mom friends in return for their honest feedback. I became obsessed with buttercream. Did the table look great? Yes. Were they delicious? Yes. Did I enjoy the compliments I got? Obviously.

Will I ever do it again? Heck to the no, sister.

After that party, I made a vow to outsource baking for future parties. I don’t enjoy it and my time is better suited on other party details, like decor.  Do you like baking, but not feeling the decor part of a party? Great! You found your outsource item! Put down the glue gun, whip out your credit card, and get to baking, friend!  Siggghhhhh of relief.

You are hosting this party for your daughter and your tribe, that’s it.

I will admit that I got lost in the planning process.  I was the party planner of my friend group. I was raised by an incredible mother who made celebrations magical for my sister and I.  I felt like I had to live up to those expectations, and I lost why I was planning this party in the first place.

I was celebrating my daughter and the incredible gift of a first year she had given me and my family. I was thanking my loved ones for being there for us, and their guidance through this first year as we navigated becoming a family of 3. I was creating lifelong memories that I still cherish deeply.

The party was beautiful.  But it still would have been beautiful had I not put so much pressure on myself.  Evie was surrounded by people that love her, and that’s what made it beautiful. I was proud at what I pulled off, but I knew I would not be able to do that every year…and oh god…what if we had more kids?! (Spoiler alert, we did and their birthdays are one month apart. Fun.).

I remember excusing myself at one point during the party because I felt like I was going to burst into tears.  It was right before we were going to sing happy birthday to Evie, and I was oddly nervous about it.

I think I was so exhausted and emotional that the day finally arrived and was coming to a close, but I had a mini breakdown in the laundry room, and definitely cried in front of my guests while they sang to her. There are a lot of emotions when your child turns one, but joy should be at the top.  Planning a party should only add to that joy, not dim it’s light. I now know the secret to planning stress-free, memorable parties and the weight that is lifted from that is priceless.

Parties are still a big deal around here. We go all out and I don’t see that changing. But, I enjoy it. I enjoyed a lot of planning Evie’s first also, but it’s no where close to how I feel about parties I plan and host now.  I approach them with a whole different attitude. The focus is now on the fun memories I am creating for my tribe. The experience I am giving them to treasure is the motivator for me. I don’t feel pressure anymore because I know that when I focus on what is important, the party will be beautiful and a good time will be had by all. It is the celebration that matters, and the pictures are just an added bonus. ?  

If you’re like I was, sitting there overwhelmed by all that needs to get done for your little one’s first birthday, I want you to know I am here to help.  I want you to enjoy the weeks leading up to your party, so I have created some fabulous first birthday party plans in adorable themes to ensure you have a stress-free, memorable first birthday party.  You deserve it, mama! Let’s do this together!

Shop First Birthday Party Plans

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  1. Ann Carter says:

    Evie’s first birthday party was incredible! You have become much more comfortable planning these amazing parties since that first one. As Grammy & Granddaddy to this beautiful little girl (and also as Grammy & Granddaddy to her equally amazing little brother, Hudson), we have LOVED each party you have created! The memories of these special times in our family’s lives are priceless. Thank you for creating such special memories for us, Allison! (As you probably guessed, I cried more than a couple of tears when I read your blog today.)

    • Allison says:

      Thank you!! I’m so glad you feel that way, that’s the goal! I love doing it and creating these experiences for our family. Thank you for being such an important part of it!

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