How to Plan a Stress Free Birthday Party!

While I could sit here and tell you all about Y’s first birthday party for the next oh, year or so, I thought I’d approach all of the celebrations from a slightly different angle! It’s absolutely surreal that a year has already gone by since this little boy made his grand entrance into our lives, and we are so incredibly grateful for all of the milestones and moments that have been cause for celebration from the very first day. This first year as parents has been quite the roller coaster ride. From weight issues, to colic all the way to smiles, first words and so much love, this little guy has pushed us to grow in so many ways over the past year! How do you fit all of this into one day of celebration?! Well, we opted for 2!

On the day of his birthday, we decided to celebrate together, as our little family of three. We took Y to a play place where we were amazed and really had the opportunity to realize how much he has grown, and how independent and adventurous he  has become! He spent the afternoon crawling and cruising everywhere and exploring everything! We even got a glimpse into the next stage of parenting when he started to whine when M picked him up, to leave! Once home, all whining was forgotten, when the celebrations continued with his first taste of cake! A few days later, we had a larger celebration with family and friends! The party was absolutely beautiful and it was so wonderful being able to see people who provided so much support and love over Y's first year! We couldn't have hoped for a greater way to honor our little boy's special day, than with all the love, laughter and smiles that filled the room!

I want to take this opportunity to share with you a few tips and tricks I picked up, to help plan and pull off a stress free birthday party!

I’ll be the first to admit, that I can be over-ambitious at times and that more often than not, stress bubbles to the surface and my elaborate plans and to-do lists begin to go askew. Considering I started pinning ideas for Y’s birthday a long time ago, the running game plan resembled more of a wedding than a birthday party. That’s the wonderful and awful thing about Pinterest. I had pinned 3-tier cakes alongside “simple and easy decorations”. It was a huge mishmash of stuff and I was overwhelmed before I even really figured out a theme – which I changed at least 4 times!

And with that here's my first tip, for successfully planning a stress free birthday party!

It wasn't until I came across a post on my Instagram feed in early December, that everything suddenly came into focus. The wonderful Emily Ley shared photos of her son’s birthday party. As incredible as the party looked, it was actually her caption that caught my attention. I can honestly say it’s one of the main reasons why Y’s party went as smoothly as it did. I’m paraphrasing here, but Emily made mention of how the party was for her son, how it wasn't about her hostess or DIY skills. She sourced where she found the items for the party and how she pulled it off. And then the line that really grabbed my attention...

“The good stuff really does happen when you let go.”

I literally want to frame that quote in every room of our home so that I can see it all the time.

I realized, that in my pinning and planning fury I had neglected remembering two very important points.

1. This day is about Y. Not about how many crafts I can make off of Pinterest. Not about how many desserts I can squeeze onto a table. Not about how many videos I can watch to learn how to pipe a cake or cupcakes or anything like that. This day is not about Mommy or a show and tell of all the things I can do. This day is about Y!

2. I need to learn to let go. Accept that things are going to veer off course and that at the end of the day if our little boy is smiling then the party was a success no matter what.

I didn't realize how strongly her words had affected me, until approximately 48 hours before the party, when we got word that there was an issue with the party room we had booked. Y'know, the place where all of our guests had received invitations and directions to. The place we found and booked a month and a half in advance. Yeah, we were getting word about an hour before Shabbos that we may not have access to the room. Luckily for us, one of our closets friend’s sorted it out and everything was back on track!

Also, the menu. Oh the menu. You should have seen my rough drafts of ideas! First I wanted to do a buffet style of all of Y’s favorite foods, but in more grownup versions (I doubt anyone would be heading for seconds of sweet potato puree or baby cereal!). I was thinking sweet potato fries in mini take out containers for instance! Then I saw a pin of scoops of ice cream in mason jars, with little bowls of toppings laid out on the table and an ice cream/frozen yogurt party was the new theme! Then we jumped to Toy Story, Rio and a bunch of other themes that he seemed to show interest in throughout his first year! Each one included endless decorated desserts, that even though I knew I was totally incapable of creating, or were way out of our budget, envisioned on the table anyway!

When I took the time to stop and realize how what I was really doing was using this party as an outlet to decorate a table and make food and socialize after a year of being home with a baby and basically having only my husband and mom to communicate with on a daily basis, I scrapped everything. This day is supposed to be solely about Y! I will admit that making the baked goods and his cake was important to me though. I wanted his first taste of sweets to be from his Mommy’s kitchen, and after a year of only eating homemade and healthy food, throwing him into a party of sugar and icing and store bought goodies worried me. So I came up with a plan! And with that plan came a theme that was all about Y.

Our little Mr. 1-derful!

I hope you’ll come back this week and follow along our posts, for more tips on decorating and baking in preparation for a stress free birthday party, for your special little one!


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