Time flies in no time. Last year we welcomed you with heart full of love n blessings. You filled our lives and home with umpteen warmth n laughter . This one year was filled with new hopes and aspirations, with you on our side. You have turned one year old, and I am recalling the year gone by with awe , coz you have grown into this beautiful little doll, just as in our dreams.
With lots of aspiration , I always wanted your first birthday to be a long remembered, grand affair in everyone’s life. I wanted to build beautiful memories for you to look back to when you are grown up. You are too small to enjoy or remember anything from this birthday but when you are all grown up, I hope that looking back at the pictures you might enjoy the memories that we built for you. This is our special gift to you on your first birthday.
Beginning is always difficult and here also I was not sure from where to start. Finally I took the first step of arranging the memorable first birthday of my daughter.
Planning a first birthday party can be overwhelming particularly because there is so much to consider and in my case so much to plan and coordinate. There were too many things in my mind to be done and I didn’t want to miss out even a small detail also. So I started off by making a checklist. Maintaining a planner/checklist was necessary as it was important for me to keep a track of the things that were done and things that were to be done.
Next in line was planning the basics: Picking a date : In my case this was decided as it was her first birthday and we didn’t wanted to change the date or day for her. Deciding on a theme : This is a very good option to add some colour and fun element in the party. Hosts as well as the guests are curious about each others attires and get ups. But it was her birthday and both side of families were also there. Our guests were of every age groups so some may not have felt comfortable in dressing up accordingly. So keeping a theme would have restricted people in just coming and enjoying themselves. Thus we dropped the idea of putting a theme. Although me, my husband and my daughter kept our dresses color coordinated. Setting a time : It was a weekday, so evening was the only suitable time for everyone.
Step 2 in the checklist has the guest list and invites. So the planning started 2 months back with the preparation of the guest list. It’s the most important part of planning as according to the number of guests and the majority age group, the venue and rest of the planning is done.
I made a list of those I planned to invite and kept a track of responses. We decided to keep it a family affair with our friends, neighbours and colleagues also. Invitations – We decided to invite people online. So invites were to be sent in two parts. First I made a teaser that was sent to everyone to block the date and then the actual invite sent 2 days before the event. It was a good idea to keep a follow up and remind people. I made sure to specify the start and end time in the main invite. So the teaser and the actual invite looked like this.
With the guest list done, search of venue started in full swing. This was a tricky part as we needed to find a place which was suitable in accommodating 90 guests, had enough place for decoration and the food was also good. This is always a very catchy part of the party as there are several people who decide to go to the party according to the venue. If the venue is too far or inside a locality with lots of turns or the approach is not good or parking is a problem, they chose not to attend the function. So I needed to find a place , keeping all these things in mind. Lots of venues were shortlisted among several locations, which were near to our home as we also have to take the traffic jams into consideration. It was a weekday and the office returning jams were usual and routine affair in Gurgaon. A friend came as an angel in disguise and he sorted top 5 venues in our budget near to our place. As he was in the hospitality, his contacts were of great help to us. It saved lot of our time and run. And through his contacts we finalized the venue for the party which fulfilled all our desired points.
With the finalizing of venue, the decoration of the hall was the next step. I just couldn’t afford to go wrong in this segment as this was my area. This is my specialty and I was filled with so many ideas. Although this was a kid’s birthday party and it was something very new for me as I have not done this before, I wanted it to be a memorable and fun for all the guests. So I explored several ideas such as
- Streamers – These are great for hanging around the room and they can even be folded into patterns.
- Balloons- This is a must for a birthday party. This option is famous since ages and still loved by everyone. I also wanted balloons but not as a usual balloon gate or bunches spread here and there. There were several helium balloons also available for the decoration.
- Banners – A big “Happy Birthday” banner or feature banner related to the party theme is a good option these days. I also decided a banner with focus lights around.
- Party Blowers – These honking toys may be annoying for adults, but kids love them.
- Confetti – Although usually seen at weddings, it can be a great addition to a birthday party also.
- Centrepieces – This is a suitable option for a themed party. For instance at a princess party, a big princess to lean against the wall or smaller ones to place in the middle of tables.
- Party Hats – These come in a variety of colors, themes and are also age specific.
- Wall Decorations – Depending on the theme and color scheme, wall decorations help to provide ambience.
- Yard Sign – To welcome guests and let them know they’re at the right place. It can be made out of a piece of cardboard with a few balloons attached.
- Sash- I kept these sash for the grandparents. It was a simple and a different way of making them feel special. I printed the names which they loved to be called by her.
Dressing up for a occasion is important. Its a way of differentiating a normal day from a special one. Everyone wants to keep this special and elegant for a birthday party. Everyone have a set image in mind for a special occasion. Even I had the same. As we had not kept any theme, I wanted our dresses to be colour coordinated and thus I chose pink for her and blue for us. I ordered several dresses for her in pink online with matching hairbands and shoes. But my mother came in with a much prettier option on her birthday with matching headgear and shoes. Thus this was her final getup. We chose a coordinated blue gown and shirt respectively.
This was a small token to say thank you to all those who came to attend the function and became a part of our joy and happiness. Our party was success only because of these people .So I wanted to gift everyone something which can remind them of us or this party. Generally sweets or confectioneries are given in return but I didn’t want to gift something consumable. So my dear friend Annu Grover(owner of www.nurturinggreen.in) came to the rescue and suggested to gift everyone a plant in return. That was a very unique way of reminding people of us. A special way of promoting green gifting. It adds to their memories of our party. As there were few kids and more adults, that was a very ideal gift.
I was speaking to my mother the other day, when she told me to keep some fun and frolic for the guests as otherwise people get bored. They just come, sit, eat and go. To build some memories for them, I wanted to give them something new. So, my search for a wonderful idea began. And then I decided to set up a photo booth with props. So instead of regular photos, we will have some fun filled photo memories of the party. We will have some funky photos and the guests will also enjoy getting clicked.
Its actually the most important thing in a party. Guests can forget the decoration or other arrangements but they will remember the food for some time, whether it was good or bad. So we made sure if there were any special dietary needs like allergies. According to the age groups and preference we decided for
- Snacks : Tried to keep them light and dry so that guests could also enjoy the food later.
- Party Food: It was a mix of different cuisines. It added variety to the menu as well it catered to different tastes of the guests.
- The cake : It was made according to the number of guests in the party. Preference was given to the majority age group coming in the party such as adults were in majority so the cake was of chocolate flavour with fondant outside .
- Drinks: Kept two options such as soft drinks and soups .
And so the party was a great success and everyone enjoyed a lot. With this party I realized that organizing things is not difficult but the trick is to arrange it in such a manner that even you can enjoy the party with the guests and attend the guests also. Otherwise the hosts are busy in running behind things and the guests are not being catered to. I tried my level best to look after even the smallest details of the party. So here are some snapshots. The idea to include this in my blog was to highlight some important aspects of arranging and decorating a party. There are simple points to be remembered and I tried in best of my abilities to list the important aspects of arranging a birthday party. I hope this can be of some help to several readers who want to or will be arranging a party in future. If any of you have some more or better idea regarding the same please do share them in the comments section. Happy decorating…..