Monday, January 28, 2013

Planning a First Birthday Party: Things I Learned

I was so excited about Wesley's first birthday party that I began planning it when he was 9 months old. I knew it would be a DIY extravaganza and that I'd want everything to be as perfect as possible. Along the way I made some difficult decisions and learned a lot. The party was spectacular and everyone had a fantastic time. Here are some of the things I learned...

Hire a photographer - a friend suggested that I pay a photographer to get pictures of the day. I wasn't sure about it but she convinced me that it'd be the only way to relax and enjoy the day. I am so glad we decided to do this! We paid a high school journalism student $50 to take photos for 2.5 hours. It was incredible. I didn't worry about everything, she got incredible pictures, and I was even in some of the shots!

Decide at what cost - I don't like spending money, but I decided that there were a few things I'd pay to have someone else do for me. Either because it would be better than if I did it or because I didn't want to take the time to do it myself. For us, that was the photographer, the cake, and Wesley's birthday t-shirt. All for different reasons. Obviously the photographer was an easy decision - I didn't want to worry about it, didn't want my family to worry about it, and wanted good pictures. Done. The cake was a struggle. I thought I might be able to decorate something, even though I'd never done it before. I know how to bake a cake - decorating can't be that hard! But then I realized the logistics of making the cake, decorating the cake, and getting ready for the party. Nope. So a friend made it. Done and done. For Wesley's t-shirt, I knew I wanted something special for him to wear to commemorate his 1st birthday. I could make something, but wanted it embroidered...And I don't yet have an embroidery machine. So I ordered it. Done and done. Total spent on these time-saving projects? $120 and worth every penny!

No gifts - Wesley's birthday is just 2.5 weeks after Christmas. We attempted to keep Christmas simple, but he still got lots of toys. I knew for his birthday I wanted to begin a tradition of not giving in to the desire to get MORE toys. We opted to ask for donations to a local food bank in Wesley's honor. We had a box near the door and collected a bunch of non-perishable items! It was perfect. We did buy Wesley new shoes and some bath toys for his birthday from his mama and dad, but that's it!

I plan to remember these things and use them in the future - I'm already dreaming about birthday #2!
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