POPSUGAR Celebrity

It's Party Time! 43 Creative First Birthday Party Ideas

Dec 13 2014 - 1:12pm

Congratulations, you've made it through the first year of parenthood! Ask any new mama — who feels like just yesterday she brought home a newborn and is now planning baby's first birthday bash [1] — and she'll tell you how fast a year can fly by. Baby's first birthday is a once-in-a-lifetime affair, and as parents, we all want to make it a memorable one — but where to start? From smash cakes [2] to party favors, we've got you covered. Put on your party-planning hat and get inspired to throw the party of the year with these 43 creative first birthday party ideas [3].

Source: Shutterstock [4]

A Very Hoppy Birthday Party

"The inspiration for Cerise's first birthday party theme, 'Some Bunny Is One,' came from her nickname, Bun," says her mom, party planner Jade McKenzie of Australia's Event Head [5]. "Ever since she was born, she has been like a cute little bunny rabbit, and her nursery is adorned with little woodland creatures; soft, girlie colors; and vintage finds. For her birthday, I definitely wanted the party to reflect my supersweet and loveable girl's first year!"

Jade accomplished that through sweet bunny graphics from Etsy's Billy & Scarlet [6], lots of pink details, and some of the cutest bunny and woodland-themed cookies we've ever seen. Click here [7] to check out all the beautiful bunny details.

Source: Event Head [8]

An Office-Inspired First Birthday Party

Even if your little one's first job is still decades away, this office-inspired party is an adorable way to celebrate a first birthday! "The theme was inspired by this onesie my son, Lucas, wears that has a tie embroidered on it," says Jesi Celeita of My Dolce Designs [9]. "Every time he would wear it, people would comment how handsome he looked. So I knew I wanted to use ties and possibly mustaches. I started looking online and found another office party that I loved. So I put it all together: an office party with lots of ties, mustaches, and newspaper!"

Jesi went all-out with the theme, creating an incredible dessert table with an impressive cake, mustache cake pops, tie-shaped cookies, and much more. A water cooler beverage table, complete with milk bottles that said "don't talk to me before I've had my milk," is another element we're really loving. Keep clicking [10] for all the details, and get to work!

Source: My Dolce Designs [11]

A Celestial First Birthday Bash

This "twinkle twinkle little star" first birthday bash might just be our ideal party: it looks small and pretty simple to execute, but it has a handful of special details, great style, and a mom who's not afraid to be totally real. "Although the party was a blast, the setup was crazy; I mean seriously so many things kept going wrong," says mom, interior designer, and blogger Kirsten Karson [12].

"I had two hours to get everything ready, which seemed like plenty of time, but I probably should have given myself six hours! The slight breeze kept making the balloons go crazy, and my twinkle twinkle sign fell on the table at one point, almost crashing into the cake! I think it was at that point that I turned to my friend Erin and said, 'let's just bag the whole thing and run away.' Luckily, my friends came to the rescue, and we got everything set up just in the knick of the time for the party to start. We may have had sweat pouring down our faces, but we were at least able to spend a good 30 minutes enjoying the party." And what a cute party it was! Check out all the details [13], which, we must say, look picture perfect!

Source: 6th Street Design School [14]

A Vintage Circus Meets Traditional Korean First Birthday Party

Come one, come all; this circus-themed first birthday bash mixes colorful vintage fun with some old-school tradition. "I have a thing for vintage circus fonts, which I discovered while designing a piece of wall art for Lena's nursery," says mom and POPSUGAR editor Sara Yoo. "And Lena — unlike her parents — has such an expressive, outgoing personality, we joke that every day is another opportunity for her to take center stage . . . or the center ring, in this case! A vintage carnival seemed like a great way to showcase her bright and bubbly nature while giving all the kids an environment to be creative and to have fun."

Sara and event planner Ashley Wong had a blast with the circus theme, but since Lena is half Korean, they also wanted to pay tribute to her ancestry with a Korean doljabi ceremony. The Korean tradition came about during a time when it was rare for children to survive the first year, so celebrations included a feast and a ceremony in which the baby chooses an item that is thought to foretell her future. Keep clicking [15] to see how Sara and Ashley seamlessly and beautifully mixed the two themes — and what little Lena's future holds.

Source: Jane Sha Photography [16]

A Winter Candy Land First Birthday

Is Mama's little angel a December baby? Planning a birthday during the holidays can be downright exhausting. You've got a million things to do — and buy! We're loving the idea of a Winter candy land theme for your baby's birthday, since you can have your holiday decor double as party decor — and save some time and money. That also means you can justify spending a little extra on holiday decor this year — it's for the baby's birthday!

Check out [17] this Winter candy-land-themed first birthday, and get inspired to put together your baby's own Winter wonderland.

Photos by Jackie Lindfors Photography [18] via Petite Party Studio [19]

A Modern Cowboys and Indians Birthday Party

Social implications and controversies aside, cowboys, Indians, and little boys have gone together like bows and arrows or boots and spurs since our grandparents were kids. But this party, thrown by event designer Jennifer Laura [20] for her 1-year-old son, Phoenix, proves that the pairing can look incredibly modern — and violence-free. "The cowboys and Indians theme came about when I found these invitations [21] from Rifle Paper Co.," Jennifer says. "I mean anything that Anna Bond does is just amazing, so of course I had to snatch those bad boys up." But it isn't just the invites that make this party extremely stylish. Add in an awesome backdrop, details galore ("I just can't get enough," Jennifer says), and one adorable birthday boy (or should we say cowboy?), and you have the coolest kids' party in the Wild West. Click here [22] for all the details.

Source: Jennifer Laura Design [23]

Sweet and Saucy! A Bow-Filled First Birthday Party

Pastry chef Melody Brandon of Sweet & Saucy Shop [24] has been the sugar-loving mind behind some of our favorite parties ever, so when Melody's little lady Blake celebrated her first birthday, of course she had to do it with sweet and saucy style!

"I have always loved putting bows and headbands on Blake since the day she was born, so I thought the Bows For Blake theme would be fitting and lots of fun," Melody says.

Melody went big with the bow theme, enlisting her sister to help create an incredible bow backdrop, dressing up almost all the amazing dessert selections with bows, and, of course, putting a bow on Blake! Add in the pink-and-gold color scheme, a gorgeous photo display of Blake's first year, and one happy birthday girl, and you have one sweet party. Click here [25] to check out all the details.

Photo by Krista Mason [26] via Sweet & Saucy Shop [27]

A Colorful Up-Inspired Party With DIY Details

This isn't the first time we've fallen for an Up-inspired birthday party [28], but we're completely smitten with the first birthday party created by Siuleth Rivera of stationery and event styling company Eleven Note [29] for her son, Eli.

Colorful DIY [30] details — including a rainbow-frosted layered cake, bright animal magnet favors, and a fingerprints-as-balloons guest "book" — abound at this creative bash. "Up is about adventure and love," Siuleth says, "and little Eli is both our greatest adventure and our greatest love!" Click here [31] for all the details.

Source: LH Photography [32]

A Dreamy Under-the-Sea Birthday Party

What do you get when you put together an event planner mama (Angel Swanson of Love & Splendor [33]), the Korean tradition of a doljanchi (an over-the-top first birthday celebration), and a whimsical under-the-sea party theme? Party perfection! This party, thrown for little Olive, has something for everyone: a baby lounge, kid-friendly entertainment including an amazing bubble show, plenty of sweet treats, and gorgeous decor in shades of mint and pink. Click here [34] to check out all the details of this dreamy party!

Source: Love & Splendor [35]

Frankie's Vintage Airplane Birthday Bash

We love an adorable first birthday party, and the vintage-airplane-inspired soiree thrown by one-half of the team behind Posh Paperie [36] for her 1-year-old son, Frankie, is certainly no exception. Featuring supercute plane-inspired snacks, some awesome parting gifts for party "passengers," and, of course, some incredible paper details, this birthday is totally inspirational. Click here [37] for all the high-flying details!

Source: Posh Paperie [38]

A Modern Ice Cream Social First Birthday Party

Graphic designer Mara Dawn Dockery [39] is one stylish momma, so when it came time to plan her son Alder's first birthday, no typical party would do. "We decided to do something a little different than the typical Summer barbecue and opted for an ice cream party," Mara says. "Since Alder is named after a type of tree, I decided to work a bit of a woodland theme into the party but wanted to keep things more in line with the simple, Scandinavian look I gravitate toward."

"I think the clean lines play well with the cool tones of ice cream. The look is modern and graphic yet is also somewhat reminiscent of a retro ice cream parlor. I deem it sugar, Scandinavian spice, and all things nice." DIY [40] decor, delicious ice cream flavors (cake batter, honey lavender, salted caramel, and strawberry basil), and one cute birthday boy add up to a simple but memorable party that was as much fun for the adults as it was for the babies! Click here [41] to check out all the details.

Source: Mara Dawn [42]

Martha Stewart's Sophisticated and Sweet Animal Party

It's no surprise that little Jude Stewart's first birthday celebration wasn't filled with the typical smash cake and bumbling clown. When you're Martha Stewart's first (and only) granddaughter, your party is sure to take a more sophisticated route (just peek into the tot's Arctic-inspired bedroom [43] and a colorful playroom). So when it came time to plan Alexis Stewart's daughter's first birthday — just two days after she welcomed her son, Truman — Grandma put her special spin on it and created a whimsical stuffed-animal-themed party [44].

Photos by Francesco Lagnese. Courtesy of Martha Stewart Living. Copyright © 2012. Originally published in the October issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine [45]

A Colorful Summer Circus First Birthday Party

Mom, blogger, and DIY [46] queen Tiffany DeLangie of The TasteFull Life [47] went with a circus theme for her youngest daughter Nadia's first birthday, and bright and bold was the order of her day. Hot pink, yellow, and aqua showed up on a cool ticket-wrapped faux cake, on Nadia's special seat of honor, and on the DIY elephant backdrop. Cool decor; circus-themed party games; face painting; and one adorable, cake-loving birthday girl make this party an elephant-size hit! Click here [48] for all the details.

Source: The TasteFull Life [49]

A Safari Birthday Party For an Animal-Lovin' Little Lady

We see a lot of adventurous birthday party themes for little boys, but who says girls can't also get in on the action? For little Reese's first birthday bash, her parents decided a safari theme was the only way to go.

"Reese loves animals," says Kelly McLeskey-Dolata of A Little Savvy Event [50], the party planners hired to execute the kiddie event. "The greatest activity of the day had to be the live safari animals. Reese loved seeing the snakes and baby alligators, and it added an unexpected and lively aspect to the day." Click here [51] to see all the sweet safari details!

Source: A Little Savvy Event [52]

A Chic, Tiffany's-Inspired Party

This Breakfast at Tiffany's-inspired party [53] for 1-year-old Riley manages to be both girlie and chic, much like style icon Audrey Hepburn herself. "I wanted something that was ultimately fun and glamorous, and nothing was better than Breakfast at Tiffany's!" says Riley's mom, Cassidy Freitas. "Also, the theme would combine two of my all-time favorite things: diamonds and breakfast. I felt the theme had been done before, and I wanted to change it up and make it a little more youthful, so we went with the color scheme of mint, peach, and silver instead of the traditional Tiffany blue." A stylish DIY [54] photo booth, a yummy breakfast buffet, and one scrumptious birthday girl dressed as Holly Golightly add to the appeal of this simply stunning party.

Source: En Point Photography [55]

A Modern Chevron, Elephant, and Balloon First Birthday Party

Magdalena Czerny of Oh So Chic Celebrations [56] gladly rose to the challenge when tasked with creating a modern red, gray, and blue party for 1-year-old Julian. "His mommy is a wonderful lady with a great sense of style," Magdalena says. "When I showed her the chevron fabric I had just purchased, she loved it. We found an invitation with an elephant, a red balloon, and a chevron pattern, and the rest of it just flowed from that." We're loving the modern color combination, along with the adorable cake, macaron towers, and awesome balloon cookies and cake pops. Click here [57] to check out all of this party's awesome details!

Source: Oh So Chic Celebrations [58]

A Glitter-Filled Silver and Peach Party

Melanie Holt of New Zealand-based event design company All the Frills [59] designs gorgeous, whimsical events for grown-ups, so it's no surprise her kids' parties are equally lovely and elegant. That sophistication — combined with a heavy dose of sparkle — had us falling head over heels for the adorable peach-and-silver party Melanie planned for her 1-year-old daughter, Sienna. "Almost everything turned out as I expected, and the color scheme was a perfect mix of silver and peach," Melanie says. "Peach wasn't the easiest color to find, but it was well worth the search!" Click here [60] to see all the beyond-beautiful details, including the amazing DIY [61] scalloped backdrop.

Source: All the Frills [62]

An Election-Inspired Party

This election-inspired party [63] thrown for 1-year-old Wren is getting our vote for creativity and cuteness. "We've discussed her platform at length, and I'm proud to endorse her as the bipartisan, all-American candidate for people who believe we should all just get along. She's No. 1 in 2012," says her mom, Heather Cook Elliott [64], a photographer who also created Wren's global, industrial nursery [65]. Full of presidential details, an awesome cake dotted with campaign buttons, and one adorable candidate, Wren's first birthday bash is pure political genius!

Source: Heather Cook Elliott [66]

A Bold, Candy-Colored Birthday Party

A summertime bash calls for bright colors and outdoor games, and this first birthday party for adorable little Emily didn't disappoint on either front. Full of candy colors and treats, bold patterns, and plenty of backyard fun, this is one party that's guaranteed to put a smile on your face. "I found my inspiration to the party when I spotted the invite on Etsy [67], and I instantly fell in love with the modern chevron pattern and color scheme," says Emily's mom, Jill Hill. "This was my first time throwing a birthday party, so I just decided to have fun with it — make it bright with colors and fun with lots of kids' activities." Click here [68] for all the bright birthday details!

Source: Wendy Updegraff Photography [69]

A Birthday Garden Party Starring Peter Rabbit

We're totally smitten with this sweet garden setting, clever desserts, and cute birthday boy, 1-year-old Henry. "When I started brainstorming ideas for Henry's birthday, the idea to use Peter Rabbit was almost a given," says his mom, Alex Dovel of Alex Michele Photography [70]. "Henry is such a little Peter Rabbit himself: spunky, mischievous, far too clever for his own good, and totally naughty in every single, perfect way."

Alex wanted Henry's first birthday party to be special, "filled with color and sweetness, perfect little details, treats and laughter, awesome party favors, and a few games and surprises! Yes, I even got him a real Peter Rabbit! I wanted to celebrate my little bunny with happiness and style," Alex continues. She definitely succeeded! Click here [71] for all the special, sweet, and "hoppy" birthday details!

Source: Alex Michele Photography [72]

A Little Man Retro Manhattan Party

For a globetrotting tot, the sky's the limit when it comes to a first birthday party. Caroline Tran [73], a Los Angeles-based photographer, has traveled the country with her tot in tow and paid tribute to their favorite destination for her little one's soiree. With '60s-era Manhattan all the rage — thanks to the likes of Mad Men — she set out to create a miniaturized version of the Big Apple. Using her father's carpentry talents and the expertise of Grand Soirées [74] and Skybox Event Productions [75], Caroline crafted her own little piece of NYC in the heart of LA. Click here [76] to see all the details.

Source: Caroline Tran [77]

It's a (Lovely) Small World Party

Created by Linsey Latimer's Lux Events & Design [78] for the first birthday party of photographer Kristine Atienza [79]'s daughter Eva, the It's a Small World-inspired party [80] is full of pink, purple, and gold details. "Kristine choose It's a Small World as the theme because it was the birthday girl's first-ever ride at Disneyland and because the family loves to travel," Linsey says. "I took all my inspiration for this party from the Small World castle. I just love how all of the elements played off of the building!"

Source: Kristine Atienza [81]

A Blue Ombré Surf Birthday Brunch

With fun food stations like cereal and pancake bars and a cute drink area featuring chocolate milk shots for kiddos and mimosas for their chaperones, this party really has everything, in terms of both food and decor. Ombré, hand-painted place settings and cutlery, a kraft paper photo collage, and shark-fin cake pops are all inspirational ideas, and if you need any other proof that this is one lucky 1-year-old, then check out his new surfboard on the dessert bar; it was specially made for the birthday boy as a present from his mom and surf-loving dad. Click here [82] for all the amazing details!

Source: Hostess With the Mostess [83]

Cute, Camping-Inspired Party

Summer is the season for camping, and A Little Savvy Event [84] used every kid's favorite outdoor overnight experience as a jumping-off point for this cute camping first birthday party. Thrown for little Greyson, this party (from the brains who also came up with this sweet puppy birthday party [85] and this vintage-map baby shower [86]) is superclever, using a tree round as a cake stand, fun paper products and signage, and lots of yummy, camping-inspired eats. My favorite element? Mini bundt cakes in two flavors: s'mores and pancake with maple-syrup buttercream and bacon topping. Click here [87] for all the camp-tastic details.

Source: A Little Savvy Event [88]

A Pretty in Pink and Gold First Birthday Party

Sometimes "pretty" is enough of a birthday party theme, as proven by this gorgeous flower- and cake-filled birthday party thrown by Leanne Ambrogio of Australian event company Sweet Style [89] for 1-year-old Mariette. "The color palette was soft pinks and blues with a hint of gold, which always look so elegant together," Leanne says. But the stars of this show (beyond the birthday girl, of course) were the nine — yes, nine! — gorgeous birthday cakes, all uniquely decorated with beautiful blooms. Click here [90] to find your favorite and check out all the other lovely details at this oh-so-sweet soiree.

Source: Sweet Style [91]

Four-Leg-Friendly Birthday Party

Bow wow indeed! You don't have to have a pet dog at home to love them — but it certainly helps for the pictures! This first birthday party, thrown at Modern Cookie in Marin, CA, by A Little Savvy Event [92] wowed us with its sweet paper goods [93], cute puppy-inspired cakes [94], and awesome gift bags that were stocked with faux-fur hats [95]! Click here [96] to check out the puppy power!

Source: A Little Savvy Event [97]

Magical Winter Wonderland Party

With gorgeous and cozy details including Manzanita branch centerpieces, glittery snowflakes, a sweet hot cocoa bar, and lots of sparkly silver and pink trees, this Winter Wonderland party [98] makes us wish it was Winter all year round (minus the freezing temperatures, of course). "I didn't want to re-create those typical Winter parties with penguins, polar bears, and igloos. Instead, I had the idea in my head for a rustic, shabby-chic party that had the Winter feel but was a bit more girlie and sophisticated — just like our little girl!" says Emily Klaparda, mom of two and the creative mind behind Emily K Paperie.

Source: Emily K Paperie

A Backyard, Bedtime-Inspired First Birthday Party

Christina Wright of Simply Modern Weddings [99] chose to theme her son's first birthday bash around pajamas and bedtime stories, her son James's favorite thing, and set up a "bathtub" and story-time stations.

"We've been reading James (also known as J5, since he's the fifth) bedtime stories since before he was born, and it's become something very special," Christina says. "It's the time where we wind down from playing, he snuggles up in our arms with his cozy pajamas, and we are then transported to a land of imagination in his stories." Click here [100] to check out all the details of this creative party, which takes bedtime outside!

Source: Simply Modern Weddings [101]

A Blabla-Inspired First Birthday Party

Blabla [102]'s adorable stuffed animals and dolls are among our favorite kid finds ever [103], so we were instantly enamored when we discovered the Blabla-themed birthday bash thrown for 1-year-old Margot. The pastel-popping party was dotted with Blabla dolls wearing birthday hats! "The charming toys were baby gifts, Christmas gifts, Easter bunny gifts, and 'just because' gifts . . . and she adores them all (and so does Mom)!" says photographer and family friend Lucinda Newby [104]. "The fun palette and cute striped wardrobe of the classic dolls made a colorful backdrop for a celebration." We love the idea of taking a simple, already-on-hand inspiration point and running with it, and we bet you'll agree after you check out this party [105].

Source: Portraits by Lucinda [106]

A Parisian Red-Balloon Party

Becca, the design-minded creator of the cool blog Lavender's Blue [107], has an international family. So to help celebrate her nephew's first birthday, she left her island home of Grenada and traveled to Beijing to throw a party with a French theme (and one cool Chinese tradition thrown in for good measure). "My sister is a major Francophile. She lived there for a year, fell in love with her husband there, and just returned there for the first time this past Spring with Elijah! How appropriate it is that the inspiration for Elijah's first birthday party came from the classic French film The Red Balloon?" Becca says. With an awesome invitation; simple, chic party details; and a heavy dose of whimsy, this red-balloon party [108] can be described in two words: c'est magnifique!

Source: Lavender's Blue [109]

Vintage Tricycle Birthday

Evoke nostalgia with a vintage-inspired birthday. Custom-printed party decorations and labels make this bash even more special.

Source: Style Me Gorgeous [110]

Pretty in Pink!

When we found the pink-inspired bash Jamielyn Nye of I Heart Nap Time [111] recently threw for her daughter's first birthday [112], we fell in serious love. Emmalyn's beautiful birthday party is as girlie as it gets, with a sweet dessert table, the prettiest rose-covered cake, and one seriously adorable birthday girl. While the party offers lots of inspiration (check out the chandelier-turned-cake-stand), there are many completely doable ideas (lemonade in mason jars, a cute ribbon border for the dessert table) for mamas who weren't blessed with Jamielyn's awesome creativity. Click here [113] for all the pink, girlie party perfection!

Source: I Heart Nap Time [114]

One Year in a Flash

Baby's first year of life flies by in a flash — and what better way to celebrate a first birthday [115] than to take a look back at the past 12 months? One Year in a Flash was this creative mama's theme for her daughter's first birthday party [116]. From custom invitations to one-of-a-kind portrait party favors, every detail of this "flashback" party was supersweet! Click here [117] to see how she put it together and get inspired to celebrate your little one's first year of life.

Source: Hostess With the Mostess [118]

Vintage County Fair Party

When it came time to throw her son's first birthday party, PR pro Tori Johnson [119] couldn't hold back. "When you are a mom who does events for a living, you can pretty much guarantee that you are going to go over the top for your firstborn's first birthday party," she says. "And that is exactly what I did! I just couldn't help myself!" The vintage-county-fair-inspired party contained an incredible amount of details, including cleverly named food and drink tables ("Farmers Market," "Bake Sale," "Pie-Eating Contest"); classic fair games like the beanbag toss, ringtoss, and goldfish bowl game; and adorable extras like gingham tablecloths, mason jars, and hand-painted wood signs. Click here [120] to get inspired!

Photos by Rhobin Tudyk [121] via The sTORIbook [122]

Ice Cream Social Birthday Party

Nothing compares to the sweetness of a little baby girl — but an ice cream social first birthday party comes pretty close! Set the stage with an ice cream and cake bar for your little guests.

Photo by Trista Lerit [123] via Grand Soirees [124]

Nautical Pirate Birthday Party

Ahoy, mateys! A blue-and-red "sweets bar" with color-coordinating candies, cupcakes, and a pirate birthday cake are a must have for a nautical pirate birthday party.

Source: Pink Piggy Design [125]

Modern Elephant Balloon Birthday

Can a first birthday party be modern, fun, and sophisticated all at once? Oh, yeah! All the party details were handmade — from the garlands to the party hats — and the birthday boy had his own little minicake.

Source: Dulce Sobre Mesa [126]

Peace, Love, and Owls Birthday

Look "whooo" is turning 1! Bright funky patterns, tulle, and plenty of owls made for a hoot of a party.

Source: Sweets Indeed [127]

Girlie-Chic Animal Parade Birthday

An animal parade birthday party gets a girlie makeover for a swingin' — and fabulous — first birthday bash!

Source: Paper & Ink [128]

Curious George Birthday Party

Let's go bananas! A Curious George-themed birthday is easy to pull off. Red-and-yellow party decorations and a few plush monkeys are all you need.

Source: Living the Swell Life [129]

A Colorful Birthday Parade

Take a hint from a party planning pro! Jennifer Sbranti of Hostess With the Mostess [130] threw a colorful circus/carnival-themed bash with eye candy — and real candy! — as far as the eye can see for her daughter's first birthday.

Source: Hostess With the Mostess [131]

Bee-Themed First Birthday

Bumble bee cake pops [132] and a custom black-and-yellow cake are just two of the many buzz-worthy treats available at this bee-day party!

Source: The Carver Crew [133]

Happy Birthday, Sunshine!

A chic and happy soiree to celebrate the light in your life! We love the special first birthday time capsule idea.

Source: Wendy Updegraff Photography [134]


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