I’m not a great party planner, but as I started to plan out Gemma’s first birthday party, I had a couple of things in mind. I didn’t want it to stress me out. I wanted to honor the simple living/ minimalism practices we value as a family and keep it simple. No overboard, Pinterest-perfect party. And I wanted to have it in our home. Overall, I wanted a simple first birthday party, but I wanted it to be special, too.
The theme would be peach, since I called Gemma little peach since day one, and she took on that nickname from Nick and I ever since.
Soon after I decided I didn’t want to stress, as the date approached, I became stressed. I was stressed about sending out the invitations, for one. We were inviting 40+ family members and friends (because we both have big families that live near us), and oh how I HATE gathering addresses. It’s the reason I barely send out Thank You cards until 6 months later after an event, or “forget” about Christmas cards.
Friends, I love snail mail when it comes to my own mailbox, but I still can’t wrap my mind around adding the slow practice of addressing envelopes to my already full day. Does that make me a bad minimalist? A good one? A bad mom? A bad party planner, surely.
Either way…Nick and I talked it out, and we ended up texting the invitations. We just texted out the image that I hand lettered using my Ipad. It was his idea, and it worked perfectly! Sorry to all the snail mail lovers out there, but if party planning is overwhelming you, this is a good place to simplify.
As the party neared, I did find myself on Pinterest for inspiration (mistake? maybe). But I didn’t get roped in. Instead, here was how I kept the decor simple but till sweet and beautiful, and on the cheap:
-A few tassle garlands we had left over from my baby shower.
-This party decor kit from Amazon with a ton of pompoms (I used like 5, but my younger cousins had a blast making the rest of them)
-A “month” photo garland from Target that I found last minute. Ended up being my favorite part of the decor. I can’t find a link to it online- sorry!
-Some peach table cloths for outside
-Baby’s breath in mason jars we already had
-Peaches! Edible decorations that we used for lunches and snacks the rest of the week.
-A few balloons, of course.
–White plates (because anything else felt too expensive) and white and gold napkins all from Target.
I wanted simple and pretty party decor. It brings me joy to have simple but cute decorations in my home daily and for a themed party, so I simplified it as much as possible, and didn’t spend much time or money on it at all.
Not much to say here, other than I wanted to find a sweet first birthday outfit for Gemma that went with the theme and that wasn’t going to break the bank (because most that I saw were 70-100+ dollars for one day of wear). Gemma has too many clothes already for me to justify spending a bunch of money on one dress, so I found one on clearance at Target that was the perfect peachy color and super sweet.
These photos were taken by my brother before the party. I love how simple and playful they are.
The Food/ Drinks
We also kept this super simple and didn’t cook any of it ourselves! I’m all for that life. I’m not the greatest cook and I’m not cooking for 40 people. My mom did make some of it because she’s wonderful. And we also had other family bring a ton of food, which we didn’t expect, but it was super helpful! If you have a small budget or want to simplify even further, asking family to bring food is always a great way to do this! Here’s what our food list looked like:
-Sandwich sliders from Walmart (so good!)
-Chicken from a local store that has great fried chicken!
-Buffalo Chicken Dip (made by mom)
-Meatballs (made by mom)
-Veggie tray (made by nana)
-Other food that family unexpectedly brought!
-Cute cakes from a local cake baker that is super inexpensive and delicious
-Beer! (it was Steeler’s Game Day after all)
-Peach sangria recipe from Pinterest
-Peach iced tea
We tried to plan it right for Gemma’s naptime, and it worked out perfectly. It also happened to coordinate perfectly with the Steeler’s Game, too!
As all of our family and friends arrived, we ate and the party was mostly taken outside because of space reasons. Food and decor was set up in the house and there were plenty of tables and chairs that we borrowed from family outside. There was also a TV set out outside thanks to my brother (because the party basically consisted of the game and Gemma eating cake at halftime!)
During halftime, Gemma cake smashed and loved the cake a little too much, got her first sugar rush (and hopefully last for a while), and opened presents/ played for hours as everyone went back to the game (or watched Gemma play).
It was such a fun time to celebrate Gemma with family and friends, and I’m so glad we made it work to host so many people in (or outside of) our small little home!
I have to say, my family did so much of the work, and my mom should probably go into professional party planning.
Either way, I think we succeeded in keeping it simple, not spending a ton of money, and not going overboard, but celebrating our sweet little girl in the sweetest way.
Here’s our podcast episode where we talk a little bit about this party, Kid’s Birthdays, and Gift receiving and giving as minimalists.
If you’re throwing a first birthday party soon, I hope this helps! If not, share it with a friend you know who may be hosting a first birthday soon!