How to Celebrate Your Baby’s 1st Birthday Without Breaking the Bank

Your baby’s first birthday is a big milestone and a moment that you will want to treasure. However, there is a trend to celebrate 1st birthdays with big parties, smash cakes, and lots of friends in attendance. 

The truth is, the first birthday is more for the parents than the child, and children will never remember the festivities when they are older. Although it is fun to take pictures of your 1-year-old surrounded by balloons, with lots of presents and a big cake, they aren't going to remember it, and you can make beautiful memories without going overboard. 

In this post, we will give you some tips on how to celebrate a 1st birthday on a budget, giving you present ideas that will last and party tips that won't break the bank. 

Limit the guest list

Keep party attendees to close family only, and resist the urge to invite nursery friends or babies of a similar age. For my daughter's first birthday, we only invited immediate family which included grandparents, aunts, and uncles. This made it easier to plan and prepare for and meant the focus was on the birthday girl. 


Babies love bubbles and they look great in photos. Hand out bubble wands to guests and encourage them to blow bubbles through the party to entertain little guests and the birthday guest of honour. 

Decorate their highchair 

You don't have to go overboard with the decorations. Instead, think about where you might want to take photos. If you want to serve their birthday cake in their highchair, then decorate their highchair with a paper garland or balloons. 

Print out their baby photos

Add a personal touch to decorations by printing out pictures of your baby’s first year, such as the month-by-month photo milestones, or create a slideshow to play during the party. Your baby will love seeing themselves in print or up on a screen. 

Cupcakes vs Cake 

If the thought of a large cake is too much, consider having cupcakes instead. They are easy to make or you can buy premade ones and serve these instead of cake. They will be the right amount of cake for your baby to enjoy and will look cute with a single candle for your baby to blow out

Colour-theme the party 

If you are looking for a cheap way to have a themed party, consider a colour theme. You can choose to keep everything to one colour or embrace a rainbow scheme. Ask guests to dress in a single colour and arrange the food and decorations by colour or into a rainbow. It's an inexpensive and easy way to have a theme without too much planning or preparation.

Throw a disco 

All babies love music and the opportunity to move, so incorporate this into the party by throwing a disco. Why not bring out your Christmas lights or find a disco ball secondhand, line up some dance tunes, and get your party guests grooving. 

Put on a play

Make your baby’s favourite book or story into a play for a beautiful party activity. Act out their favourite book, and encourage guests to get involved to bring the story alive. Your little one will love it and it will make for a wonderful memory for you and your guests. 

Present ideas that will last

It can be tricky buying for a 1-year-old as they are in between being a baby and a toddler. So choose a present that they already have a connection to, this could be a character from their favourite book or an activity they like doing. Activity-related toys such as building blocks and push-along trucks, prams, or cars will all be popular with 1-year-olds and will keep their interest well into toddlerhood.

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