(Photo by Kelly Lorenz Imagery)
Planning a first birthday party felt like a lot of pressure. I had certainly done a good job of building it up in my mind. After all, we not only survived this first year of parenting, but also came out pretty nicely on the other side. But how should we celebrate? Who should we invite? A party so important in some ways, and so trivial in others, haunted my sleep. My OCD mind needed to be relieved. The only cure? A plan. . . and quickly!
I knew I wanted the event to be fun, kid-friendly, with a dash of fancy. My husband and I love little more than hosting a great group of people for a fun get-together, and we like to do it in style. And though my normal attire may be a cocktail dress, we did not want this birthday to feel “stuffy.” With a love for Paris, we decided to make it Parisian-themed, and with our daughter named Elle, the event was quickly nicknamed MadamoisELLE!
Though I love to throw fancy parties, I have always felt strongly about being able to do as much as I can myself. Being a stay-at-home-mom of one child, I am able to craft or bake when she’s asleep (along with doing laundry, dishes, the list could go on and on—am I right?). I was lucky enough to have my mom as my sous chef; we baked mini chocolate croissants and dozens of Madeleine cookies. She even made a beautiful strawberry birthday cake on top of which we put a silver Eiffel Tower.
For additional food, I went simple: finger sandwiches (peanut butter and jelly, cucumber and cream cheese, and plain grilled cheese), a platter of strawberries with Nutella yogurt dip (seriously, it’s just those two ingredients mixed together—could it be any easier?), store bought Pirouette cookies, and cheerios, puffs, and baby yogurt drops, all displayed in martini glasses (one of my favorite tricks to making any food look prettier).
(Photos by Kelly Lorenz Imagery)
Since there were to be a few one-year-olds and a couple of children a bit older, I decided to have one simple activity for the kids to do at any point during the party. I bought a roll of contact paper (found at any home improvement store), taped it sticky-side out to our wall, and stuck on a large Eiffel Tower decal we found online. The kids loved putting on and taking off squares of colored tissue paper. Success!
A simple “Bonjour” sign I made from scrapbook paper and printed letters hung above a beverage bar, and bagged Madeleine cookies tied with small stuffed pink poodles and stamped “Merci” tags waited for guests as they left the fête.
Our daughter was surrounded by family, some good friends from our pre-parenting days, and a few newer “Mom and Dad” friends with children with whom we have become close during our first year of parenthood. The party felt warm and inviting with that special flare I was looking for. After all, your child only has a first birthday once, so be sure to bid adieu to Year One with a style all your own!