Planning a first birthday for your own little one? Attending a first birthday party as a semi-enthusiastic guest and helpful cake-maker? You’ll want to read these stories before that wonderful 365th day.

1. Pick your timing wisely.

When planning a first birthday, you’re up against a few scheduling issues. Most young guests, the guest of honor included, have an early afternoon nap. Scheduling your party for noon or later might make you feel obligated to serve lunch, and your little guests are going to arrive hungry and tired. Here’s the magical workaround.


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2. Serve booze.

Some people might bristle at the suggestion of serving booze, saying alcohol has no place at a kids’ birthday party, and certainly not at one honoring such a young child. Others might point out that first birthday parties are usually a daytime affair, which isn’t the best time to roll out an open bar.

But we’d argue that there are plenty of reasons to offer adult beverages, not despite it being a first birthday, but because it’s a first birthday party.

3. Also serve cake.

In life, there should always be cake — even if it’s not someone’s birthday and especially if it is someone’s birthday. You don’t have to go all out (although you certainly can). Here’s how to start small.

Birthday Cake Intel

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4. Or, at the very least, serve something sweet.

Maybe you have a moral objection to cake? Or maybe you just don’t have time to bake and assemble a bunch of nine-inch rounds and frosting? When cake isn’t in the cards, there are still some sweet treats that will make your celebration special.

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5. Decorate the dessert.

Don’t worry — we’re not going to suggest you buy a bunch of expensive toppers or add a ton of extra sugar to an already sweet treat. You can make a super-festive topper with just some pipe cleaners and a straw.

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6. Transport your cake safely.

You made a cake? Good for you! But now you have to transport it from your house to wherever this party is happening. Whether you’re in the market to invest in an actual cake carrier or you’d prefer to get by with a temporary hack, we’ve got you covered.

Cake Carrier Intel

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  • An Ingenious Bonus Use for Your Salad Spinner

7. Gear up with the right supplies.

You certainly don’t have to spend a ton of money or effort on decorations or presents for a first birthday. Of course, you always can. That said, here are some stories that can help.

Party Supply Central

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  • 15 Crave-Worthy Cake Stands for a Birthday Cake
  • 5 Cute Party Banners You Can Actually Make

8. Get inspired by one of these impressive parties.

There’s tons of inspiration on Pinterest to help you plan themes and decorations for a first birthday. Here are some of our favorites.

4 Birthday Party Ideas

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  • A Transportation-Themed Party That Everyone Will Wanna Go To
  • Check Out This Fairytale-Inspired First Birthday Fête
  • A Sweet First Birthday Party That’s Not Just For the Birds

9. If all else fails, try this simple trick.

Okay, so you ran out of time. You forgot to order those cute plates online and you never even decided between a superhero party or a cowgirl theme. Oh well! Seriously, don’t beat yourself up over it. (The baby isn’t going to remember anyway!) All you need for a successful birthday party? These three things.