Baby’s First Birthday! Oh, the places you’ll go!

I still can’t believe it as I write this – One year, where did it go? Our baby girl Nysha is one year old, well actually 13 months old! Hey, all you moms can understand, sometimes we don’t get around to writing a post right on time.

When we first started talking about her milestone birthday, we knew it had to be a small intimate get together. But when we actually started planning, it was still intimate with a very close group of family and friends but not as small. I always wanted to do an outdoor party since my older one is a winter born and all his parties have been indoor. So in all my excitement and being an obsessive planner, I started putting in details for an outdoor backyard party. Made all rentals, reservations, wait staff, grill master, party entertainer and just a few days before the party, the weather forecast predicted not so good news. The day before the party, we were looking for a change in the venue, cancellations, re-booking, re-decorations, re-invitations, a lot of re-dos. I didn’t know until we arrived at the party how the venue looks like and where all my decorations would go in.

But here I am and super excited to share all the details of the day so be ready for tons of pics. And to start with a big thank you to Colleen Theresa Photography for the amazing work she did with the photographs. She captured all our special moments with our friends and family with tons and tons of beautiful pics. The best part is, she captured everyone at the party and it is so special when I share these memories with all of them. It was definitely very hard for me to narrow them down for this post 🙂

When picking up a birthday party theme, I was sure I am not going to do anything gender specific. We’d love our kids to have all the exposure in the world and not limit them to colors or themes based on gender and Dr. Seuss “Oh the places you’ll go” just fit in. I wanted to have a theme but at the same time not go overboard with it. Almost 90% of my decorations were ordered from Amazon and I am linking everything in this post.

  1. The Cake Table

One of my favorite things to do at any party is to create a fun cake and dessert table. I wanted to have a nice display of the sweet treats and yet not go overboard with things that are not edible. You want people at the party to enjoy the sweet goodness and not just have a beautiful display.

So first, a big shout out to IBake UCake which is owned by a very good friend. With her help I was able to pick the desserts I wanted on the cake table and she did such an amazing job with each one of them. The cake, cake pops, cupcakes and the cake jars were all delectable and each of the desserts had the details of “Oh the places you’ll go” theme and colors. Every little request I had was accommodated and creatively implemented. This was my favorite section at the party. You need a nice cake table for your party and half the job in decorations is done.

Based on what I was going to have on the cake table, I got a variety of displays and stands. For displaying the cake, I wanted to do something other than the regular cake stand and when I found a set of 3 colorful suitcases from Crate and Barrel, I knew that was it. For the cupcakes, I bought the carousel cupcake stand from Amazon and cake pops went on a cake stand with a cake pop stand on top of it. Cake jars went on the trays and I added some candy jars to finish my table desserts.

I absolutely love the mesh fluffy tutu table skirt for the cake table. It was just so perfect and added an extra element to the whole setup. I bought two of these from Amazon and it came with velcro and was super easy to stick on the table. I am definitely going to re-use it at so many other get-togethers. I might add some LED lights under the mesh next time.

Cake Stand: Bon Voyage Pink and Purple Decorative Suitcase Set, Cupcake Stand: Carousel Cupcake Stand, Cake Pop Stand: Bakelicious Cake pop stand

2. Decorations

It was a combination of B.U.Y and D.I.Y when it came to decorations. I love DIY and creating this first birthday chalkboard was the most fun, I wrote down her stats and some fun facts with chalk markers and then pasted her pics with glue dots from her first 52 weeks in number shape 1. It was so precious to look at each one of her pictures and refresh my memories. And now this chalkboard sits right in her nursery.

Chalkboard: here, Chalk markers: here

This 1 through 12-month photo banner was another fun and super easy DIY. I got the Martha Steward white/gold banner from Michaels and pasted all the pictures will the glue dots. And using the sticker letters in gold, labeled the banner to say “My 1st Birthday”.

Some hot air balloons had to be included in the theme so I bought a set paper lantern with LED lights and a pack of tiny baskets from Amazon and created the hot air balloons. Again, these were super easy to make. One other part of the decorations I made, were these boxes labeled “ONE”, I just wrapped a gift paper on the boxes and used the stick on letters from Michaels. The boxes finished the whole look for my cake table.

And I can’t tell you how obsessed I am with these wooden letters we decorated with artificial flowers. They were perfect on the table and now on the wall right above her crib.

Backdrop: I wanted to create a fun backdrop for the cake table that goes with my theme. I picked a hot air balloon photo backdrop from Amazon that we stick to the wall with thumb tags and then put the photo booth stand in front of it with white curtains. Some colorful balloons on the side and golden letter balloons (easy to inflate) with her name finished the whole setup.

3. Photo Booth

I definitely wanted a separate photo booth at the party for the pictures. And I just can’t thank enough our party entertainer Erin Stanchek from Magic Moments Event Planning and Party Hosting for that. She did such an amazing job with the balloon arch for the selfie station. It was just so gorgeous and a perfect spot for all the pictures with our friends and family. She made it all on the spot and totally created a perfect photo booth for our photo sessions.

4. Kids Entertainment

If you are ever looking for a kids entertainer for your party, I totally recommend Magic Moments Event Planning and Party Hosting. She came with the complete package. She had the kids entertained with everything one can think of – face painting, animal balloons, games, it was just so much fun for the kids and one of the main highlights of the party. She definitely made it very easy for the parents to just sit and relax and while kids are entertained and have fun.

5. Outfits

Coming to our dresses, her dress was from her aunt in India and I love how it is all white (I am obsessed with everything white) and has tutus. I got matching shoes and headband made from a shop on Etsy. I am obsessed with Etsy, literally. The shoes and headband were perfect to size and delivered right on time.

For myself, I wanted to wear something fun and two of the dresses I ordered online didn’t deliver on time. So a day before I made a run to Nordstrom and found this beautiful front bow strapless midi dress. I’d been wanting to wear a front bow dress forever and when I saw this, it was love at first sight. Perfect fit and flare dress and was so much fun, an English prep vibe with a modern twist.

6. Smash Cake

I had planned her cake smash a week before the party so it doesn’t get a lot for her on the day of the party. The two main things I had to pick up for her smash cake were her outfit and the cake and all the rest was taken care of byColleen Theresa Photography. I wanted to stick to the hot air balloon theme for the smash cake and not do any pinks or blues and so peach was the perfect option. Colleen did an amazing job with the backdrop, decorations and the hot air balloon basket for the session.

I picked her dress from ETSY shop. The dress was delivered right on time (even though I ordered on a short notice) and per requirements. The only change I had to make was, I realized it was a tube/ off shoulder dress and so ended up customizing it and added straps using one of her white headbands. The ombre cake was ordered from Whole Foods and they did a great job and the price is unbelievable (under $25)

She had never had any dessert or cake prior to this so I was super excited to see her reaction. The funniest part of the whole smash cake was that Nysha did not want to touch the cake at all, forget smashing. We ended up putting some of the cake on her hands and face but she was this dainty doll who did not want to get messy at all. In the end, it really didn’t matter if she smashed the cake or not, we were able to get some good pictures of her taking tiny little bites of the cake but this little missy did not touch the cake.

Some tips for Smash cake:

  1. Think about the theme and what you want your kid to wear. I had options between rompers or tutus and picked a tutu dress I ordered from ETSY (same dress)
  2. Avoid fondant, as it’s too hard for kids to break into! Buttercream icing – or even whipped cream – is the best
  3. Don’t keep the cake in the fridge beforehand, as it can make them too hard for kids to break up
  4. Schedule the session based on her nap time
  5. Be ready to clean up the baby afterward, face wipes (no alcohol wipes), paper towels or a bath
  6. I used a colored icing cake and realized after the session Nysha got a reaction from the dyes so be prepared with Benadryl if using colored cake

In the end, doesn’t matter if it was a backyard party or small cozy restaurant space or if I couldn’t hang up all my hot air balloon decorations, haha I honestly wouldn’t change a thing about the day. Big or small it is so much fun to celebrate your kids first birthday. Even though they are very small to understand anything, it is so priceless to see all the reactions and attention they get on their special day. And what fun to look back at all the pictures. I am so grateful to all our close family and friends, every single one of them was there with us to celebrate our special day, our one big special year and our little doll.

Hope you enjoyed reading this. Thanks for stopping by! With love…


To shop this look:

Dress: Women’s 1901 Bow Bodice Strapless Midi Dress

Sandals: INC Women’s Gabbye Two-Piece Sandals


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