I started planning his nautical-themed 1st birthday party well in advance. I felt like it was a big accomplishment, making it through the first year with my first child. My what a year! His first birthday party was as much for my son as my husband and I. I wanted a party both the adults and kiddies would enjoy, so scoured the web for great nautical 1st birthday party ideas. I hope my experience can help you with your party plans.
Invitations and Printables
We invited friends and family about a month in advance with customizable nautical invitations purchased on Etsy from youmakedo. The invitations are printable, or can be sent in an email, always a convenient alternative for those Facebook friends.
I also purchased the matching nautical party printables pack from youmakedo with straw toppers, drink labels, party banner, cupcake toppers and cutlery wraps.
Table decorations included several sailboats, a ship’s wheel and a life preserver, all available on Amazon.com. Other nautical items were picked up from a Zulily sale.
Nautical Party Food
I did a mix of store-bought food and homemade, trying to keep the emphasis on homemade and organic. The sandwiches were ordered from Fresh Market and they were delicious. I made a simple cheese plate, a spinach orzo salad and a big fresh fruit plate including strawberries, honeydew melon, blueberries, grapes and watermelon. A simple glass vase with whole wheat goldfish crackers sat on the table for snacking.
For treats, there were Jell-O cups filled with orange “boats”. I attempted to make and decorate sugar cookies in nautical shapes. It’s been a really long time since I used a piping bag so I wasn’t too happy about how they turned out. Still, they were cute and delicious (and good practice for next time!).
The cake was an organic chocolate cake with vanilla cooked flour butter cream. I swirled a tiny bit of blue food coloring into the icing and gave it some swirls with the back of a spoon to look like water. A dozen chocolate cupcakes filled out the dessert table, along with nautical lollipops purchased from Candy Warehouse.
The cake topper was handmade by Msapple on Etsy. She makes the adorable paper sailboats to order, in custom colors. I ordered two in different sizes, not knowing which one I would use for the cake. One came with a custom “1st Birthday” cake banner for the top of the cake.
The homemade cake was a bit of a disappointment (to me–the baby certainly didn’t care!). I waited until the morning of the party to make the frosting and ice the cake, which was a mistake. The frosting didn’t set up properly and ended up too soft and a little separated. It still tasted delicious!
I wasn’t able to get nearly enough photographs during the party, but I did make sure each baby and child was photographed so I could put together a little image to remember the day. An area was set up outdoors to photograph all of the little ones who came to the party. Since many of them were babies, it would be impossible to take a photo of them all together. Instead, I used my Photoshop skills to place them all in a paper boat. How cute is this?
Despite all of my planning, there are a few things I would improve on for the next birthday party. I hope you learn from my experience!
1st Birthday Party Tips:
- Assign someone as official photographer. You will be too busy to take pictures.
- Frost the cake the night before—or at least make the icing the night before. Don’t get caught frosting cupcakes when guests are arriving. Big mistake!
- If you want to get great photos, set up extra lights or plan to take some photos outside.
- Ask for help! The more helpers the better.