One of the most fun things about first birthday parties is that mom usually gets to pick the theme! Your one year old usually isn't too attached to a character or show yet, and her strong opinions haven't evolved to the point where she will refuse to show for her own party if it isn't a Frozen wonderland. I chose a Paris themed birthday party because Paris is everything that little girl's dreams are made of: fabulous fashion, delicious desserts and all things sparkly! Charlotte Cake for a Paris Birthday Party

I find that a theme makes planning a party easier rather than more difficult. Many decisions are made for you- what type of food? Parisian! What type of decorations? Paris-inspired, as girly as possible. With the help of Pinterest, you can come up with some innovative party ideas that will WOW your guests.

Decor

For Charlotte's party, I took it easy on the decorations. My suggestion, after picking a theme, is to pick 2-3 colors for the party. I chose black & shades of pink to pull the decor together with silver as the accent color.  I found an 12 foot long banner that hung across the kitchen ceiling with metallic snowflakes that dangled from it to simulate snow. It was $3.99 at Savers and I can use re-use it for other winter parties! I ordered pink pompoms from Amazon.com to string at various levels from our kitchen light fixture so they hung above the dessert table.

Party Decor- Pink Pom Poms for a Paris Party

I also had pink cardboard Paris-themed mini suitcases that I scattered around as well. As for cups, plates and napkins, I picked all of mine up from the Dollar Store in different shades of pink. Another option would be to grab plain white napkins and use an Eiffel Tower stamp to add a simple image to each. There are so many items on Amazon.com to choose from- simply enter "Paris Birthday Party Supplies" and over 400 results pop up! I also LOVE to announce a party with a sign on the front door- it gets the guests in the mood. This one is from SIMONEmadeit.com and was included with the invites:

Paris Party Sign

Invitations

I usually don't plan far enough ahead to order personalized, printed invitations to anything. I can usually pull something together in Illustrator and print it out on card stock, but found something even easier this year. I headed to SIMONEmadeit.com to search for an easy printable template for Charlotte's invitation and was AMAZED at the selection and professional quality. I easily found the perfect invite template, which was included in a package with a ton of other printables (think cupcake toppers/wrappers, pennant banner, menu and more). I printed the invites out on plain paper and affixed them to card stock, punching holes in the corner with my Martha  Stewart Craft Punch. I also added a little swipe of Vanilla Cupcake Scented Oil to the back- just to add to the sweetness of the party.

Food

When I plan a party, I have learned to keep the food as simple and low-maintenance  as possible. I prefer to assemble rather than cook, and to have one WOW factor item and the rest just good, simple, filling food. Warming trays are your best friend- they allow you to serve hot appetizers and not have to hit up the oven every 15 minutes as they disappear. I raided the Costco freezer section and grabbed mini quiche and assorted crostini. I usually like to have a meat and cheese platter- most guys at a party hover around this and it is always a crowd pleaser. Another favorite is meatballs- just get fancy with the sauce and cocktail picks!

For dessert, I created a sweets table as opposed to having a traditional birthday cake. I think it is often more fun to sample a little but of each delicious mini dessert as opposed to a heaping slice of cake. My dessert table consisted of macarons, a French cookie tower and croquembouche for the main attraction- a tower of chocolate-covered cream puffs and chocolate-dipped strawberries. I made a Charlotte cake for the birthday girl- I simply assembled two round cakes,  added homemade buttercream frosting with ladyfingers around the perimeter, and topped with fresh raspberries.

Paris Birthday Party Dessert Table

Assorted Macarons- Paris Birthday Party

Charlotte Cake- Paris Birthday Party

Activity

I didn't go the goodie bag route- I wanted some type of easy craft that the kids could take home instead. Luckily my mom was on hand to help since the craft involved GLITTER (yes, not the best item for toddlers and pre-schoolers). We made customizable snow globes, which the kids loved!

DIY Snow Globe- Birthday Activity

Here is what you need on hand:

Mason jars

Assorted glitter

Distilled water

Glycerine (optional, helps to get the glitter to fall slower)

Figurines (I used the ones that come with the Disney "My Busy Book" brand of books)

Glass glue (optional)

Directions:

If you plan on gluing the figurines into place, do this first. You can glue them to the bottom of the mason jar and let the glue dry for the recommended amount of time. (We decided to do away with the glue and just let the figurine float in the water- less of a chance that the kids might somehow glue their fingers together). Then, add colored glitter, a tablespoon or so of glycerine, and fill the jar to the top with distilled water. Try to fill it all the way full so there are barely any air bubbles. Screw the lid on tight and shake!

Charlotte had a fabulous birthday, and even received a Corolle doll to give lots of hugs and kisses to! These dolls are given to little girls on their first birthday in France, so it was a perfect present (of course her brother had to step in).

Corolle Doll- Paris First Birthday

Here are some party ideas to get you started! [show_lookbook_widget id="185912"]

What first birthday party themes have you enjoyed?

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