How to Plan an Affordable First Birthday Party


Does first birthday party planning have you overwhelmed?

Mama, me too! Celebrating your baby’s first birthday is an exciting day for parents and babies alike. It’s a wonderful way to reflect on the first year and the milestones your baby has met, as well as a way to remember that very special day when the baby came into your life. And, before you know it, first birthday parties can get elaborate and out of control with costs. Between an expansive guest list, designer cakes, and Pinterest-worthy decorations, some parents can see parties costing upwards of $1000. Here are a few tips to make the party affordable and simple!

Yep . . . twins. Double whammy on the birthday pressure

Tips for an Affordable First Birthday Party

1. Party food potluck

Chances are, your baby has a ton of toys already. So, why not ask guests to bring a dish to share instead of a gift for the baby? Gifts for one-year-olds are wonderful, but often not essential and repurposing the effort into a meal item keeps the clutter down, saves you time, and makes the party more laid back and enjoyable tor everyone

2. Multi-use birthday decorations

Save money on decorations that just get thrown out by using pictures from the baby’s first year. Guests love to see your baby’s growth! String up pictures on affordable twine using clothespins or binder clips you already have around the house.
Planning An Affordable First Birthday Party | DMMB

3. Simple sweets and treats

No need to secure a fancy, tiered cake for baby’s big day. Look for a simple round or sheet cake from a local bakery or grocery store and consider a cupcake for baby’s smash cake. Or, make mini cupcakes for everyone!

4. Practical paper goods

Skip the cutesy plates, napkins, and tablecloths and find simple white or solid-colored options at party stores, Amazon, or shops like Target. These solid colors still brighten up your space but cost half the price of the birthday prints, and it’s much easier to use extras for another occasion. 

5. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Search mom’s boards and neighborhood community sites for others who have just celebrated their child’s birthday and buy used decorations for a fraction of the cost they would be new.

6. Birthday outfits

Instead of buying a first birthday outfit, consider a  birthday bib or hat for a smaller price. Worn over a solid t-shirt or onesie, bibs look no different than a cute birthday outfit. Also, your little one will be able to move in something more simple and you won’t be worried about spills.  Skip specialty shops and find cute birthday gear on Amazon. These felt party hats were under $8 on Amazon and similar ones were over $20 on Etsy.
felt hat7. Passing on party favors

Nobody needs party favors. In general, I’m against them because they’re usually not something you really want laying around your house unless they are a useful item you might otherwise buy. So skip for the first birthday and save them for when kids are school-aged. Most parents with little ones will appreciate not taking home more clutter anyway!

What are your tips for planning an affordable first birthday party? 

Looking for more ideas for first birthday parties? Check this out!

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Katie is a Denver transplant from Chicago (go Cubs!) and a working mom to twins William and Amelia. She moved to Denver in 2003 and hasn’t looked back since, but the weather and mountains play a big part in that. Katie married her husband, Peter, in 2011 and welcomed two little dogs into the mix a few years before the kiddos came. When not working or juggling two babies, Katie loves to cook gluten-free treats and other delicious recipes including homemade baby food and dog treats. A former middle school teacher, Katie works in K-12 publishing and professional development and is passionate about education. Katie and her husband love checking out new restaurants, doing house projects, binge-watching shows on Netflix, and taking their clan out for neighborhood walks and hikes.


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