With all of the (super hectic) planning that goes into orchestrating baby’s first birthday, it is beyond easy to throw manners to the wayside and just hope to have a Pinterest-perfect day. Despite the rumors, adhering to baby’s first birthday etiquette is both simple and satisfying for everybody involved. Here are my top 4 tips to remember when planning the festivities.
1. How Inviting!
Invitations and announcements will be your best friend and first foyer into the birthday-protocol realm. Do you want guests to bring gifts? If you don’t, but have an alternative (such as a charitable donation that can be made in lieu of a present) say so on the invites. Besides the event date, time (I’d suggest 2-3 hours max), RSVP-by date and gift situation, make sure to list any other pertinent information (like bring a swimsuit!).
Do you have long distance family/friends that you know won’t be able to attend? I suggest sending them an announcement (Look who’s turning 1!) rather than a formal invite. This way, they don’t feel 1) guilty for not being able to attend and 2) like you are trying to sucker a gift out of them (if, by chance, you are accepting presents). This leads me to my second tip…
2. The Present Situation
If guests take the time to pick out, purchase, and wrap a gift for your baby’s special day—open it in front of them! It’s a given that the little ones won’t know what’s going on, but the adults that brought the presents sure do. This will give you an opportunity to issue a verbal thank you while offering the giving-parties the chance to see your (favorable—of course) reaction. Make sure to allow for ample time and room to do this; otherwise, don’t accept gifts.
3. May the Odds be Ever in your Favor(s)
Favors are the golden standard at every celebration from weddings to baby showers. Your little one’s first birthday is no exception; guest favors must make an appearance. Fortunately, there are plenty of options to accommodate any budget. Sacks with homemade cookies, crayons and coloring books, and more nifty ideas (like these ones here) are all perfectly acceptable ways to give your guests a special thank you. Have fun with favors by incorporating them into your theme (if you have one) and make sure to make a couple extra!
4. What do you say?
A verbal thank-you is not sufficient; it is imperative that you take the time to write a thoughtful thank-you note. Designate somebody at your baby’s big day to keep track of gifts (who it’s from and what it is) so that nothing gets lost in the moment. This is a common courtesy that, unfortunately, isn’t always very common. Leading by example is a fantastic way to perpetuate this form of gratitude, and as your baby grows, don’t hesitate to incorporate them into the process until they (one day) will do them all on their own.
Though these steps seem simple (and easy to gloss over) they will make a positive impact on your guests, and pave the way for your up-and-coming future generations.
Gwendy Taylor is a first-time mom discovering that no matter how many times she double checks the diaper bag, she always forgets something important. When she’s not trying out the latest homemade baby food recipes, you can find her writing about family life.