Tips for Hosting a Smashing 1st Birthday Party Online

Tips for Hosting a Smashing 1st Birthday Party Online

Burcu Kaya Walschot

A first birthday party is a milestone for you just as much as it is for your baby, so the decision to host a party (or not) is about what’s going to make you feel good right now. 

If having the celebration online on the day of your child’s birth is going to feel good, go for it! If you’d rather wait until it’s safe to gather in-person with your friends and family, that’s a valid choice too.

If you do decide to host an online first birthday party for your baby, here are some tips for making your bash a success. 

Decide on the guest list

Like any gathering, deciding who should be invited will help you figure out the remaining details. 

Do you want just family to attend? Is your mothers’ group going to participate? Should your friends get on the line too? It’s your call for who is invited.

And, just remember that keeping the size limited can help cut down on cross-talk, lagging video, and other congestion during your video call party. 

Pick a day & time

Even though so many of us are home 24/7 right now, that doesn’t mean you should assume everyone will be able to attend a party at the last-minute. 

If you want to host the party on your baby’s day of birth, you can. You can also pick a weekend day close to the birthday. 

You want to consider your baby’s routine when scheduling the time, too. For example, if you want your child present, try to avoid scheduling near naptime. While babies don’t always follow their schedule, considering your usual routine can help avoid your child dozing off when it’s party time. 

Choose a platform

Depending on the size of your party, you may consider different options. GoogleHangouts allows up to 25 people on a video call, while Zoom accommodates up to 100 video callers for up to 40 minutes.

Send your invitations

Paperless Post, Evite, and Greenvelope have beautiful online invitations (both free and paid). 

You may also choose to create a Facebook event to ask people to participate. This can be a great option if you’re planning on sharing photos of your baby with the group. 

Whichever method you choose, just make sure to send your invitations at least two weeks before the party. 

And, for a little extra fun, feel free to include a dress code. Why not make it a black tie affair? Or ask guests to come dressed as their favorite cartoon character? Get creative! 

Get decorating

Just because you’re at home, doesn’t mean you have to skip the decorations. 

Balloons and streamers can make a fun backdrop for your video chat. Banners, garlands, tassels, pom-poms on a string — let your imagination run wild!

Whether you buy or DIY, decorating your environment brings the party vibes to your video call. 

Want a more high-tech option? Adding a digital background can be just as fun (and silly) as physical decorations. Invite your guests to get creative with their backgrounds, too!

Party time!

On the day of the party, get your video setup ready a few minutes before your guests log on. 

What you do during the party is up to you. Having a few conversation starters in your back pocket can be a way to help people who don’t know each other warm up. 

Some of our favorites include: 

  • What’s your favorite memory from [your baby’s name]’s first year? 
  • What do you remember about the day I told you I was pregnant with [your baby name]?
  • When do you think [baby’s name] will start walking? 
  • What do you wish you’d known about having a one-year-old? What’s different in year two? 

Once your guests have logged on, your conversation should start flowing. But, if things slow down, feel free to throw a question out to the group.

Looking for a little more activity than chit chat? Bust a move with a dance party or let loose with some karaoke.  

And, of course, a cake smash by the guest of honor is the perfect cap to the festivities! If you’re able to bake or buy a cake, it’s a treat to watch a little one dive head-first into the frosting. 

Wrap it up and say thank you

As you wind down the festivities at the appointed hour, make sure to thank guests for attending the same way you would have if you’d hosted them IRL. 

It takes time and energy to be present in an online space, so being gracious shows your appreciation for your guests. 

And, if anyone has sent any gifts for your little one, be sure to mail a thank-you card.

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