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Planning a First Birthday

Planning a First Birthday 

Dr. Michael Horn, Jillian Horn, Chicago blogger




When it comes to the first birthday lets be honest, its all for the parents. These little guys will have no memories or care in the world when it comes to their first birthday but we do them big anyways. I sat and thought about it for a while, around when Grey was 9 months. I could be sensible and do a nice little family BBQ at the house or I could do a large event and invite friends and family galore. Obviously, I choose not to be sensible because why start now?

When it comes to ‘the big first birthday’ there are a few key things to get figured out first and foremost. Theme is number one. Once you have a theme you can go wild from there. I will say I thought the girl themes were cuter (unicorns and tea parties ect) but I came up with a little list of ‘boy themes’ that I am willing to share! I had 4 that I was trying to pick from and ultimately went with the one I chose due to the location we ended up having the party at. My options were:

1. O’Fish’ally ONE

2. Donut Grow Up

3. Wild One

4. Beach Bash. We ended up going with option 4 as the party was hosted at “Beach House Social” in Chicago. I also want to take a quick moment to thank the staff at The Beach House Social. Everything turned out exactly like I had imagined and the food was AMAZING! Big thank you!

After you have your theme comes the fun part… invitations and decorations. All four of the options I was considering had a TON of cute choices as far as outfits and little knick knacks. A lot of my inspiration comes from Etsy but sometimes I think of something clever on my own. Sometimes. I made my own invitations through Shutterfly and am personally very pleased (photo listed below). I also had Jodi Koplin come and preform for the kiddos at the party. If you live in the area I HIGHLY recommend! All of the kids, especially Grey and a few adults, were completely mesmerized and loved every minute.

After you have the invites, the cute outfit, the fun decorations, and the take home goodies for the kids who attended (I did cookies from Sweet Mandy B’s and bubbles) you are ready for the next step… THE CAKE. I researched high and low and cannot say enough amazing things about the company I ended up going with. It was the first time I ordered from them and they not only NAILED the cake design but the flavor was amazing and they were beyond easy to communicate and work with! Since it was a two tier cake I did one cake with real strawberry filling and the other with chocolate buttercream. I will list all the vendors and stores below =)

The final step necessary for planning a party like this…? A partner like Michael. I was SHOCKED when I walked up and saw ALPACAS waiting outside for us. He not only had two alpacas but a custom painting made of alpacas surfing to go with the ‘beach bash’ theme. Once we got inside he had floral arrangements everywhere along with a custom ‘number one’ made out of flowers. He also hired a magician (WHO IS AMAZING) to circulate and entertain the guests. How he manages to do these things every time I will never know. ALPACAS! I’m not sure if I express it enough so this is my declaration to the world… THANK YOU MICHAEL ALAN HORN- for all that you do for this family of ours. Lucky to have you is a understatement.

Some TIPS:

  1. At the end of the day its their first birthday- go small with just family or gather the town. Whichever works for you. There is no wrong way to celebrate the big day.
  2. Okay, this sounds ridiculous but we did a couple practice smash cakes. I wanted him to get use to the song, the candle, the smashing ect… so that the day of he wouldn’t be overwhelmed.
  3. We did not open gifts there. Its a lot of stimuli for my little guy so I didn’t want to tempt fate and try to add more to that.
  4. I did the timing that best worked for HIM. I went smack dab during a time when he was fed, well rested and ready to party.
  5. I made a book online of pictures of his first year to everyone sign at the party. (I forgot it at home but its the thought).
  6. Enjoy the moment. I get so flustered that sometimes I forget to take it all in. All these people are in this one room because my little guys is so loved. Let that feeling soak in.


Invites and Book

Specialty Cake

Cookies and Cupcakes

“1” Banner for High Chair

First Birthday Chalk Board

Musical Entertainment

I made the number one of photos. I for some reason always think I am artsy and attempt these things. However, I was actually pleasantly surprised with how well it turned out! I started by just laying out the photos, on a foam poster from Walgreens, in the shape of a giant one. I ordered 4×4 size pictures from Shutterfly so they were easier to work with in a small space. Then I glued down the photos and used a x-acto knife to cut out the remaining foam board (the black parts). Then I was left with a awesome collage in the shape of a ONE! Semi step by step photos below.

Dr. Michael Horn, Chicago Blogger

Dr. Michael Horn




  1. Leslie Marsh
    August 23, 2018 / 4:57 pm

    Happy 1st Grey! You have some cute kids in your family 🙂

  2. Leslie Marsh
    August 23, 2018 / 5:02 pm

    Omg the ‘practice’ smash cake idea is genius! Wish we would have done that!

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