Your baby's 1st birthday party is a really big deal, specially for baby #1, and you know what, even for baby #2; and since I don't have a #3 I can't really say, but for me the novelty of it or how special it was, hadn't worn off. Last weekend Sebastien turned 1 and I wanted to make as big a deal about it. In some respects I made an even bigger deal because this time around I myself had not only experienced doing it once before for Isabelle, but had also been a guest at several parties in the last 2 years and learnt a lot of tips.
So do you throw a party for the kids or for the grown-ups? I think it depends on who you know. If you're lucky enough to have had your baby at the same time as your friends, then it's a no brainier. If you were lucky enough to meet lots of mothers at your antenatal classes, managed to stay in touch, started a play group together, or went to lots of activities during the week with other mums....then it's also pretty easy. BUT if you live in HK and found that usually helpers go to the play dates or activities (ie no mums there to meet) or if you work like me, then really the party is pretty much about the adults, as you may not know any other kids the same age.
I decided to invite about 12-15 of my good friends. Of course they come with other halves and with their kids. The difficulty in this approach is that now you have several different audiences to keep happy. The adults and then kids who are of a wider age range than if you had just 1 yr olds. I was dealing with 5mth through to 6yrs. So I decided to split them (and my apartment) into 3 groups/ares. The balcony and the living room area near it for the adults, the main living room/ dining room area for the 0-3 and the outdoor playground grass area for the 3-6 (sounding a bit Montessori I know!).
I removed most of the furniture in my livingroom/dining room and covered the wooden floor with play mats. I lined up lots of toys around the edges and when the toddlers arrived they were all distracted by something different. I had a little table with books and colouring for the older kids and even a soft padded area and playpen for the babies.
For the 0-3 I called on Kindermusik by Catherine
They were great. They sent a lovely lady over (Chinese but raised in Scotland) with a lound fun voice. She gathered the babies and toddlers in a cirlce and sang songs, played music instruments, blew bubbles and played with a parachute. They LOVED it.
For the 3-6 I called on JOSE the magician
He was really good and the adults even got into it. They were outside in the playground on the grass with picnic blankets laid out for them.
RELISH did the food and wine (aminly for the adults but for the kids too) and they really are fantastic, the quality of canapes and salads is great; they come along with waitors and a chef that assembles everything on site. It was so smoothly and seamlessly done.
and of course the MIKEY MOUSE cake and cupcakes - thank you to Complete Deelite who I have used for a few years now, they do fantastic cakes and cupcakes, their 3D ones are really very well done!
For the invites I always use Progressive Press. Steve and Bonnie there are brilliant, they took care of EVERYTHING for my weddings (invites, table names, table menus, church programs you name it). I've used them since for the kids Christenings and birthdays. They always do a really professional job
For the going away gifts (as well as themed paper cups and plates) I like to use Toys Club on Duddell Street (13th floor I think in Baskerville House). They have a special section for going home gifts.
Complete Deelite did the helium filled ballons (life size Mikey plus lots of normal ones too)
All in all it took a fair bit of planning - whilst also working - but everyone, specially the kids had a fantastic time. AND MY SON IS NOW ONE