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REAL PARTIES: One Year Old in a Flash Birthday Party

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creative first birthday party ideas

This “One Year Old in a Flash” birthday party by Stacey from Elle Belle Blog is just WAY too cute and creative – starting with the concept alone! The party is centered around featuring and capturing fun memories…GENIUS!

And from clever invitations and a fabulous dessert table to fun photo booth props like paper mustaches and chalkboard word bubbles on sticks – these memories were definitely captured in style!

creative first birthday party ideas

creative first birthday party ideas

Read on for lots more pics and all the party details, as told by Stacey

Every parent says it… they grow up so fast! In just a year’s time, they go from snuggling and sleeping most of the day to toddling around the house, laughing, and calling out for ‘Ma Ma Ma.’ The bittersweet thoughts about our last baby’s first birthday & the desire to capture this fun time in my little one’s life inspired the theme for Liv’s party: One Year Old in a Flash.

creative first birthday party ideas

Invitations are one of the best parts of party planning! They set the tone & get people excited about being a part of the celebration. Ginger of Beyond Design always delivers way beyond my expectations! I told her the party’s color palette, that it would be centered around photos, asked her to make the invites casual & fun, and I couldn’t be happier with the invitation & two inserts she designed!

She made some really fun graphics we ended up using for other aspects of the party too, incorporated photos of Liv on the ‘film strip‘ band that went around the invite, and even put a little frame on the envelope for the photo stamps I ordered.

creative first birthday party ideas

The first invitation insert told the guests we would be making a time capsule for Liv to open on her 18th birthday. Contributing to a time capsule is a great way out of town guests who can’t attend the party can join in the celebration, and the perfect opportunity to give a meaningful gift before they’re old enough to start asking for the latest Dora toy :)

The second insert let everyone know there would be a photographer at the party to take pictures of them and their family…

creative first birthday party ideas

I was really excited about this photo aspect of the party… first birthdays are difficult to plan because although they’re in celebration of a one year old, it’s really mostly for the adults. Mini photo sessions were a fun way to keep all the guests entertained… and who doesn’t need a family picture?!

creative first birthday party ideas

This is probably the best time to mention that all the pictures below were taken by the very talented Dawn of Elemental Image. She arrived early to the party to take pictures of the decor, mingled with the guests to get candid shots, did personal photo sessions with each of the families, took all the ‘must have’ shots – blowing out the candles, opening gifts etc. – and put together a slide show of the edited images. She worked hard, got some amazing photos, and out guests raved about her!

creative first birthday party ideas

This is the first time I’ve hired a professional photographer for a party and I’m so glad I did! It was really nice to not have to worry about grabbing the camera at just the right moment; I knew she was getting great shots of all the important things, so I was able to just enjoy the party and our guests without having to be host AND photographer.

Figuring out what food to serve is my least favorite part of planning a party. BUT, I’ve found a way to make it fun for me… dessert tables!

creative first birthday party ideas

You know the amazing Amy Atlas right? Well, I don’t mean personally… unless you’re Martha or Oprah or Kelly Ripa… I mean you’ve seen her incredible work right? She designs and brings beautiful dessert tables to life. I drool over her blog on a regular basis and incorporated some of her ideas into the dessert table I put together.

creative first birthday party ideas

There’s quite a bit to cover with this table, from the backdrop, the food, the serving dishes, the printed pieces, etc, so I’ll just give you the basics…

I made the easy stuff: marshmallows, chocolate dipped Oreos, & white chocolate coated popcorn. I ordered the most adorable rose flavored mini macarons from Sparkles Kitchen. A local bakery made the white cupcakes with pink frosting, and the Hershey’s Raspberry Bliss wrappers were just the right color.

creative first birthday party ideas

creative first birthday party ideas

Neat rows of water bottles with custom labels, (by Beyond Designs), filled out the table.

creative first birthday party ideas

We didn’t just have desserts though… I also served fruit kabobs, deli wraps, and hummus with pitas. And lemonade… just because I love that serving jug!

Next to the food, I set up a little station for the Time Capsule. It had the time capsule box itself, some stationary I printed using the really remarkable Ink Bloom product, & some pens so that people could write a little note to include in the time capsule if they had forgotten to bring one to the party, as well as a little card with some suggestions about what type of things you may want to include in your note (i.e. predictions about the future, advise you would share with an 18yr old etc).

creative first birthday party ideas

Also in this area was the embroidered name blocks made by Childmade. You can’t see them in this picture, but there are wire picture holders attached to the top of the blocks which held 3 5×7 pictures of the birthday girl.

The décor for the party was pretty simple. The Cottage Market made 12 glittery clothes pins for me in the colors of the party and included some twine which I strung between two 3M hooks along the stairway. A picture from each month made for a sweet banner & a really neat way to see how much Liv had grown over the year!

creative first birthday party ideas

I also decorated with 17” round balloons… I loved the impact those big balloons made, but it took some work to find them! After lots of research and calling all the wrong places, I finally found Rick at Balloon Productions. He not only does awesome large scale productions, he also supplies the local car lots with… you guessed it, 17” round balloons! He was so nice and humored me my request for just the right shades of pink and teal balloons.

A 6’ kids table was covered with a roll of white paper, and I set crayons out so that the kiddos could draw a picture to include in the time capsule. This also doubled as a good spot for them to eat.

The last little bit of decoration was to the birthday girl’s highchair. I made this little banner at the (certainly by now famous) scrapbook shop, Whim-So-Doodle. They have a workroom at the back of the shop where you can use their die cut machine and punches. I saved a lot of money on this little project by using their tools.  They even had that adorable ribbon for sale by the yard. It all cost me less than $7!

creative first birthday party ideas

Also pictured above is Liv’s cake eating garb, the party hat & bib I made from one of those reusable shopping bags they sell for a buck at TJ Maxx (more details to come) and the too cute for words ruffle butts Sherbet Baby made.

I can’t decide if the dessert table or the photo sessions/props were my favorite part of this party! I set up a space for the photo sessions that was out of the way of the rest of the party.

To create the backdrop, I rented a pipe frame (it’s the pipe from the ‘pipe and drape’ that rental companies rent for use in creating walls/dividers in convention centers) and draped two lengths of white paper from a roll over it down to the floor. You can find the roll of paper at office supply stores; it’s what teachers use to cover those big bulletin boards they decorate for their classrooms.

creative first birthday party ideas

I had almost as much fun making the props as everyone did playing with them! We had moustaches & mouths on sticks, chalkboard thought bubbles, empty picture frames & umbrellas. (In the collage above, guess who’s mommy is pregnant with a BOY?!)

creative first birthday party ideas

Just about half the guests were adults and the other half children, so two favors were in order. The kids took home a moustache or mouth on a stick with a favor tag Beyond Designs made that said ‘Thanks for a picture perfect first birthday – Liv.’

For the parents, the tag was a mini Polaroid with the details for ordering a 5×7 print from their photo session on the Elemental Image website. I decorated little binder clips with stickers and ribbon to serve as picture holders.

creative first birthday party ideas

That’s all the highlights from Liv’s first birthday party… by this point, I would definitely be getting the ‘wrap it up’ sign from off stage as they try to play me off the stage with the music.  So this is me leaning into the mic as it disappears into the floor to say ‘Thank you to my patient husband for weighing in on every minute detail I brought to you, caring because I do, and being my favorite second set of eyes.

creative first birthday party ideas

Thank you also to my amazing photographer Dawn! Having these wonderful images to remember such a special celebration is a true gift. And to Ginger, for turning my collections of concepts into the sweetest printed materials & our best collaboration yet!  I couldn’t have done it without you guys!’

By |2018-03-26T14:34:00+00:00August 27th, 2010|First Birthday, Kids Birthday, Parties for Girls|

About the Author:

Jennifer Sbranti is the founder of Hostess with the Mostess®, a creative living and party planning resource established in 2006. She lives in Northern California with her husband, Sonny, and daughters Macy (8) and Rylie (6). Sbranti’s work has been featured in media outlets such as Good Morning America, The Today Show, Real Simple, People, InStyle Weddings, and Extra! TV. She has designed creative content and unique live events for several well-respected brands, including Mattel, Coca-Cola, The Hershey Company, Toys”R”Us, Pottery Barn Kids, and Starbucks.


  1. Hillary Atwood August 27, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    You have the most beautiful children and family! And what a fun party!!!

  2. Melissa August 27, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    Adorable! I absolutely love it. The photo props are ingenious!

  3. Jen August 27, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    LOVE this!! GOing to use it for my daughter’s 10th birthday… 10 years in a flash!

  4. Pink Peppermint Paper August 27, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    Those thought bubbles are SO my husband and I. Very cute!


  5. JennEJenn August 27, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    I love it! Love all the touches!

  6. Ivy Colon August 27, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    Genious!!!! Love it!!! Planning at 15th party for my son & I gotta use some of these ideas!! Genious!! So in love right now with this theme!!

  7. Elvia Limas-Mena August 27, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    Absolutely fabulous idea! What a fun and creative way to involve all the party guests into the party. Love it!!!!

  8. Ces August 27, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    what a great idea for a first birthday!

  9. Linda August 27, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    One of the best birthday theme for a baby.

  10. Amber August 27, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    This is fabulous! I’ve been searching and searching for a first birthday idea for my son and this is exactly what I wanted. Only 5 months left to get it all done.

  11. Lafleche Masse August 27, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    I definitely will be using some of these ideas. Thanks for sharing!!!

  12. Marisa August 27, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    There are so many great party ideas in this post, I can’t stand it! Thanks so much for sharing!

  13. Stacey August 27, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    I’m giddy with excitement about featuring my party… thanks so much!

  14. Lydia August 27, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    Love every detail of this party, so fabulous, fun and wonderful! Especially love the photographer and photo booth pics – what a great idea and special memory keepsakes.

    Can you tell me where you got the cute little individual popcorn boxes? I am giving an Alfred Hitchcock screening party (black and white color scheme) in a couple of months and these would be perfect! Also, incidentally, if you have any ideas or suggestions for party details with this theme please do pass them on! :)

  15. The Fairy August 27, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    What a totally cool idea! This would be cool for a graduation too!

  16. Anna August 27, 2010 at 7:07 pm

    I love it <3 The color scheme is fabulously chic! Involving all of the guests in an amazing photo shoot is just pure genius. May have to steal some of these ideas for my son's 2nd birthday party in a month.

  17. Elisha Akram August 27, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    Loving the photo booth and word bubbles… too cute!

  18. Rhonda J August 28, 2010 at 7:53 am

    Thanks for sharing! I will definitely be using this for a future birthday party!

  19. PartyMom August 28, 2010 at 7:58 am

    Everything in this party is beautiful. The cupcake toppers are so creative. Love it!

    BTW, I posted a credit today on my blog to your fairy party as inspiration for my daughter’s first birthday party. Keep the great parties coming!

  20. How FUN is that!?

  21. Sue Pierce August 31, 2010 at 12:46 am

    What beautiful pictures and creative ideas! I love being inspired by websites like yours. Feel free to visit my site as well!

  22. Bettijo @ PagingSupermom August 31, 2010 at 8:08 pm

    Those cupcake toppers are killer! So funny and so cute. Love it.

  23. Jackie September 1, 2010 at 10:50 am

    WOW, WOW, WOW! Your dessert buffet is right up there with Amy Atlas. Love everything you did — colors, all the pictures of the birthday girl and the paper touches you designed and made. I wish my girls were babies again so I could do this!

  24. 1st Birthday Photo Invitations September 1, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    What a surprise to glance at this site, it’s been a week of searching for the best party for my daughter. I think I have found it, big thanks to this blog.

  25. Diapers and Divas September 2, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    absolutely genius! love it! i love the idea of hiring a pro photographer for the party! It’s hectic enough and then trying to take pics too…oy!

  26. Red September 5, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    I am going to do this for my daughter’s first coming up in February. Ill pretty much be cloning your party at my house. Hate to be a copycat, but you cant mess with perfection.

    GREAT JOB. You are a great mommy. Your bentos are great as well. High Five.

  27. Melissa September 7, 2010 at 8:58 am

    Oh my gosh… so happy I came across your blog! I am totally using this too (cannot decide if it should be my daughter’s 1st birthday or my other daughter’s 10th birthday) next summer!

    You did a great job… love it all and the colors are beautiful! Kudos!

  28. Sandi September 10, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    Love it – such an original idea!

  29. Girls 1st Birthday Photo Invitations September 17, 2010 at 12:00 am

    You have such a great party! It was all filled with pretty pink colors. I love marshmallows, and the popcorn is a good idea too, because kid’s love popcorn. I just love your party!

  30. Valerie September 18, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    Love all your ideas! How did you explain the time capsule on the invitation insert? What wording did you use?

  31. Brooke September 19, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    Gorgeous!!! I have been stuck for something exiciting for my little girl’s 1st birthday coming up, this have truly inspired me to use the 1000s of photos I have of her! Thanks so much, hope you don’t mind if I steal some of your ideas!! :)

  32. Kelly October 6, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    WOW! We should be friends! My girlfriends did a time capsule for my baby shower and I was planning to add to it with my little guys First bday! Planning to do this exact idea – my hubby is already working on a video-photo montage to play at the party as well ( pics of everyone there with our little man will play). You did great and gave me some great ideas! Nice job – and I love the photo of you and your hubby at the end – I am not pregnant but gosh….that is funny! Love it!

  33. Elizabeth January 27, 2011 at 6:54 am

    LOVE your party! Where did you get the toothpicks on the cupcakes with the baby’s picture?

  34. Kim McKinnies May 25, 2011 at 8:01 am

    Love everything! where did you find the cupcake stand?

  35. megan July 12, 2011 at 6:30 am

    where did you get the pink shimmery water bottle lables printed

  36. Yuro Pepito May 5, 2012 at 6:19 am


  37. Sophia Natalie May 28, 2012 at 4:59 am

    great idea

  38. Reagan ODonnell Meetze May 29, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    really good ideas here.

  39. Caroline Roepchand June 18, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    really really great.

  40. Charmaine Bentaib Pina August 3, 2012 at 2:09 am


  41. Sithum Vasana September 14, 2012 at 4:16 pm


  42. Jaclyn Tara December 7, 2012 at 9:15 am

    can you tell me what that is that you used for “one year in a flash” or where to find it?!?!

    • jenn s. December 7, 2012 at 9:50 am

      Hi Jaclyn – The font is called “Captain Howdy” and you can download it for free here: :)

  43. Jennifer gambino June 20, 2013 at 10:28 am

    Fell i love with this idea for my son’s 1st birthday. Can you tell me how you made the cupcake toppers or here you purchased them? Thanks!!!

  44. Elizabeth Delgado Luna July 20, 2013 at 10:06 pm

    where did you get the photo toothpicks made that appear on the cupcakes?

  45. Kristisa Estep July 23, 2013 at 6:34 am

    I love the cupcake toppers! Can you tell me where I could get that done?

  46. Candace September 21, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    I really want to know how to make those cupcake toppers!! So cute!!!!

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