You’re probably sick to death of hearing about this bloody birthday party by now but it nearly killed me so you have to sit through at least one more post on the topic! I’ve already shared my ideas for Lu’s outfit, plans for her gifts and how my cake making escapades went. Today it’s time to see what we got up to at the royal wedding  Luisa’s first birthday party.

 

Venue

Initially we wanted to have the whole affair at home and keep it small, strictly family. Once I began writing a guest list I quickly realised that ‘strictly family’ meant 25-30 guests. Yikes. There was no way these people would fit in our house and honestly even if they would have I didn’t fancy cleaning up after them all.

I found it really difficult to find a venue suitable for a first birthday party. We didn’t want to go down the softly route as there wasn’t going to be very many kids coming. Everywhere else was extremely expensive as you had to pay for catering which was at least £8pp. There was the option to rent a space at a local leisure centre but they are all just sparse sports halls. This would be a great option for an older child as you could have a bouncy castle and games but it wasn’t for us.

Thankfully my Mum came to the rescue when she suggested an art gallery that her friend works in. The John Luke Gallery is home to Arts for All, a local charity that strives to enrich the community through exhibitions, workshops and training.  The space itself was perfect for our needs, there are kitchen facilities and of course lots of lovely art on display.

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Decor

We decorated the venue on the Friday night, mainly using supplies kindly sent to us by House of Party. The decorations we used came from their vintage rose collection and really made the venue look fantastic. My favourite thing was actually the paper cups – we had loads left over so I’ve put them away for picnics. You can see the bits and pieces we used in more detail in this incredibly embarrassing video. Please watch it and then never mention it again!

 

 

Food

Luckily for me I am surrounded by talented family members who pitched in to make an array of finger foods for Luisa’s first birthday party. We had sandwiches, mini meringues, fruit kebabs, shortbread, popcorn, a vegetable platter, buns and the cake. I’s be really surprised if anyone went hungry!

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Entertainment

There’s only so many activities you can possibly lay on for a first birthday party. We decided it would be a bit daft to have any traditional party games so we had to get creative to keep everyone occupied and encourage mingling.

The first thing we organised was a Photo Booth. We used sparkly decorations from House of Party to create a backdrop and left some props from Tiger and Poundland nearby. Initially no-one bothered with it but Matt soon rounded up a few subjects and once they had a turn most people entered in.

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We also put together a slideshow of photos from Luisa’s first year. A few months before her party I started putting my time on the night feed to good use by going through the photos on my phone and selecting one from every day Luisa has been with us and putting them into a special folder. This meant by the time her party rolled around I had 365 photos set aside to use in the slideshow. Matt just hooked his laptop us to a projector and let them play in a loop. It was really simple and everyone loved looking back at all our memories.

 

The last thing we put together was a bit last minute. My Dad found a flip-chart at the venue and used to to run a ‘guess the weight of the baby’ competition. Cue a lot people holding Luisa aloft! Most people came pretty close to getting her weight correct but there were a few outlandish guesses. One guest, who will remain anonymous, thought she’d be approaching 60lbs. Poor Lu.


 

All in it was the loveliest Sunday of all time even though it was a bit stressful at times. It’s hard work to manage that many people and also make sure you remember to have fun yourself. Everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves and I’m sure Luisa will appreciate all the effort one day.

 

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