It's hard to believe that my baby boy Rowan was 1 at the start of this month. Time really does fly by and it's difficult to remember life before him, as I often wonder what I did with my time!
The big question leading up to his birthday was whether to have a birthday party for him or not, as he was still so little.
We decided we definitely wanted to do something to mark the occasion and so ran through all our options.
Option 1 - Just Close Family (At home or in restaurant/cafe)
Good points: Small & intimate, so not as much organisation required. Also less cleaning up and little costs involved.
Drawbacks: No friends to share the day with.
Option 2 - Party At Home
Good points: Cheaper (as no hire costs), familiar surroundings so everything you need is handy, toys aplenty and can provide your own food.
Drawbacks: Mess created, lack of space and you might have to narrow down guest list.
Option 3 - Party At Kids Play Area
Good points: Food & entertainment taken care of for you, they tidy up after you and you don't have to worry about anything getting broken.
Drawbacks: Cost adds up if you have quite a few children coming, so again a smaller guest list required.
Option 4 - Garden/Outdoor Party
Good points: Lots of space, mess confined to outside, no breakables
Drawbacks: Weather might turn bad, more space for little ones to run off into, more difficulty to serve food & drinks.
Option 5 - Hire A Hall
Good points: Space for lots of guests, can provide your own food & entertainment to keep costs down & no need to worry about mess/damage.
Drawbacks: Providing the decorations, food and entertainment takes lots of planning & time.
Our Chosen Option: Option 5 (Hire A Hall)
Hiring a hall was the option we went with for his main party, as Rowan's daddy was able to reserve the one attached to his hockey clubhouse for a bargain price.
Location: Pickie Bowling Club Hall
When: Sunday afternoon, from 3-6pm
Guests: We invited about 25 children, their parents, family & friends so in total there were probably around 70 people
Theme: Cheeky Monkey - balloons, banners, table decorations, plates & cups, napkins etc (I used Pinterest for inspiration!)
Entertainment: Hired bouncy castle, brought our own toys, trucks & ball pit for the kids to play with. We also set up a "hook the duck" game, "pin the nose on the lion" (rather than the tail on the donkey!) and had a few rounds of pass the parcel.
Food: Hall had its own kitchen so we were able to bring our own food and family helped to prepare sausage rolls, cocktail sausages. mini pizza, crisps and buns & top hats for dessert.
For The Parents: There were tables and chairs for all the mums and dads to relax at, and the hall is attached to the clubhouse bar so anyone who fancied a cheeky beer or glass of vino were happy!
Cake: Oliver The Monkey Cake (Baby TV character) made by Jenny's Cakes.
Party Bags: We had to make several different party bags due to the various age groups attending the party (from only 2 weeks old to 13 years old). Contents ranged from bibs, to mini books, to bubbles, to cars to loom bands.
Presents: Rowan got spoiled with lots of lovely clothes, toys, books and keepsakes for his birthday. He had fun opening all his presents for a few days after the party. We got him one of those smart trikes that last them up until age 4 & he loves going out for walks in it.
We also included option 1 on his actual birthday, as we went out for a meal with his Grandparents and Great Aunt who was visiting from London. His cousins also visited us at the house as they wanted to give him his birthday present on the actual day, awww! This meant Rowan got to have 2 birthdays really and of course that means 2 cakes!