Sound Off! How Big of a Deal Should a First Birthday Party Be?

02/24/2009 at 09:00 AM ET
Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Turning 1 year old is quite the milestone, and everyone has their own way of celebrating. From small family gatherings to large kid-filled blowouts, it’s up to the parents to decide how they’ll commemorate the first anniversary of their child’s birth. So how big of a deal should a first birthday party be?

Emme Maribel and Maximilian ‘Max’ David Muñiz celebrated their first birthdays with parents Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony over the weekend, with a party at the family’s Bel Air home featuring cake and clowns. Scott and Renee Baio celebrated daughter Bailey DeLuca‘s first birthday with a ’50s-themed bash — complete with a pink Cadillac cake! — at a local country club. And Nancy Grace‘s twins John David and Lucy Elizabeth turned 1 at a Manhattan early childhood development center surrounded by friends and family.

So here’s your chance to Sound Off! How big of a deal do you think a first birthday party should be?


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Showing 44 comments

Jasmine C. on

I say go for it! Why not? I don’t see a problem with it, I know if I had the $$$$ to do it I certainly would!

Dana on

I think it should be as big (or as little) as the parents deem fit. I think any birthday is a time to be celebrated. I am throwing a huge bash for my husband’s birthday this year when he turns 29.

With both of our girls, we had small home parties with just family. About 15 people at each one. I baked the cakes and we had presents.

Yeah, the kids are too young to remember it, but they can look at the pictures when they grow up.

chestar on

I think 1st birthday parties are more of a celebration for the parents! A celebration of year together with their child and their milestones.

Children dont really have an idea of whats happening but parties are always fun!

If everyone had the disposable income to do so…1st irthday would all be a blow out

Aurora mia on

I am excited about this…my son is 8 months old. I already have birthdays 3, 4 and 5 planned. (I am a neurotic planner!) But with the first and second, I think it’s just going to be cool invites, red velvet cake and family and Lots of pictures 🙂

Heather on

I made a BIG deal out of my daughter’s first bday. Obviously not the way the stars do it but I definitely had a big Jungle themed pool party for her and alot of her playgroup friends. Didn’t ask for gifts(though a few people brought some) but instead just focused on having a really fun celebration for her. I think the first bday is a big one to celebrate. It’s the very first birthday afterall. I can’t say i’ve put in as much effort for the last 3 of hers but I do still do something. Just nothing as big as the frst one was. I think there are certain bdays that need a little extra attention. They are the major milestones in a person’s life. The first bday, the 13th bday, sweet 16, the big 18, 21…etc!

Nakia on

First birthday parties end up being a bigger deal for the parents than they are for the child. But that’s ok.

I made a huge deal out of my son’s first birthday (and every birthday since). We had a big party with all the family and my friends invited. I think there were a total about about 15 adults and 3 children there.

I love birthdays and will probably celebrate each one of my son’s with enthusiasm unless he tells me he’d rather have something low-key.

Harley on

I’ve never really been one for big blow outs for the first year. It’s more about the family as the kid isn’t going to remember it lol. If you have the ability to have a bash, go for it. For me however, even if I had the money, it’d be more of a family and friends type celebration. I’d bake the cake, buy the decorations from Target, and I’d probably have a cook-out.

Michelle@Everyday Celebrating on

I believe it’s totally up to the parents. The first birthday is for the adults, obviously, but it’s also something that your child can look back on through photos and see that you really celebrated her first year on this earth.

I did it up big for the first:—first-birthday.html

and even bigger for the 2nd:

Danielle on

Anya’s first birthday party was big BUT it was at our home and was primarily family. We invited my NY cousins which means a minimum of 22 people. We did a late breakfast with bagels, pastries, savory and sweet crostini and of course, cake.

We totally acknowledged that the party was for us and the grownups in our family, but we did certain things to make it kid friendly like keeping it to 2 hours which annoyed my family but we had to plan it between Anya’s naps!

For a photo and recap of the menu, visit my husband Josh’s blog –

Anna on

I think it’s ok to do it big as long as you realize it’s for yourself and not for the baby. I wouldn’t spend 1000’s of dollars on a first (or any other age) birthday party no matter how rich I was.

The thing I do have a problem is, is people selling the birthday party by all sorts of sponsors and photos with products they probably have never used etc.

Liz on

If had the $$, I would have had a blow-out 1st birthday parties for my kids too. It is all up to the parents. It is their money. Besides 1st birthday is more for the parents, my kids could only remember through photos.

L.J. on

I say, Go For It! Sure the party(big or small) is more for the parents, afterall they survived the first year, too🙂 And, this incredible milestone can serve as a precious keepsake for the child in the form of beautiful pictures and video. Go ahead and celebrate!🙂


I always give my daughter big birthday parties, she is 6, just like my parents did with me. I am 28 years old and I still look at the pictures and get very very excited! The way my mom planned everything makes me feel special.

I think it depends on the money you have and if you like planning parties, I have gone to small birthday parties and they are so much fun too, I just decide to give my daughter a big party, is my decision and I dont have to justify myself, I work hard for my money!

My thought is I dont care how big or small a child party is, just as long as there is lots of, pictures, a few presents and a cake, children will love it.

mom of 3 boys on

it’s your child’s FIRST birthday, I think it should be a big deal. First birthdays are more of a celebration to the parent, but your child has had a year of firsts: first bath, first smile, first roll over, first crawl, first words, and for some, first steps. It’s a celebration – celebrate! No matter what your income, you can make the celebration appropriate – whether it be a small family gathering or a big event catered by the best.

Ashleigh on

for us it was a big deal. We flew up to Ma (we now live in Fl) And rented a hall. We had a big Pirate bash. it was alot of fun and worth the $$ we spent!

Amber on

We’re doing a pool party for my daughter’s first birthday party. I don’t see a reason to not go all out for your child’s birthday. It’s the one day a year you really get to celebrate them, and a party makes every child feel special.

Helen on

I think 1st birthday parties should be low key as the child won’t remember it.

Krista on

We celebrated our son’s first birthday with a party. Just a few invites to family and friends. Nothing too big. We did nothing for his 2nd, but had another party for his 3rd. We wanted to give him something special because I was expecting our daughter a few months later. That party was similar to his first… just a few family and friends. However, we threw in a pinata for the kids. This year we’re taking him to the circus instead.

For our daughter’s first birthday, in four months, we’ll have another party with family and friends. Nothing too big, but something to mark the special day. Most kids, IMHO, are having parties that are too over the top and expect something larger each year. I’m hoping to teach my children that it’s fun to celebrate, but don’t expect the cost to be too big.

HeatherP on

Well I think it’s each persons own choice but sometimes parents have reasons for doing things that we don’t know the story behind and shouldn’t judge. Our son had open heart surgery at 5 months old, so for 5 long months we lived not knowing if he’d ever see a first birthday and many other milestones. For us his first birthday was HUGE, such a celebration of life in so many ways. Now, we did not have a lot of money but we still had a big party at our house with lots of people and decorations and just so much joy. So I guess we never know someones motivations for a party whether it’s a $10 party or a $10,000 party, as long as your heart is in the right place then party away!!🙂

HeatherP on

Oh and to add as our son is going to be 6 next week, we’ve switched things up. We found that with some of the more costly parties like $210 at Chuck-E-Cheeses wasn’t as much fun. You don’t get to spend a lot of time with them and the kids don’t really even play together b/c they are all playing their own game or running around or whatever. We gave him the option last year of having a bday party or having a big special day with one friend and going to do whatever, with in reason lol, he wanted. He chose that last year and this year. This year we are going to an indoor water park and spending the night so we’ll have two days to play! We can’t wait and we all enjoy this more than a party. He also has a March birthday so where we live that’s temps in the teens lol so you can’t have a park party or something like that. Our daughter who is 17 months old has a September birthday so for her first we had a party at a park and it’s nice weather so she could have pool parties, whatever. So she may be one that chooses a party over a big fun day b/c she has more options. I guess it goes back to the thought of to each their own and don’t lose focus of what it’s really all about.. your child and the blessing of another year of life as there are some parents who didn’t get that.

Jaclyn on

My daughter is 8 months, I still have no idea what we are going to do. Something somewhat big, and memorable. We dont have much money so I am more concerned about that memories that she will see through the pictures. I never grew up with huge parties or anything like that–I dont even have pictures of myself at my 1yr party so its not an issue. I never had a big 13th, or 16th or 18th birthday, they are just days to me.

Mary on

I think big blowouts are ridiculous.

We were in FAO and a 1 year old birthday was going on. The kids couldn’t walk yet so they were crawling around on the piano. We asked a worker how much it passed and it was at least $8,000. I think that is so stupid considering the kids can’t remember it.

For my kids first birthdays we went to the Bronx Zoo or the Central Park Zoo with their cousins. All of the kids had so much fun and it was really enjoyable for the parents too!!!

Katyb on

I loved throwing big parties for the kids’ 1st birthdays! As they get older it just seems too hectic, but I think they all deserve a grand celebration of #1!!

Melanie F. on

I too think that the party should be as big or small as the parents would like. I have always made a really big deal out of my children’s birthdays but I don’t think that is ridiculous nor do I find it ridiculous for parents who don’t.

Fevvers on

My daughter turns 1 this Saturday and I have not planed anything. Honestly, I personally would rather get a babysitter and go out to dinner myself to celebrate making it through the baby stage for the last time! As joyous as babies are it is hard work and after 3 in 5 years I think we deserve it!

Nina on

Los Angeles is such a funny place to raise a child. First bday parties here have been so over the top. One of my friends had one that cost as much as a wedding! It was insane.
We did my son’s 1st bday at the local park it was wonderful had snacks and some cake, we even had people bring gifts to donate to a local charity. It was the perfect low key day. Honestly way more fun for everyone involved than some over done party that is stressful!

Karey on

For us, turning one was a big deal – both as parents and for our children (now 6 and 8). Their parties weren’t expensive, but I put alot of effort into them both. My son had a garden/caterpillar theme. We had a cute caterpillar cake (which we found in Martha Stewart Baby), and made all the decorations ourselves. Our daughter had a French pink poodle party. Both of their parties were at home with just family and close friends, but it was definitely a big deal. I still remember reading (and shuddering at the end)an article from another magazine that suggested hiring a babysitter to reward yourself with a nice dinner out rather than spending it with your baby . . . to each his own, but there wasn’t anywhere I wanted to be without my babies on their first birthdays.

Dianne @ Colorblind Productions on

I am in agreement with everyone else about the fact that it really is up to the parents how big or how little they want it to be. Personally, the first birthday is a big deal to me not only because it’s the child’s first birthday but it’s a celebratory milestone for the parents in making it through the newborn and baby stages into the toddler stage.

I went out of my way for my son, and went even further for my daughter’s birthday with a full theme, custom items and a balloon artist

If you can swing it I say do it. I’d have a celebration for every day of the week if I could.

Heather on

We made a semi big deal with my son’s first birthday but what we should have done was gotten a babysitter and went out to a nice restaurant to celebrate surviving the first year!!! lol

Heather on

Let me also add, we asked instead of gifts to please donate in his name to a local organization that helps parents and families of preemies. We, of course made sure he had a few things to open though🙂

Carol on

We just had low key family and close friends for both of our boys’ first birthdays. Like someone else said…the first birthday really is only for the parents since the kids have no clue what is going on. Now that they are older, 13 and 15, that’s when we pay more attention to their birthday parties, because they want to do fun things with their friends and they mean more to them.

Sheila on

Oh gosh we had a HUGE birthday party for our oldest daughter’s first birthday…There was 50-60 people and we rented a big pavilion at a park…It was enormous!! I loved it and so did she!! She didn’t stop smiling or laughing the whole time and she was wore out by the time we went home!!! Our youngest daughter will be 1 in May and we’re going to have a pretty big party for her too…I think there’s certain ages that you should have big parties (1, 5, 10, 12, 13, 16, etc.)

Ali on

In Latin Family, the first birthday is a big bash!!It was done years ago, just because in Latin America, years ago many children did not reach their first birthday. When they did, they would make a big party, family, godparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, third cousins, neighbors, etc and of course friends of friends,and their kids. NOW it is just a tradition. Loud Music, dancing, clown, the biggest cake you can find. All in the name of fun, health and family.

Mary-Helen on

I think it depends on the family. My friend’s daughter was the first granchild for her side of the family so naturally all of her relatives wanted to go, but then of course she needed to invite all of her husband’s relatives too.

For my daughters parties, we just had a couple of cousins, some friends and the IL’s. But really, it’s all up to the family size, income, what you’re willing to spend etc.

Judith on

I think the party is for the parents. The kid doesn’t know what is going on. Same thing when the child is 2 years old. Now, 3 years old is definitely a different story!! I think for the first and second birthdays, it should just be close family and friends. I remember seeing Tori and Dean’s son’s birthday. All that hoopla and little Liam didn’t know what was going on (what year old child does??). I am a Mom of 4, by the way..

LadyKitty on

Our youngest dd turns 1 in June and we will have a smalish party,but it will be a big deal!
I always celebrated that first milestone, as its all that unexpected love and happines theat littel perons did bring into your lifes!There is always a cake,bubbles,music,lots of cuddles family and lots and lots of pictures!

Nikki on

If I had the money, I still think we’d probably do something low-key and family orientated.
I’d invite all his little friends from playgroup, and general family, by that I mean family who I talk to more than once a fortnight!

I’m all for a theme, I think it will be brilliant for him to look back on when he’s older.

As for the venue, I think it could be managed at our family home.

jessie on

I don’t have any kids yet, but when my baby turns 1, we’ll probably have a small party and cake

Sherry on

BIG deal…HUGE deal…MONSTER deal. We make big deals out of all the children’s B-Day parties in the family…but your baby’s first birthday is a very special day and it’s a big milestone for both the baby & the parents and worth a big celebration.

Danielle on

I think the 1st, 16th and 21st birthdays are the most important and the should be given great parties. I know when my son turned one last year I threw him a great bash. I had like 40 people and I rented exotic animals. It was blast and the whole entire thing cost me about 600 to 700 dollars (thats exotic animals, custom two tiered cake with a personal baby cake and decorations and food for the guest.

Sue on

The kid doesn’t even know what’s going on. It’s stupid.

Jen on

First birthday party should be family and godparents..cake is fine and simple decorations. Save money for later when they’ll care or remember.

Amy on

Parents can do as big or small a celebration as they want, as long as I’m not obligated to go!

Erica on

I always throw a birthday for my three kids. Kids will only be kids for so long and it is fun for them. I don’t see birthdays as a way to get presents and neither do my kids. Lets face it most gifts are junk anyways. But, the kids love to be with their friends and have fun. I personally like to have parties at local spots rather than home. Go have fun, make a mess and go home. I just threw a big home party for my three year old and she was tired and scared of the guests and just went to bed. My house was a disaster after the luncheon and I did it all for her and she was barely in attendence. So, I definetly think having it at one of the childs favourite spots is the funnest. We had a moonbounce party one year and my middle child had a blast. I would love to throw a BBQ/pool party but, we don’t have a pool. 😦 Bowling parties are fun for kids who are older like 10. I had a bowling party for a just turning 6 year old and she didn’t have as much fun. Her friends just wanted to run around and play. So, we aren’t going down that path again. Sleepovers are always a hit. I never had a party and I want my kids to feel special on their birthday and have fun being a kid! Pinatas are always a hit. I buy the pull string kind.

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