Caroline’s Twinkle Twinkle Little Star 1st Birthday Party

I still cannot believe that we recently celebrated a first birthday party for Caroline. This has seriously been the fastest year of all time and her party could not have been a more perfect way to celebrate our little girl. I began planning her “low key, intimate” Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star party several months in advance to give the grandparents and friends time to mark their calendars during this crazy event season and also to give myself a little project to distract myself from acknowledging the fact that my baby was nearing the big ONE!

As we began compiling our guest list for the party we quickly realized that a small, intimate party was just not in the cards. There are too many people that have made an impact on Caroline’s first year of life that we just couldn’t exclude from this celebration – and I’m glad we didn’t! We ended up with 51 guests, 16 of which were kids, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. As each person arrived to the party, Caroline lit up with excitement, especially when her best friend from daycare arrived. She had the very best time and the day couldn’t have been more beautiful. After back to back weekends of thunderstorms we were so lucky to have a warm, sunny day for our celebration.

For the theme I chose Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and went with golds and pinks for the color scheme. We chose to have the party in the morning from 11 am – 12:30 pm since most of her buddies would need afternoon naps and it turned out to be pretty good timing. I will say, for as much planning that went into this party, it truly felt like 1.5 hours flew by before I could even stop to cry. Matt and I agreed that it almost felt like our wedding day all over again with squishing in so much prep and planning, picture taking, playing with bubbles and the water table, cutting cake, welcoming guests, replenishing food and drinks, etc. all while trying to keep our focus on the guest of honor was a bit crazy.

Caroline was such a ham for her guests too. She bounced around the entire party with her little tongue hanging out, laughing, splashing in the water and showing off her walking skills. This girl loves attention.

On to the decorations! Y’all know one of my besties happens to be super talented at design so I was able to lean on her for all of my party printables which turned out perfect. I also set a budget aside for Caroline’s birthday party and stuck to it. I had several moms tell me they regretted dropping so much money on first birthday parties and advised me not to fall into the same trap. I am very happy to say that I was able to pull off her entire party including food, drinks, decorations, flowers, cake and her outfit on a $250 budget. It wasn’t exactly easy, but I shopped sales, used tons of Hobby Lobby coupons, was gifted some items from a few shops and handmade all of the decorations myself to avoid Etsy shopping. Party prep was truly a labor of love with lots of hot glue burns, but it was worth it.

Caroline’s monthly photo banner was one of my favorite decorations at the party. This banner is still hanging on our mantel because I just can’t bring myself to take it down. I love it so much. Throughout the party it was fun to hear people picking out their favorite photo of Caroline from the past year and giggling at all her expressions.

A few weekends before Caroline’s party we took her to a nearby park and had a little one year photo shoot. I displayed these pictures at her party and they were so adorable.

Unfortunately, my parents had to cancel their plans to attend Caroline’s party after dad got really, really sick. However, Lindsey and Ryan came up for the celebration and jumped right in on the pom pom making party.The night before the party we all (the guys included) stayed up late crafting last minute decorations and prepping food. I loved how the pom poms looked hanging from our bistro lights. These may or may not still be hanging because I love how happy they make the backyard look.

For the party food I offered a light brunch and mimosas for our guests. The food turned out perfect since the minis could eat everything I made. Funny enough, the biggest hits were the mini PB&J sandwiches and of course, donuts!
Brunch Menu: Mini Powdered Donuts / Assorted Mini Muffins / Yogurt Parfaits / Grape Salad / Mini Waffles / Mini Pancakes / Goldfish / Cheerios / Mimosa Punch / Coffee

To avoid spending a small fortune on a birthday cake I went with my favorite go-to cake from Harris Teeter, a triple layer vanilla cake with raspberry filling. I served this exact cake at a previous party and it was a huge hit. I simply brought in a ruffled cake picture to show the cake decorator and she whipped it together beautifully – for $18! I cut the stars out of gold paper, glued them to skewers and voila – the perfect cake! Separately we ordered a smash cake for Caroline. I was so happy to learn that Harris Teeter provides a FREE smash cake for first birthdays! So again, I requested a simple white patty cake and decorated it myself.

For the drinks I organized a little coffee bar and offered mimosa punch, water, assorted sodas and juice boxes for the littles.

Some of the littlest littles of the party.

The bubble machine!!! What a hit. If you are looking for an inexpensive way to entertain kiddies for long periods of time, I highly recommend the Gazillion Bubble Tornado Machine.

We also got a water table for the party and this was by far the biggest hit of the celebration. Caroline was completely SOAKED from splashing around in her table with her friends. It was so adorable watching all of the babies play together. This toy is going to continue to be a favorite summer activity for Caroline. She is obsessed. If you need a gift idea for a 1+ year old, I highly recommend the water table.

Caroline and her best friend, Austin, from daycare. For the first few months of the school year, Austin and Caroline were the only two babies in their class so they got really close, really fast and it’s the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. These two are so in love with each other. In the morning they wait for each other at the door of their classroom until the other arrives. And then they are inseparable all day long. The teachers take so many pictures and videos of them together and I’ve loved watching their friendship blossom over many meals, shared sippy cups {and colds}, activities and hitting milestones together. I mean, look at her hand around his back (picture above). Adorable.

Time for CAKE!

Caroline wasn’t shy about digging right in to her smash cake. The second we set that plate of frosting in front of her she went to town. This girl loves sugar.

You go, girl!

Soaking wet and covered in cake and powdered donuts. Gosh, I love this little muffin.

Aunt Lindsey and Uncle Ryan – two of her favorite people!

For the party favors I had custom cookies made. Not only did they turn out super cute, they were also incredibly delicious and everyone made sure to grab one on their way out.

Grandmom and Grandad! As soon as the guests left, Caroline went straight to her Grandmom to cuddle. It was such a big day for a little girl.

After a long nap Caroline opened up all her gifts. Her friends sure do know how to spoil her! It truly was the most perfect first birthday party!

Party sources

Gold Baby Moccasins: Sweet N Swag

Custom Onesie: DarlingLittleBowShop

Pink Bow: Julia’s Bowtique

TuTu: Babyshower gift

Birthday Cake & Smash Cake: Harris Teeter {note: HT gives a free smash cake for first birthdays!}

Star Cake Toppers, Pom Poms, Star Toothpicks, Tassels, Star Cupcake Toppers, Glitter 1 : Handmade

Star Sugar Cookies: Delicate Delites

Dairy Bottles: Michaels

Mini Baker Cups, Silverware: Hobby Lobby

Table Runner: Gold wrapping paper from HomeGoods

36″ Pink Balloons: Amazon

Gold 1 Balloon: Amazon

Gold Glitter Votives: Kate Aspen {giveaway coming later this week}!

Party Straws: Kate Aspen {giveaway coming later this week}!

Gold Star Plates: Swoozies

Gold Star Napkins: Swoozies

Gold Star Cups: Swoozies

All Printables: Laura Wyatt Designs

Water Table: Amazon

Bubble Maker: Amazon

Flowers: Harris Teeter/Farmer’s Market

My Dress: Gap Maternity {purchased in 2014}



  1. Jenn
    May 12, 2015 / 12:16 pm

    So precious! Looks like it was a great time–the party looks so awesome!! You are looking beautiful friend! 🙂

  2. City Style Country Living
    May 12, 2015 / 12:41 pm

    This party was adorable! I love the twinkle twinkle little star theme!

  3. Sara Elizabeth
    May 12, 2015 / 12:45 pm

    oh my goodness – I love the picture of her at the water table, tongue out and all!! What a ham!!! All the details are fabulous – I love the photo banner – and I think you should leave it up!! She's just too cute not to. 😉 Love the coordinating outfits too 😉

  4. Kelly Crusenberry
    May 12, 2015 / 12:51 pm

    Oh my!! Christina you really out did yourself on this one!! Absolutely love every single detail. I'll be referring back to this adorable party for years to come I'm sure! So glad your mini had a sweet celebration.

  5. Julie
    May 12, 2015 / 12:53 pm

    You did an unbelievable job on a budget. As much as I love Etsy myselft, I find you can sometimes do the same things with a little time and a lot less money! So, so, so precious!

  6. B @ The Sequin Notebook
    May 12, 2015 / 1:07 pm

    What a beautiful party – I love all of the little details that make it all come together. Also, I'm totally impressed that you stayed within your budget – those coupons and the crafting really go a long way!

  7. Elise @ Cheers Yall
    May 12, 2015 / 1:11 pm

    This is perfection, Christina! I love every detail…and staying on a budget. Amazing! Also – had no idea about HT and a free cake for the cake smash! Keeping that in my back pocket for a year from now! :)xx

  8. Liz Joiner
    May 12, 2015 / 1:12 pm

    what an amazing birthday for Caroline! I'm so glad she enjoyed it. And her friendship with Austin is just adorable. I'm so glad to hear that she has a best friend. One of the worries I have that Sophie won't have when she enters daycare, she's kind of shy. I can't believe all of that was only $250 too!I think those are the same pom poms we used at a friend's baby shower (unless yours are home made), we just bought ours.liz → {sundays with sophie}

  9. Cassie Eliya
    May 12, 2015 / 1:41 pm

    what a BEAUTIFUL party!!!! You did such a great job!

  10. BLovedBoston
    May 12, 2015 / 1:47 pm

    You did such a wonderful job and can we talk about that sweet picture of you both kissing her cheeks – too cute! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

  11. Chrissy@SimpleJoysBlog
    May 12, 2015 / 1:48 pm

    Love the theme! Adorable and I love the photos of Caroline splashing with her water table!

  12. Caroline {Virginia Sweet}
    May 12, 2015 / 1:50 pm

    Oh my goodness!! What a little ham Caroline is in those pictures – her smile just lit up the party!! Loved all the perfect little details! So perfect!

  13. Laura
    May 12, 2015 / 1:59 pm

    You did an AWESOME job! Party perfection!

  14. Owen Ross Davis
    May 12, 2015 / 2:39 pm

    Wow great job momma! Everything is picture perfect, and on a budget!! Caroline is so adorable!

  15. Hanging with the Hirsts
    May 12, 2015 / 2:45 pm

    Oh my goodness – this party could not have been any cuter and the theme is super creative!! So cute to see the babies playing with the water table and Caroline with her tongue – adorable! You look great!!

  16. Nichole @
    May 12, 2015 / 2:46 pm

    I am so glad to see that everything went so well, and that you did this all on a budget! Happy Birthday, Caroline!

  17. Erin LFF
    May 12, 2015 / 2:59 pm

    Everything is SO cute and I am majorly impressed with all you were able to do on a budget! 🙂 Good job!!!

  18. Traci
    May 12, 2015 / 3:40 pm

    Everything is so cute! The sign on your mantle reminded me of my grandma. She used to always say "Oh my stars". I hope your dad is getting better.

  19. Tess
    May 12, 2015 / 4:03 pm

    Amazing! Your party hosting skills are beyond amazing. Wow wow wow! Happy 1st birthday Caroline!

  20. Life As You Live It
    May 12, 2015 / 4:21 pm

    Love the theme of Caroline's party! Everything looks amazing!

  21. Jessica
    May 12, 2015 / 5:17 pm

    Christina, it all came together so well! I love it! Every detail is just perfect! And Caroline looks like she had a great time:)

  22. Jo
    May 12, 2015 / 5:46 pm

    Awesome job! Everything looks so great! Just think, with (some of) the same color schemes- we could have shared all that DIY decor work if we lived closer : ) hah! Caroline's a lucky babe!

  23. Family and the Lake House
    May 12, 2015 / 7:30 pm

    That was the cutest 1st Birthday Party I think I've ever seen! Great job. Lots of happiness in those photos. Happy Birthday Miss. Caroline!

  24. Hannah
    May 12, 2015 / 7:48 pm

    It looks like such a sweet and fun little birthday party! I'm so glad you all were able to celebrate with friends and family! You did a great job with the decorations! 🙂

  25. Brittany Deskins
    May 12, 2015 / 8:34 pm

    What a cute party for a pretty little girl! I love the breakfast theme!

  26. Lauren Kauffman
    May 12, 2015 / 9:09 pm

    She's a happy and loved little one year old!

  27. Mae @ Endlessly Ever After
    May 12, 2015 / 9:27 pm

    This party is soooo cute!!! What a beautiful family you have

  28. Courtney [Sweet Turtle Soup]
    May 12, 2015 / 10:08 pm

    So precious! Awesome job with everything and sticking to your budget. It turned out beautifully. I love the smash cake, always the smash cake – so cute. And, Aria's photo banner is always my fave at her bday parties. Neither came down for a long time afterwards! I love that you added numbers, so smart haha. I'll have to keep that in mind.

  29. Shannon @ Sweet Tea Sippin' on Mayberry
    May 13, 2015 / 12:15 am

    oh my goodness!!! You did an amazing job on her party. That has got to be the cutest party I have ever seen! I might have to borrow a few ideas from you for just any party I'm having. I love all of the little details =)

  30. Love My Mess
    May 13, 2015 / 2:19 am

    Wow what a cute party, excellent decorations! I have to say though – my favorite is the little cups of fishy crackers and cheerios, now that's catering to your audience, great job!

  31. kpcarolina
    May 13, 2015 / 11:14 am

    Great job! I love all the details. Where did you purchase your bistro lights? I have been looking for some for our backyard and can't seem to find any that have a good review.Thanks!

  32. Jillian Manesh
    May 13, 2015 / 12:59 pm

    aww this is so sweet! i love her outfit and the decorations! you are super mama of the year! xo jillian – cornflake dreams

  33. Kristen {Miss Southern}
    May 13, 2015 / 4:53 pm

    Such an adorable party, good job girl!! It looks like you are a great mommy!

  34. Caley-Jade Rosenberg
    May 13, 2015 / 7:08 pm

    Well done momma – what a gorgeous little 1st birthday party! Such a cute theme and I love the colours – perfect for your little princess. Can't wait to share our party soon too x

  35. Brittney
    May 13, 2015 / 9:26 pm

    Just precious! I love all the little details and you know I love the theme. 🙂 We did store bought cupcakes this year too and it was so easy, cheap and looked so cute once you add some toppers. I may not go back to baking my own! Is the little sign, "oh my stars we love you" from Laura Wyatt too?

  36. rox
    May 16, 2015 / 7:57 pm

    I am pinning (aka stealing) pretty much 100% of these party ideas!!! How FANTASTIC!!!!! Happy birthday, Caroline!

  37. ChalkSouthernToMe
    May 17, 2015 / 7:09 pm

    Every detail was perfect! Such a beautiful birthday party! Xo, Stephanie

  38. Shayna @ The Fancy Yancey
    May 19, 2015 / 2:53 am

    Still catching up! I love everything you did for her party – it turned out amazing!! & All for $250!? You have definitely given me hope for when I plan Jack's!! I love it all! Great job!!!

  39. Alexandra Bee Blog
    May 21, 2015 / 3:44 pm

    Such a cute party! Love the theme and all the sweet details, especially Caroline's outfit and the banner you made for the mantle!

  40. Renata
    August 31, 2015 / 6:16 pm

    Im planning my daughters first bday and we're doing the same theme! And we're also in NC so I'm excited to see how this goes. I'm starting to collect coupons to see if I can come close to your budget 🙂

  41. Renata
    August 31, 2015 / 6:17 pm

    Im planning my daughters first bday and we're doing the same theme! And we're also in NC so I'm excited to see how this goes. I'm starting to collect coupons to see if I can come close to your budget 🙂

  42. Glam Kate
    September 28, 2015 / 5:03 am

    So adorable! How did you attach the pictures to the string for the banner? (And what kind of string did you use?)

  43. Carrie Powers
    May 22, 2018 / 12:21 pm

    Do you remember what size bow it was?

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