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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}

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Carrie Powers

Tuesday 22nd of May 2018

Do you remember what size bow it was?

Glam Kate

Monday 28th of September 2015

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

Kimberly Owen

Saturday 29th of October 2016

did you then tape the numbers to the pictures? so you taped the pictures to the string and then the numbers to the pictures?

Carolina Charm

Monday 7th of December 2015

Hi friends! I used a super thin white string and taped the pictures to it! This string is what I used: I cut numbers out of a piece of sparkly gold paper I picked up for 99 cents at a craft store (Hobby Lobby)!


Sunday 6th of December 2015

I would love to know the answer to this, too!


Monday 31st of August 2015

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 :)


Monday 31st of August 2015

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 :)

Alexandra Bee Blog

Thursday 21st of May 2015

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