Fabulous First Birthday Party

The Theme

Tina Rupp

Other activities guests will enjoy: Have everyone pose for a Polaroid with the birthday baby, then slip the picture into a frame as a take-home memory of the day. Set out an attractive blank book or guest book, trace your baby's tiny hand on one page, and ask everyone to add heartfelt messages. Each year, make another hand tracing and insert photographs and mementos to create an ever-growing keepsake for your child. You can also record guests sharing birthday wishes and add to the DVD every year.

Another fun ritual is to measure your baby on a growth chart (we used one with an adorable fairy motif) and compare height changes from year to year. Or for something a little different, plant a tree on your baby's first birthday and take a picture of her beside it. Each year, take the same photo, showing her growth alongside the tree's.

Eat And Be Merry

The baby theme can be carried out in the menu: Try a selection of steamed baby veggies and dip, along with baby shrimp on cucumber rounds. Chicken skewers and a heaping bowl of pasta in whimsical shapes (such as wheels, spirals, and butterflies) tossed with asparagus, peas, and shaved Parmesan round out the menu. For dessert, serve bite-size brownies, petit fours, and of course, a magnificent birthday cake -- in this case, a pretty and delicious creation shaped like a number one to match the invitation.

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