First Birthday Invitation Etiquette
Choosing the Date, Time, and Location
First birthdays are a big milestone, so choose a date that accommodates your closest family. Weekend parties will probably have the biggest turn out. Also avoid scheduling anything when Baby usually gets sleepy so she won’t be crabby during the festivities. (For the same reason, your party should only be about two hours long.) Use your judgement when picking a location, but realize that your little one is probably most comfortable in her own home!
How Many People Should I Invite?
When planning a first birthday bash, determine whether to include both family and friends, and decide if you want an intimate party or a blowout bash, says Jenn Berman, Psy.D., a Parents advisor and author of The A to Z Guide to Raising Happy, Confident Kids. There’s no perfect guest list number; just make sure everyone will fit comfortably in the venue. Also watch out for the snowball effect—for every person you invite, you might have to include several others.
How Do I Whittle Down the Guest List?
Many experts suggest the all-or-nothing approach. Cutting down by category instead of by person can prevent hurt feelings, suggests Elise McVeigh, an etiquette expert for Parents.com and the founder of Mrs. McVeigh's Manners in Dallas, Texas. For example, you can leave out your entire group of “neighborhood friends” or “daycare parents.” Also consider having two separate first birthday parties—one for friends and one for your family.
Should I Invite Other Babies?
A baby's first and second birthdays are really more for the parents than for the child. Babies have no concept of friends, and they're not going to remember the party anyway, so don’t feel pressured to invite other children from daycare, baby classes, or around the neighborhood.
First Birthday Invitation Wording
First Birthday Invitations for a Boy
There’s no need to customize your baby first birthday invitation based on gender. But if you’d like a more boyish look, you can decorate according to your party theme! For example, choose a card with a T-rex and brontosaurus for a dinosaur-themed party, and opt for a Mickey Mouse invitation for a Disney bash. A masculine color palette of greens, blues and grays also goes a long way with first birthday invitations for boys.
First Birthday Invitations for a Girl
Similarly, you can choose specific colors and designs for a girl’s first birthday party invitations. Pinks, purples, reds, and golds look inherently feminine—and so do images of princesses, cupcakes, butterflies, and flowers. You can also share your baby’s gender through wording (“Our little girl is turning one!”)
When Should I Send Invitations?
Aim to put invites in the mail about about 3-4 weeks before the bash. That way, guests can reserve the date and RSVP with plenty of time to spare.
What If People Don’t RSVP?
Everyone's biggest pet peeve when it comes to birthday parties is not getting a response. Here's how to handle it: First, put a deadline date for the RSVP on your invite. "That makes your invitation sound more crucial," McVeigh explains. If you still need to track down a few responses, she suggests emailing or calling the invitees and saying, "I've had some confusion with the RSVPs, so can you please tell me again if you're able to make it or not?" If that doesn't do the trick, make sure you have a few extra desserts and party favors on hand in case the people who didn't respond appear.