Stress-free is the way to be. {2nd birthday party planning.}

Around this time last year, I was up to my neck in rainbows.

My daughter was turning 1 on March 5 and her party would be 5 days later. The theme? Unicorns and rainbows. The guest list? EIGHTY PEOPLE.

birthday_details-1024x1024The invitations, the venue, the decor, the catering, the cake, the favors, the music, the activities for the kids, the birthday girl’s handmade outfit, and rainbows and rainbows, and rainbows, and rainbows….

She was turning one, you guys. And I was planning this 2-hour birthday blowout like it was an episode of My Super Sweet 16. At least there are plenty of photos so she can look back on everything that she obviously won’t remember at all. Thank goodness for my family that helped me clean up after the party was over when all I wanted was to crawl into bed and sleep until her 2nd birthday.

It was more stressful than planning my wedding. So this year I decided that I’m not doing that again. One month and a day from today I will have a 2 year old (EEK) and here’s the list of things for her party that I’ve gotten accomplished:

  • Book the venue.
  • Design and print the invitations.

Basically, the fun stuff. And I’m not even stressed about it because much like my wedding – which happened at an all-inclusive resort on a tropical island – the place where we are having her party does everything for you from set up, to tear down, to providing all the decorations. Unlike my wedding, this venue is full of inflatable bouncy houses instead of sand, palm trees, and beautiful ocean views, but I think Betty prefers going crazy on a trampoline to working on her tan and it’s her party. I’m not hand-making her a tutu this year (a tutu would just hinder the bouncing anyway) or designing banners and personalized favors and coloring books for all the kids or driving myself crazy with all the minor details when the most important thing is for her to have fun on her big day. I think the most difficult decision I’m going to have to make in the next few weeks is whether or not we want to do Bubble Guppies themed cupcakes or a sheet cake. Because that’s the theme this year:

And I am SO okay with that.

Have you ever thrown a huge party for someone? If you have kids, what was their first birthday like? Have you ever had a party at a place that takes care of everything for you? Should I do cupcakes or a sheet cake?

~ Salt


24 thoughts on “Stress-free is the way to be. {2nd birthday party planning.}

  1. Laura says:

    That is such a great idea! I gave really only planned one huge party – my sister’s surprise party two years ago, that took everything out of me. The rest of the time I keep things low key. However, I want to do something for my own 31st birthday and since I’m new in town, it’ll take some planning… I need to learn from you! 🙂

    • runsaltrun says:

      I tend to be full of over-the-top ideas so ask away! Haha! It’s amazing how something that is so much fun can just drain you! I hope you figure out something very fun for your 31st. 🙂

  2. onedreamymess says:

    Wow, what a relief that your venue is doing the set up, tear down, and decorations! I am planning a move-in party for my new apartment next month. It is a ton of fun to plan but also very stressful!

    And my vote would be for the cupcakes – that way you take out the hassle of cutting the cake 😉

  3. Kelly @ Turned up to Eleven says:

    I think everyone does it up big for a 1st birthday – and I can’t say I blame moms or dads for that. It’s big deal, even if they only remember it from photos.

    I love the bounce house place idea. We have one of those here – our Friends had their daughters 2nd bday there and SHE LOVED IT. She barely went into the bounce houses but she liked the big slide, and the play houses they had set up outside. The other kids had a blast too – as did the parents.

    And it was nice seeing the workers, clean up the mess, and cut the cake and all this other stuff.

    Note – if you have cupcakes, no cutting is needed (bonus, less work) 🙂

    YAY for B’s 2nd Birthday – how is that already happening????

  4. Shannon says:

    I went all out for Hunters 1st birthday as well, spent too much money and too much stress on it. This past year I still did more than I originally planned but it wasn’t quite as stressful as the 1st bday. From now on though, no more parties at the house. I plan to do like you and go to a place that provides everything and I just need to bring a cake and favors.

    • runsaltrun says:

      That’s exactly our plan! We are also doing fruit and veggie trays, chips, sodas, water and stuff like that because it’s so expensive to go through the place for it and we have a Sam’s membership. But that definitely won’t take as much planning as the catering from last year. I loved all the pics of Hunter’s party!

  5. Miranda says:

    Definitely cupcakes!! You’ll have fewer leftovers and they make a nice display. I’ve made I’m guessing almost 50 birthday cakes in the last two years- for kids parties cupcakes are the way to go. Congrats on downsizing. I too am guilty of driving self crazy w kid parties, but I am also learning to scale back…

  6. michelle k says:

    Oh my gosh I can’t believe you did all that for B’s first! I totally missed the memo about having a blowout for the first bday. We invited family over to our house for a small party. Planning C’s 2nd party for April. We’re having it at local farm/petting zoo since he absolutely loved another petting zoo we went to. I agree stress free is best. Then you can relax and enjoy with B. Now I have the song from the Bubble Guppies truck episode stuck in my head. . . .

    • runsaltrun says:

      I have no idea wtf I was thinking. It started off kind of small but then just snowballed out of control. A petting zoo sounds like so much fun! I wish that we could ever really plan anything outside for her birthday, but March is so hit or miss weather wise. :-\

      And haha sorry about that. I’ve had Little Einsteins in my head all day. Ugh.

  7. Alexis @ funrunning4life says:

    A bouncy house party venue sounds awesome. Can I have my birthday party there?? I hate planning large events. I am super impressed that you planned a party for 80 people! YIkes!! Glad this year will be a little more low key on the planning end. And I always vote cupcakes!

  8. txa1265 says:

    80 people. Holy crap.

    For 1st birthdays we had about 2 dozen people – again it means nothing to the baby and even looking back now they don’t seem partcularly interested. But I am glad they will have the pictures if nothing else.

    Here is my philosophy – the 1st and (maybe) 2nd birthdays are for the parents, then they become about the ‘social circle’, and eventually by the time they are in middle school it is actually about the kids. 🙂

    As soon as we realized that making it a fun time for the kids was the REAL goal, the more we relaxed. We had use of the church hall, and brought in this wonderfully entertaining magician and did a couple of other themed birthdays there, had it in the karate dojo when they were doing karate, had it out at one of those ‘eat in movie theaters’ (miss that place – Chunky’s in Nashua NH), and eventually moved it into our house. We wanted to do something for our older son turning 16, what he really wanted was enough time for pizza, XBOX, a movie, cake, and hanging out with a bunch of friends.

    But … this year for our younger son’s 16th we are hosting a formal tea party for a group of his friends. It is full dress-up, we have the menu set, and it is going to be totally awesome! Great group of kids.

    Thinking about the 2-year old days just warms my heart! 🙂

    • runsaltrun says:

      I want a dress up party! That sounds like so much fun! Your kids are cool. 🙂
      I don’t even know how it ended up becoming such a big thing, but I definitely had that realization this year. Obviously she’s not real clear on the whole birthday thing yet, but yesterday a little girl at her daycare had a birthday and they all got cupcakes so she is definitely equating birthdays with cake. 🙂

      • txa1265 says:

        I think that at 2, whatever they find fun is a key. Trying to stick to ‘the plan’ generally ends up i frustration for all involved!

        And you know when we have the party there will be pictures involved 🙂

  9. Andrea says:

    Wow, so cute but but so much work! I’ve thrown a few showers, but nothing with that many guests. I vote cupcakes if you want to continue keeping things simple!

  10. Run Pilou Run! says:

    I threw a surprise 30th birthday weekend for my husband…with a BBQ (pinata and everything) and had a few friends fly over to London from Geneva. I don’t think I’d do that again as he discovered that he actually does NOT like surprises…

    I like cupcakes myself…they are also easier to transport than leftover cake.

    I hope Betty’s party goes really well 🙂

  11. Piper's Run says:

    I thought I would LOVE planning my kids birthday parties but I actually get SUPER stressed out. I try to keep it simple and as easy as possible. First birthday’s are always the best! With Lilly it was fun (in June) and outside and with Hilary was short and simple (Dec and inside). I’m actually starting to think what do to for a 4 yr old’s birthday party because Lilly will be 4 in JUNE! Ahhhh!!!!

  12. Megan Money-Wagner says:

    I remember B’s party planning last year. It was so cute. I cannot believe she is almost 2!! Another thing I cannot believe: I’m already starting to plan a first birthday party! Sure it’s a bit early but I am just so excited!

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