In November, my daughters and I were so excited help our friend Stephanie and her family set up for baby Ray’s Marvelous First Birthday Party. Dad Greg is a HUGE Marvel comics fan. Marvel was really the only choice for this first party!
If you remember my Ray of Sunshine Baby Shower, that was hosted in honor of Stephanie. Time has absolutely FLOWN. I can’t believe Ray is already one!
First of all, how CUTE did Stephanie cook this baby? He was the best-est boy at his party. P.S. I want to go a party in my jammies.
Stephanie and I started brainstorming for this party in August — that’s four months before the party date. I usually recommend allowing at least 4 weeks for party planning. But for a first birthday party, when mom is already tired, it makes sense to give yourself more time.
To guide our planning, I shared my Essential First Birthday Party Planner with Steph. I think Steph’s experience planning this party is true for a lot of party-planning moms: she had SO many ideas and really had to decide:
- What her priorities were
- What her budget was
- And what time and energy would realistically allow.
After those decisions were made, a lot of the issues were about finding local vendors, DIYing some party decor, and getting all the party errands run.
Here’s what Steph had to say about the planner:
Marvelous First Birthday Welcome
Once Steph knew her guest list, renting their subdivision clubhouse made more sense than hosting at home. Stephanie found some inexpensive, pre-made Spider-Man banners, so we lined the clubhouse railings with the banners. Those led up to the Welcome sign from Templates By Tal on Etsy.
Food for a Marvelous First Birthday
Oh, the puns! Stephanie and her family made all the snack food for the party:
- Ant Man’s Army = ants on a log
- Infinity Stones = snack plate in the six stone colors (cheetos, grape tomatoes, green bell peppers, yellow bell peppers, Takis, with ranch dressing in a purple cabbage leaf)
- Marvel Mix = Chex Party Mix
- Peter Parker’s Pretzels = White chocolate spider web pretzels
- Mjolinar Munchies = Cheese cubes on pretzel sticks (like a hammer)
- I Am Froot = Mixed fruit
marvelous first birthday decor
We decorated each food station with superhero figurines and cardboard blocks. Greg lent us great framed posters, so we took down clubhouse art and replaced it with Marvel decor. Above one food station were month-by-month photos of Ray. Where a food station needed more “oomph” we filled in with more Spider-Man balloons.
Decorating the Fireplace
The big decor moments were on the double-sided fireplace. On one side was gift opening and on the other side was the smash cake.
Here’s the gift-opening side of the fireplace. We just leaned some Marvel art up against a large mirror, added figurines on either side, and a comic book banner across the front.
The smash cake side of the fireplace is where we had the most fun. We started by adding two large art books on the mantel. On one side of the books, we stacked cardboard bricks and a marquee lights star. On the other side, I arranged my collection of tissue poms into a something resembling a balloon garland.
All you do is create clusters of tissue poms by tying the pom strings together. To affix the garland to the stacked stone wall, we ran long nails through the string of each cluster and wiggled the nail into the gaps between the stones. Where needed, I held the clusters in position using pop-up glue dots.
This was a bit of a delicate arrangement and it would have been more secure on a plain wall using Command Strip hooks. But, you work with what you have!
Marvelous first Birthday Dessert Table
Instead of a full dessert table, Steph and Greg opted for a smash cake for Ray plus chocolate and vanilla cupcakes for guests. With all the food they had, this was plenty of dessert. Baby B styled the dessert table, and I love how she made levels out of the toy bricks.
Ray’s Hulk Smash Cake
I asked Stephanie if she wanted a cute matching birthday hat and bib set and she was all “Nope!” They stripped that baby down to the diaper, put a Hulk-green knit cap on him, and let him smash that smash cake. Absolutely perfect and so much easier on the clean up front! Afterwards, just pop that baby in the kitchen sink and then back into his Marvel jammies.
Marvelous First Birthday Party Favors
Just inside the door of the clubhouse, Stephanie arranged the party favors (cookies with a darling thank you tag). This is a great place to put party favors because it helps guests remember to pick up their gift as they leave.
Over the favors, she hung a Marvel sign from her hubby’s collection. It wasn’t quite big enough for the space, so she added a comic book banner under the sign and a Spider-Man balloon to one side.