How to Avoid the Pressure of Planning the Perfect Birthday Party

We’ve all seen the pictures, the pins–the pure perfection.

We’ve seen the perfect party posts on Instagram and attended parties that are coordinated from the food to the favors. I didn’t realize how much work these masterpiece parties were until I started searching the Internet for ideas for my own daughter’s first birthday party. The anxiety crept in.

I scrolled through pages and pages of Pinterest perfection–bowls carved from watermelon rind, balloon animal art, calligraphy chalk menus, colorful hand-cut confetti–I could go on.

I was mesmerized . . . and mortified. There’s no way I could ever live up to the standards on the screen.

And then it dawned on me: I don’t need to plan the perfect party, and here’s why:

A graphic for avoiding the pressure of planning the perfect party.


3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Planning a Party

1. Who’s going to remember?

Our daughter is turning one. Do you remember your first birthday party? I sure don’t. Her memory (or lack thereof) is totally on my side here. She will have absolutely no recollection of what this party looks like, what she ate, or who was there. I can save the perfect party for an age where she will actually appreciate my efforts (and maybe help plan!).

2. Who is this party for?

Knowing the majority of our friends and family, the only person who is truly going to appreciate the amount of work that goes into a perfectly planned party . . . is me. My husband and the birthday girl would rather have a sane mommy than a picture perfect party.

3. What are the essentials?

What makes a good first birthday party? Our dear family, closest friends, and cake perfect for smashing. That’s what everyone is there to see, right? Little hands digging into crumbly cake, bright pink frosting smeared every place imaginable–hair, eyebrows … somehow between toes. That’s the Kodak moment. When everyone laughs and smiles. When you pause, and think, “Where did the last year go?”

The rest is just icing on the cake (pun intended).

A photo of a first birthday party.

So, Mom, give yourself a break. The pressure is off.

You do what’s best for you. So if that means a Pinterest perfect party, do it! If it means carryout pizza and grocery store cake, do it! If it’s a combo (like me), that works, too.

Just don’t let yourself stress about it.



Katie is a spouse, mother, and professional communicator. She became acquainted with Iowa City as a student at the University of Iowa, earning degrees in Journalism, Political Science, and most recently her MA in Strategic Communication. Katie and her husband met and fell in love in Iowa City, deciding to never leave. Their family can often be found eating their way through downtown, walking their dog in City Park, or cheering on their beloved Hawkeyes at live sporting events.


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