Posts tagged ‘birthday party’

Make Your Milestone Birthday Party Memorable

July 5th is my birthday, the day after all the Independence Day celebrations. Everyone was back at work. My kids were enjoying a summer’s day with the neighborhood kids. In the afternoon, one of my daughters had a swim lesson, but other than that, there was nothing much going on; no plans for any sort of birthday celebration that I knew of. That’s alright, I told myself. It isn’t a milestone birthday, after all.

When I was small, it seemed every birthday was celebrated in grand fashion. Now a days it seems folks only celebrate the birthdays with a zero or a five after the first number—milestone birthdays—and of course, the La Quinceanera and the Bar and Bat Mitzvahs when one turns 15 and 13 respectively, not to mention Sweet 16 and that all-important 21st (in some states 18th). That’s cool, I thought, such birthdays should be celebrated in high style.

While I prefer the childhood notion of making each birthday a memorable fete, it isn’t always practical or cost effective. In keeping with today’s trend, here are a few tips and tricks for celebrating those milestone birthdays in style and always from the heart:

  1. Think about the birthday boy and girl. What does he or she like? What does he or she like to do? Does he or she like large groups or intimate gatherings? Where’s their favorite place to spend time? The answers to these questions will help resolve the four W’s – the Who, What, Where, When.
  2. Answer the following question as best you can. What is your intention for the party? This is the fifth W and the one that will set your party apart from others because it will create a context for the celebration to occur.
  3. Use balloon bouquets. Nothing says “party” like balloons. I don’t care how old you are, you’re never too old or too young to enjoy these festive decorations. Balloons can be used in dozens of ways. Consider balloon bouquets on sticks. They’re simple to create and make quick and easy centerpieces. 
  4. Be sure to add at least one photo element to a milestone birthday party. Ideas include a photo cake or photo flags stuck into cupcakes. Having photo albums on display or creating fun collage frames with themes like “In the Life Of,” “Decades,” or “This is Your Life” are fun ways to get guests involved in the mood of the party. You can also use the windows around the party area as built-in photo frames to showcase the birthday boy or girl. If nothing else, consider photo thank you notes.
  5. Create a special keepsake for the birthday boy or girl to document the event and everyone who was there, be it a platter, book, frame or other creative gift. Whatever gift you choose, be sure it is one they will treasure for a lifetime.

This month on “Shelby’s Secrets to a Great Party!” I’ve designed a party plan for a 1st birthday and it’s filled with many of the ideas above. Tune in to see how it all comes together. The great thing about this party plan is that it can truly be adapted for any age and gender.

You know, if I’ve learned anything over the last few years of working with clients and sharing my love of connection, it’s that everyday is cause for celebration. This year, even though my birthday wasn’t a milestone, the evening spent with friends and family, laughing, connecting, and enjoying the moments, was celebration enough.

July 2, 2011 at 6:02 pm Leave a comment

Baby’s 1st Birthday

As a new mom, I had no idea how important a first-year birthday party was until I almost didn’t plan one for my daughter Natalie. I did think about it though, but couldn’t imagine who I’d invite? Natalie didn’t have many friends yet. What activities would we do? She just started walking four days before she turned one…a bit hard to play musical chairs. And because she put EVERYTHING in her mouth, party favors were completely out of the question. What was I to do? Nothing, I thought, why bother? It wasn’t until my mother, mother-in-law, and sisters-in-law all told me that first-year birthday parties aren’t for the baby but for the FAMILY, that I thought, “Oh, I can do that!”

First Baby Party Tips

I’ve come a long way since those early days, and learned a few tips worth sharing when it comes to celebrating your one-year-old. If this is your first baby, Tip 1: Know that the cake is the thing! The family really just wants to see your baby enjoying his or her first cake experience. So even if you’re health conscience like me, and not a big fan of sweets, you gotta let ‘em eat cake! Giving them their own personal mini cake or giant cupcake for them to devour is a fun idea. Tip 2: Consider a bib, t-shirt, or hat that identifies the occasion in photos. Tip 3: When picking out a birthday party outfit, pick out two. Natalie was so covered in chocolate after her first cake experience, she not only needed clean clothes she needed a bath too! She was truly the picture-perfect poster child for the “Got Milk?” campaign.

Second Baby Party Tips

If you are planning a first-year party and you already have children or inviting family who does, as was the case when my second daughter turned one, here are a few tips to consider. Tip 1: Provide a craft project for the older kids to do during the party, (preferably one that ties into your theme, of course). Tip 2: Give out Goody Bags DURING the party filled with fun things for the kids to do because they really don’t care much about watching a baby eat cake. Tip 3: When it’s time to open presents, give your older child a small gift to open as well, especially if your siblings are one to three years apart. This will make them feel included and not want to open all of their brother or sister’s gifts!

These tips are not included in this month’s episode of “Shelby’s Secrets to a Great Party!” at where I walk you through the process of putting together a Milestone Birthday Party, which just happens to be – surprise – a little girl’s first birthday. Keep these tips in mind though, as you watch the video clips, and consider them golden nuggets—a gift from me to you.

Currently the host of “Shelby’s Secrets to a Great Party!” airing on, Shelby Phillips is an award-winning party design expert with over 20 years experience. Shelby has co-written a book series titled “The Enlightened Party Planner: Guides to Creating Parties from the Heart” and developed a 6-step formula for bring people together to celebrate. She has also been a host and designer on the Style Network’s “Big Party Plan Off,” and owner of a successful event planning and promotions company.

May 19, 2010 at 2:59 pm 20 comments

Shelby L. Phillips

As an intuitive transformational messenger, a communicative wife of nearly 30 years, and an open-hearted mother of two, I take pleasure in telling good news stories, connecting people to the eight dimensions of well-being, and inspiring us to love ourselves and each other because life really is worth celebrating! Find out more about me at


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