Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 21st 2014 Contents | FAMILY |
By Suzette Camacho
I recently planned my son's first birthday party at an
amazing venue and used some fantastic cake and cook-
ie vendors. Here are some features and tips from the
My son is a water baby. He loves to swim in the ocean,
pool and just about anywhere that has somewhere for
him to splash. I thought for his first birthday celebration
to have a simple theme of "Under The Sea". A first birth-
day party is like no other. You are celebrating your baby's
first year, so you have to remember to keep some key
elements in the party that are relevant to your child's
age and the sentiment of the celebration.
1) Capture the event
Ensure that you have someone, preferably a profession-
al, taking photographs. I prefer not to take photos
myself or have my husband do it, as both of us will be
busy during the event. This birthday is the most special
one, so getting great pictures is important. Also, have
your guests be a part of the photography and offer
them family shots by the photographer.
Have a family photo shoot prior to the party to make
sure you capture your little one before the festivities
and all of the distractions begin! If you cannot afford a
professional photographer, ask a family member or
friend to take on the role.
2) Choosing a venue
There are many locations that you can choose for the
first birthday party. I chose a family friendly hotel in
Chaguaramas: Crews Inn Hotel. There are fantastic
grounds with a kids' playpark and a salt-water pool over-
looking the ocean. The hotel catered for the event, and
we were able to occupy a room by the poolside, which
was very convenient for changing the babies and kids.
This venue was ideal for the theme of the party "Under
3) How to celebrate
The first birthday party may not be concentrated
around big kid games and party activities, but it is more
a very special celebration with close friends and family.
Make it baby friendly! You can include baby play areas,
such as a foam playmat with toys, a baby splash pool,
and I also provided a stroller for the parents who want-
ed to take their babies for a stroll through the hotel's
beautiful garden and on the jetty alongside the marina.
4) The cake
This is one of the most important elements of a first
birthday celebration. It can be the focal point of the
décor and the main attraction for the event. Search
online for that special cake design and send it to your
favourite baker to replicate, or for inspiration to do an
original design. The ocean theme cake was made by
Shalima Persad of Edible Arts Ltd. Shalima's intricate
work with fondant brought sea creatures to life.
I chose a chocolate/vanilla marble cake, a flavour that is
a crowd pleaser for both chocolate and vanilla lovers
and, most importantly, a flavour my baby could taste!
Remember to choose a size of cake that will supple-
ment the amount of cupcakes you are having, and
which will fit on a nice tiered display stand if you can get
one rented or borrowed.
5) Cookie magic
I ordered hand-crafted Under The Sea themed cookies
made by Cloud Nine Cookies, owned by Michelle
Sharma. Cookies can also be used as party favours, if
they are individually wrapped. These sea creature cook-
ies complimented the cake perfectly and formed a great
element in the cake display on the tiered stand. I used
blue straw paper as a bed for the cookies to sit on, cre-
ating a lovely ocean feel.
6) The decorations
Decorations can be handmade or store-bought, in keep-
ing with your theme. We made a colourful Happy
Birthday Banner, an ocean-themed table skirt and hang-
ing jellyfish garland to decorate the table. All very simple
and easy and cost effective!
7) Party favours
I headed to Fair and Square in Chaguanas and
bought very reasonable beach toys and ocean-
themed stuffed toys to give each toddler as a
party favour. Attached to each favour was a
simple thank you note we printed at home.
For the older kids, I bought large bubble
wands. I don't really believe in party bags as
most of the contents, especially candy and
miniature toys, are usually just cast aside. I
also would not use a piñata for a first birth-
day party as it would seem more suited for
and older child's birthday celebration.
8) The food
Keeping it somewhat simple and candy free,
you can use snacks from home, in addition
to some great finger foods (such as puffs,
quesadillas, sandwiches, spring rolls,) provid-
ed by the restaurant or venue:
• Ice bucket of Yoplait Gogurt
• Quaker Oats Soft Cereal bars
• Fresh fruit cups
• Home-made caramel popcorn
• Brownie bites
• Goldfish crackers
1st Birthday must-haves
Make it baby friendly with splash pools, playmats, baby
toys, baby bouncy house, baby handprint and footprint
craft with finger paints.
Music, games and atmosphere must be suitable to chil-
dren and not have adult content.
Keep the décor simple and DIY to save on money
Choose a location based on the comfort of your baby
and ensure you have an area to comfortably change the
babies' clothing, diapers, etc.
Stick to your budget!
Suzette Camacho is the founder of Trini Moms, the
first parenting network in Trinidad and Tobago.
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