As your baby's first birthday approaches, it's a true milestone for you and your family. And given its importance, it's never too early to start planning the festivities. Since the celebration is for adults as much as the children, make it a memorable event for everyone by using ideas from these top 10 tips.

  1. Your birthday child is still very young and probably taking daytime naps, so plan a party that's no longer than 2 hours.
  2. As you know, parents are busy people so make sure you send or email the party invitation at least 3 weeks in advance so as many guests will be able to attend.
  3. Choose a simple theme that you can carry through the party decorations and cake. Animals or the first letter of the birthday child's name are a good choice for one-year old learners.
  4. Party hats always make great photos, especially for Instagram and Facebook, so make sure you have hats for the big people as well as the children.
  5. If older children are invited, have an activity planned for them, whether it's a simple craft project they can complete and take home or an active outdoor game.
  6. Plan a light menu for the adults, since parents with children the same age as your birthday child will be there. A buffet table of savory goodies like veggie sticks and dips, mini sandwiches and a cheese board will keep everyone happy until the cake arrives.
  7. Nothing says a very special birthday more than a very special birthday cake. If you're confident in the kitchen, there are great DIY cake ideas online. If not, order a cake from your favorite bakery or market in advance.
  8. Love cupcakes? A tiered platter of cupcakes in different sizes for adults and children make a great celebratory statement. And no cake-cutting responsibilities for you.
  9. Everyone loves shopping for birthday presents, so let your guests know what's appropriate. Signing up for a gift registry is a great solution, too. Just remember, at this age your child may love the gift wrap more than the gift itself.
  10. On the day of the party, make sure you leave enough time to get everything ready — ask a friend or family member to come over early and help. And when the party begins — enjoy every moment.