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Planning a First Birthday Party with the help of Keely Thorne!


Keely Thorne is a mom, wife, and event planner in Houston, Texas. She founded her namesake company, Keely Thorne Events, in 2008 and today has a team of 7 full time event planners helping to create some of the South’s most stunning weddings and events. Originally from Louisiana, Keely has always had a passion for hospitality and entertaining. After marrying her college sweetheart in 2005 she decided that events were absolutely her calling. Within a few short years she became a household name for events in Houston and started her well-known brand.

logoIn 2012 Southern Living magazine named her one of the top event planners in the South and that year was only topped when she and Bill welcomed their first child, her daughter Greer, to the family. Having children definitely sparked a new creative outlet and passion for Keely as attending and throwing kid-friendly parties was now a must! In the summer of 2014 Keely and Bill welcomed their son, Grey, making it a party of four.

Today Keely continues to oversee her growing company while balancing ‘mommy life’. Her children have given her a newfound love events and the excitement that parties cane bring to both the young and young at heart!

Tips from Keely for Planning a 1st Birthday Party:

“Remember that it’s just a party…celebrate what really matters and forget the rest! With any event there can always be the slightest hiccup. Don’t let it ruin your fun!!”

Congratulations! You survived year 1 of your little one being welcomed into the family! Let’s be honest, there were a lot of highs, a few lows, and not enough caffeine…ever. Now the task is here to plan a first birthday party to end all first birthday parties! Wait…you haven’t started planning yet? You don’t have the best face painter or balloon artist booked? Gasp! Well moms and dads I’m hear to tell you that is TOTALLY fine! There has been so much pressure put on parents today to throw over-the-top parties for a kid that really just wants a piece of cake and a nap. And if we are all honest with ourselves these parties are truly for us. Granted I have planned over-the-top events for a decade for my clients but I have found in planning my own kid’s parties that keeping things simple and kid friendly is the best way to approach a first birthday! Here are my top 10 tips for planning a first birthday and a few details from each of my kid’s celebrations! ENJOY!

  1. Keep It Simple If you want to play off of a theme or particular color pattern, go for it! Just remember that people are less likely to notice your cute details if you have too many so just focus on what is most important to you!
  2. Pick a party time that doesn’t conflict with nap or meal schedules Having a hangry or tired one year old on your hands does not a good party make!
  3. Limit your guest list We all know your little one is going to be super popular with lots of friends, but it might be best to save the large friend parties for when they can enjoy their company. Keep your guest list limited to your closest friends and family if possible.
  4. Don’t go overboard on the food and especially don’t forget food options for the kids! If you choose to host your party during a mealtime (i.e. noon) then be prepared to feed people a meal! But if you choose a party time like 9:00am or 2:00pm stick to easy to grab-and-go snack options that will appeal to both parents and kids.
  5. Don’t be afraid to request ‘no gifts, please’ on your invite! Our little ones just don’t understand all of the new toys being bestowed upon them just yet and having so many new options can be a bit overwhelming! Not to mention it’s a lot to ask so much of friends and family as well. There will always be a few gifts brought anyway and this gives you a chance to purchase something special for them as well.
  6. Have toys and activities that appeal to all age ranges of kids attending your party! Whether you have a Lego table, face painter, skating, play ground, etc. just be sure that any kids attending your event will find something fun to do. Even a one year old will need some type of entertainment and trashing your toy room might not be what you had in mind at the end of the day!
  7. Hire a photographer! Even if your photographer is a relative who knows their job is to capture every detail, be sure you take time to sort out this detail! You spend so much time entertaining guests and tracking down your little one that by the time the party is over you realize you don’t have one photo from the event! Make sure you get photos of your event before the first guest arrives and during all those special moments during the party!
  8. Always start a party with an empty dishwasher and empty trashcans! There is nothing worse than a pile of dishes or overflowing trashcans just minutes into a party. Be sure you plan ahead so you don’t have to take yourself away from your guests during the event if you plan to entertain at home.
  9. Balloons, Balloons, Balloons! I don’t know one child that doesn’t get giddy at the sight of a balloon! It’s one of the easiest things you can do to decorate and also a super easy party favor for kids to take with them as they leave which in turn helps you with a little bit of cleanup too!
  10. Remember that it’s just a party…celebrate what really matters and forget the rest! With any event there can always be the slightest hiccup. Don’t let it ruin your fun!!

Both of my children’s first birthday parties were held at our home with a limited group of friends and family that we knew we could easily accommodate. Below are photos from each of their special day’s…we had so much fun at them both! Greer’s party had a polka dot and “Oh What Fun, Greer’s Turning One” theme and Grey’s party was even more simple with his favorite, “Cookies & Milk!”

Greer's party pics

Oh What Fun, Greer’s Turning One!


Grey’s Cookies and Milk Party!

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