As a mom of a now 1 year old, you would imagine the excitement and joy that I experienced as my son approached his 1st birthday. I had already begun planning his party by the 9th month and sent out party invitations by the time he turned 10 months. However, as the threat of covid-19 loomed and its inevitable arrival on our island was confirmed I was forced to postpone my baby boy’s very first birthday celebration. Although I was quite disappointed I knew that postponing was the most responsible thing to do for the health and safety of my son and myself as well as our invited party guest and their family.
A few weeks prior to the birth date I started toying with the idea of doing a small Zoom party to celebrate with his cousins and friends. I threw it out there to my sister Louise and also during conversation one day with my cousin Namene. They both confirmed to me that it seemed like a great idea. That same day my cousins Namene and Sally did a group video call to give me some cool ideas. With this being even more confirmation that it was a good idea I continued to give the idea of a zoom party even more thought.
A week and a half to my sons birthday my sister messaged me asking whether I had all my plans finalized. Unfortunately I did not have anything in place. So she got into ‘super aunty’ mode and basically propelled me into action towards planning this celebration for my baby boy. Can you tell that she likes celebrations? LOL! One week prior to the birthday I had invitations sent out which were designed by ‘super-aunty’ Louise and voila! We were officially on our way to Shi’s official first birthday party Zoom celebration.
I decided to share my experience because there may just be a new mom who is eager to celebrate her little ones milestone but cannot figure out how to celebrate amidst this unfortunate pandemic.
Here are a few tips on how I planned and executed my son’s first birthday celebration/get-together via the Zoom platform:
Decide On A Party Theme
One of the first things I did was decide on a theme for the party. In this case I stuck with my original Winnie the Pooh party theme which I had selected for the original party. I just absolutely loved Winnie the Pooh as a kid and I think my son is just as warm and cuddly as Winnie.
Send Out Party Invites
Your zoom party is a special occasion and sharing it with loved ones and friends can help make this event so much more fun and memorable. Creating fun, party invitations for your guests is a particularly nice way to kick off your special event and let others know that you want them to share in creating special memories for this milestone with you.
Schedule The Meeting on Zoom in Advance
Securing your spot on Zoom is a great way to help make things official. I scheduled the meeting the same day that the invitations were sent out. One week in advance! This way it gives you time to make adjustments to your meeting. For example when I first scheduled the meeting I did not notice that the meeting was scheduled outside of my timezone. Therefore, I had to edit my meeting in order to accommodate the desired time. If I didn’t schedule the meeting in advance and did not have the time to go over it’s details prior to the party imagine what a disaster that could have been.
Party Decorations & Party Props
No party is complete without party decorations. This is why I ensured to put together a nice party decor in keeping with the “Winnie the Pooh 100 Acre Wood” theme. Luckily I had already purchased some of my party decor before Covid-19 took everything downhill. Therefore I just used the items I already had along with a few other bits and pieces that I have stored in my party/decor stash (yes I got one of those boxes lol). I’d advise anyone thinking about throwing a zoom party to do your very best on your decorations in order to help make your event for as close to the real thing as possible. Decorate the room as if you were expecting guest at a physical party. Even if we did not have to physically welcome guest it created a nice ambiance and feeling of celebration. Doing this will encourage you to create more lasting memories even during a very difficult period.
Prepare a Few Snacks for Party Goers Who Live with You
No party isn’t complete without party snacks and Zoom parties are no exception. I created a few snacks which included cake balls, beehive doughnut hole, chocolate chip cookies and some chocolate cupcakes.
Put Together A Party Playlist
Compile a list of some of baby’s favorite songs along with other fun party songs (audience appropriate). In this case we chose fun kids party songs geared at getting everyone moving.
DIY The Birthday Cake
Due to covid-19 and the high risk of infection associated with this virus I decided against ordering a cake. This is where I experienced a bit of stress because while I knew how to make a cake from scratch I had never iced a cake before. I rang my sister up and she was like, ‘well you got to make that cake sis!’ So equipped with some of my favorite tools aka youtube, piniterest and instagram I got to work on a design and purchasing my ingredients. I watched several videos on how to ice a cake and decided that as a newbie I would just do the ‘crumb coat’ design. I think it’s easy and quite a modern look. I actually tried the drip effect but that was a complete fail..LOL. I scraped that off and stuck with the naked iced effect. I made my own cake toppers and Voila we had a birthday cake for baby boy!
I put together a short party program that would capture lovely, fun memories from my son’s first year as well as other activities that all the kids could get in on. In this case one activity was creating a Winnie the Pooh drawing which each guest would mail to Shi as soon as things got back to normal. That way he would have a keepsake from his Zoom party from everyone who was there to share in this experience.
Send Out Thank You Cards
Thank you cards are a nice way to express your gratitude to your party guest for accepting your invitation to share in the milestone with you. It’s a lovely warm final touch to make the event complete.
Hope these few tips and ideas were useful.
Love and light!