Ian's 1st Birthday Book Party: Invites and Decor


Ian turned one at the beginning of the month! So hard to believe. I always get a bit sad at first birthdays. But we had a really fun time celebrating:)

Ian looves to read...its the first thing he wants to do when he wakes up in the morning and right after naps. A lot of the times you will just find him chillin' on the floor in his room or in the "book nook" in our new playroom flipping through a book. So cute! So I decided it might be fun to throw him a book party...and everyone could bring him a book to add to his "library" instead of a gift.

I went old school library card bookplate on the invitations. This is definitely not an original concept...I just browsed etsy and other places for inspiration and ideas and then recreated my own design based on what I liked from others.  I purposely messed with the typewriter and stamped text to get them to look a bit old and worn and imperfect.

I included one of these super sweet personalized bookplates from etsy seller Pera Press in with each invite so that guests could fill them out and stick them into the book that they brought. I think it will be nice to look back in a few years when we are still reading them and remember who each book is from/who was at his first birthday party.


When we decided to have the party at 4pm (after his afternoon nap), I thought it would be fun to also add a kind of "bedtime" story theme spin off to everything...so we asked the kids to come in their pajamas and planned on just serving snacks and desserts (think cookies and milk). This also gave me a bit more to work with in terms of decor, etc than just books. (Think moon and stars and night time.)

To greet guests on their way in from outside, I drew a message on our chalkboard easel and filled the baskets underneath with lots of books we already had. A couple of pre-ordered balloons from Party City (including 2 gold stars) finished things off.

The mantel is an easy spot to redecorate for a party so I had fun adding books here...my old Hardy Boys from when I was little (with brass duck book ends) and Paddington (with matching stuffed animal that I brought home for Maura and Ian when I went to London this winter). 

You guys have seen this custom birthday banner before...I bought it from etsy seller CowCountryCreations when Maura had her first birthday and have used it every birthday since. When Ian's bday was fast approaching, I contacted Michelle to see if she could make me just his name to match and I could re-use the "Happy" and "Birthday" parts (though I restrung them on blue ribbon since Maura's came on hot pink). She was super nice and speedy about it, highly recommend:)

In the dining room where we served the food, I made and hung some simple bunting out of pages from a giant Beatrix Potter book I already had. This was a simple and fun project...I just ripped out the pages I wanted, cut them all to the same size rectangle (6" x 8") using my paper cutter, measured and cut off the sides to make the triangles, scored a small split at the top right and left hand corners of each flag and then strung them on baker's twine from Michaels.

I added a runner of brown kraft paper ($1 for the whole roll at the dollar store - such a great buy!) to the table and for a centerpiece I mixed white and green flowers (from the supermarket) with books and other sort of vintage baby-ish stuff (both Paul and my shoes from when we were babies!).

Just like I did for Maura's first and second birthdays, I made a little garland out of Ian's monthly elephant chair pics...lol, he's just the cutest:)

We served drinks and did a craft project in the kitchen, so I wanted to have some decor here too. I decided to play off the bedtime thing and try to make (as Maura called it) a "night sky" feel in here. I cut a ton of stars out of champagne metallic card stock (using a star cookie cutter as a template) and hung them from the ceiling using clear fishing wire and draped the metallic star garland I purchased from Land of Nod last Christmas from the light. I wanted to try to make the ceiling dark and figured lots of streamers would be the cheapest and quickest way...I couldn't find navy streamers at the party store so I went with a random mix of black and royal blue...this part ended up being a bit more cliche prom than I would have liked, but the kids dug it:) PS. I took the streamers down right after the party but the stars are still hanging from the ceiling now, they just look cool!

I'll post some pics of the other aspects of the party soon (that's a relative term!), but in the meantime, hope everyone has a great July 4th weekend!!

PS. To check out Maura's 2nd birthday party, go here. To see her 3rd birthday fairy party, go here and here:) And I just realized that I probably have to get moving on her 4th birthday party soon...I think we're going to do My Little Ponies!!!


  1. Just adorable! Every detail is perfect and I love that you had the kids come in jammies and served desserts and snacks. Your decorations are sweet as can be and I am sure it was a delightful gathering. You are the best mama!

  2. Sarah, I have been out of the blogging loop for quite a while, so I am catching up, but feeling like I never left! You are so creative! I love everything about this party, especially how you used so much of what you already had (the books, the baby shoes, the brass duck bookends). I think my favorite element is the adorable bunting you made from the Beatrix Potter book. So many beautiful, thoughtful details!

    Nice to "see" you again!

    Erin (formerly from Out on a Limb)

  3. It was nice to have it.Party means always fun and joy to me.So like other people it is a pleasure to have party invitation online from anyone.

  4. Super amazing book theme 1st birthday bash. It seems like a catchy theme for kid’s birthday parties. I would like to have that last one on my daughter’s 5th birthday. We are planning to invite so many guests to this party so need spacious San Francisco venues. Waiting for the day!


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