Perfect 1st birthday gift: I have a few go-to's depending on the price range, like the Boppin' To the Beatz Headphone Hoodie from Psychobaby ($40), Name Train Letters from Sprout San Francisco ($4.95 per letter), and Land of Nod Beanbag Chair ($99). And I always love something personalized!
Food and dessert: Keep it simple. Most of the babies won't be able to eat the adult food at a first birthday party. Do pizza if it's in the afternoon or bagels or brunch food if it's in the morning. Make sure to have pouches, fruit and other nibbles for the babies. Everyone loves a good birthday cake, so this is where I would spend my budget if I had to make a choice.
Theme and venue: Make it something that you will have fun planning because likely the only memory your little one will have is from the pictures! The first birthday party is unique in that it is a party for the parents, too. I am a big proponent for making it something everyone will enjoy. I love the upstairs at two of my favorite pizzerias, Roots Pizza and Pizzeria Serio. They have TVs, great food, drinks and a great open space.
Top tips: Don't break the bank. You can have a nice party and have fun with your friends without getting caught up in the moment. It's easy to feel pressure, but don't! Just remember that all of your friends with kids are just going to be excited to celebrate with you and have a fun way to spend their time between naps.