DIY-able Home Party During A Pandemic: Paul’s First Birthday Celebration

We celebrated Paul’s 1st birthday a week ago, and it was as perfect a party as a party during a pandemic can be.

The Only Time Procrastinating Paid Off

A few years back, for both Mati and Hannah’s first birthday parties, we booked venues, menus and decors eight months in advance! (Haha I just realized that for our wedding, we only had six months to prepare!) It’s sometimes strange how things work themselves out in a way.

For Paul’s August birthday, we did zero planning since we were stuck thinking of what kind of party would we be hosting —  a kids party with magicians, singers, etc., or an adults-only lunch function like Hannah’s?

By the time February hit, there was already concern about the epidemic (not pandemic level yet), Albert and I just decided to put a hold on discussing the party altogether and take a wait-and-see approach. It turned out to be an unexpected blessing since we didn’t have any floating bookings and could more flexibly plan if we would want a more formal celebration next year, God-willing.

Where To Get What

For Paul’s birthday, I didn’t have a theme in mind so I just scrolled through Pinterest to see what would be the easiest (and stressless!) option. I felt like we hit the jackpot with this simple, classy jungle theme:

Balloon Backdrop

I love Shopee because there are vendors who sell pre-packed balloon set by theme. You don’t need to figure out how many of what color and what size to buy — so convenient!

This is the set we bought – I liked the variety of solid, glossy and metallic shades, as well as a good variation of sizes.  My friend Wella, who also styled Hannah’s 1st birthday two years ago, helped me inflate and put the balloons on the balloon strip. She came to our house with the balloons already in place and it just took us a few minutes to hang it on our ceiling. If you plan to DIY the balloons, it also helps if you have an electric air pump.

Behind the scenes: setting up the balloons at a corner of our living area

I just bought an additional extra large “1” balloon to put in the center. Also from Shopee, of course 😉


Scrolling through Pinterest with the keywords “jungle birthday cake” showed a LOT of wonderful designs with an array of jungle creatures. An easy pick was this timeless hand-drawn fondant cake that our suki Joan from Sally’s Sweetsies perfectly copied.

Extra Touches

Wella also bought some artificial plants and we used a wooden stool for Paul to have a standing shot with the cake. Artificial leaves (part of the Shopee balloon set)  were placed on the edge of a white study table.

We placed a Bonjour Baby rocker for Paul to ride, but he was still a bit hesitant, but Mati and Hannah had a blast rocking and pretending to race!

By the way, can’t stop raving about that Shopee set of balloons! There were so many extra balloons we just scattered them on the floor. We placed large throw pillows (bought way back at an H&M sale) on the floor for a more homey feel.


We were initially planning to have an online dedication ceremony with Paul’s godparents, but Albert felt it was too distant (literally and figuratively), so we are deferring that to when things get better.

Since the kids are too young for the usual party games, I casually mentioned having a cake smash a week before the party, and Hannah got so pumped up with the idea! We got a a yummy carrot cake from my friend Abbey of Beehive Pastries for the cake smash. It’s an established home bakery all the way in New Manila, and we’ve loved their apple pie, queso de bola cheesecake and carrot cake for years.

Here are some tips for your own cake smash party.

So that’s it! If you’ve noticed, I wrote in the title it’s a super DIY-able party — but with some help from great friends, it made for a very easy and hassle-free celebration.

Safety Note: 

We had two people come into our home for this celebration – Wella and our photographer friend, Jairus. It really depends on your own family’s safety protocols on whether or not to allow people to come in. Both of our friends hadn’t left their homes in the last 14 days, and we practiced social distancing and sanitized our home before and after their visit.

Stay safe and hope you enjoy your made-at-home-with-love celebrations! Despite everything, we still have a lot to be grateful for!




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