July 18, 2014 -- It seems Americans are obsessed with all things royal. And as the world’s most famous prince approaches his first birthday, no doubt moms in the United States will be watching closely for ways to throw a royal first birthday bash.
Trouble is, they won’t be getting any over-the-top party planning ideas from Princess Kate. While baby’s first birthday is cause for major celebration here in the states – complete with smash cakes, smash cake outfits, professional photographers, gift registries and custom chalkboard posters – royal experts say Prince George’s first will be ultra low-key.
“It would be unseemly to make a great show of things and it's simply not the British way,” royals expert Victoria Arbiter Brown told ABC News.
Brown added that while Americans look to Kate for all things fashion, she doesn’t think the prince’s understated birthday celebration will have any influence at all on first birthday parties stateside, which seem to grow more elaborate – and more expensive -- every day.
One New York City mom told ABC News she spent $10K on her daughter's first birthday party, and that she had friends who spent double that amount. Julie Lam, owner of Mini Fetes in New York City, said an average first birthday party might have between 50 and 60 guests at a cost of $50 to $75 per person.
The parties she plans are reflective not only of the child, but the parents. “I sometimes ask to see clients' apartments just to find out what colors, patterns they like, or what decorative pieces they collect at home,” she said.
One first-birthday party trend she’s seeing is "celebrating the survival of first year of parenthood.” She has done boys’ “bow tie” parties “for highly sophisticated, proper and preppy parents, dads especially,” and 80s movies-inspired parties like Pretty in Pink for “parents who have the best memories of the 80s and want to reminisce the golden years” while incorporating their baby.
And of course, share the photos on social media.
Rebecca Michals, director of BabyCenter’s Global Community, said social media has had a “huge” impact on the growth of the importance of the first birthday party. It’s common for professional photographers to post perfect photos with the #FirstBirthday hashtag. But it’s not all about bragging.
“Some of it is to capture the perfect picture. They want to have that visual of their baby in the perfect outfit, smashing the perfect cake and they want to share that image far and wide,” Michals said. “But it's also because that perfect picture is a visual of how they feel about their baby, not just how the perfect picture reflects on them as a parent.”
U.S. moms who hope to raise their babies like a prince, however, might consider using their child’s birthday to do good for others.
Brown said the royals recently gave approval for the recording of a lullaby to aid a charity. Called “Lullaby for Prince George,” the song will be on album of royal-themed songs reported to be released by Sony later this year and benefiting Cruse Bereavement Care, which helps people survive the death of a loved one.
As it turns out, giving to others may not only be royal, but also the best way to have a memorable birthday.
Susan Cohen’s friends used their daughter’s birthday to honor Cohen’s son, who was born with a rare genetic condition. Alyson and Jordan Schwartz of New York City requested that instead of gifts for their daughter, donations be made to a charity in the boy’s honor.
“I was, and continue to be,” Cohen said, “simply floored by this act of kindness.”