Hosting my first-ever birthday party - and it's for a preteen!
May 6, 2008 10:57 PM Subscribe
I am throwing my first birthday party ever, for my pre-teen niece. Needless to say, I'm completely out of touch when it comes to kids' birthday parties (having not attended any since the 1980s) and don't know what's considered typical and usual. Please share your experiences and advice.
posted by parilous to grab bag (20 answers total)
This is probably an easy AskMe, but I'm really clueless when it comes to logistics of a kids' birthday party.
1. Cost. How much do these typical things cost? We were thinking of a budget of $150 for the party and another $20 for the cake/ice cream. Is that realistic for a girl of her age, or is it on the low side? Guest count will likely be 6-15 people.
2. Goody bags. Are they still required/expected, or are they passe? If they're still expected, what kind of stuff to put in male/female goody bags for 6th-going-on-7th graders that costs less than about $30 total?
3. Invitations. There's no rule at her school about having to invite everyone in her class, so how do we do this? Her birthday is in July and school finishes on May 22nd -- do kids use "save the dates"? Or how is it that kids relay the information about the birthday party back to the parents BEFORE we're able to give them an ACTUAL invitation?
(We can't send out specific invitations because what we do depends on how many kids can attend. We basically have to test the waters to see how many kids can likely attend and then we pick the party location, sending out the invitations when we know for sure.)
4. Unexpected guests. Is there a way to word the invitations that indicates that we're only reserving/paying for the number of people that RSVP and that any unexpected arrivals -- including parents who want to stay for the party -- will be asked to pay their own admission, or is that poor etiquette?
5. Opening gifts. Are gifts opened at the party? Do they have to be? Should they be? If they are, should the birthday kid still send out "thank yous" or is opening the gifts and thanking the gifter in public sufficient?
6. Bringing in the birthday cake. Most of the places allow you to bring in a birthday cake. One of the party ideas we have is to send the kids to a matinee movie. Has anyone ever tried doing the birthday cake thing in a mall Food Court? Is it better to get forgiveness (at the time, surrounded by a dozen pre-teens) rather than permission (where it could easily be denied)?
7. Is there anything that I'm missing that is considered standard at parties nowadays? The poor kid has been through a lot; I want to make her birthday as normal, usual, and predictable as possible.
Also, a caveat: I do data analysis for a living. I also single-handedly planned our wedding for 120 people. It is entirely possible that I'm overthinking this whole process.