Help me throw the best Birthday Party for my wife
March 20, 2013 6:26 AM   Subscribe

My wife is approaching a milestone birthday and she's drawn up a list of people she would like to invite. Originally, we were going to have it at our house, but when the invitee list passed 150, we decided we don't want that many people roaming through the place. She wants to cancel the event, but I want to throw her a party anyway.

Realistically, our total budget is around $1000 which has to include food for the guests. Other than reserving a section at a public park and having a BBQ (not a bad idea except for the heat and bugs), what are some other low cost options for a big party. We're in Orlando, Fl if you have any specific advice for the area.
posted by IndigoSkye to Food & Drink (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Are you or anyone in your family a member of a church? My wife's church routinely lets people use their gymnasium for birthday and other parties, gratis. Your challenge then becomes feeding and watering everyone for about $7/person, which is very doable.
posted by jbickers at 6:30 AM on March 20, 2013

I dunno, I once invited over 100 people to a party in my 400-square-foot apartment. They don't all come at the same time, and when it gets crowded it just seems more fun! Surely chaos on a birthday is fun -- you just can't really plan many staged moments, at least not unless you're willing to climb up on the furniture...
posted by acm at 6:41 AM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

Do it at your place! Not everyone will come, and their times will be staggered. What about hosting a brunch open house from 10-3? Bagels, coffee, quiche, juices, fruit salad, maybe mini cupcakes.
posted by barnone at 6:43 AM on March 20, 2013 [2 favorites]

Just as a clarification, she wants to cancel the event because she can no longer have it at her house, and thus, would not be amenable to having the party?

Or does she not want to have the party because her guest list is too big and she doesn't want to exclude anyone, so she'd rather not have a party at all?
posted by Flamingo at 6:43 AM on March 20, 2013

Response by poster: She doesn't want to deal with the logistics of holding it at our house. I think she'd be open to having one elsewhere, but want to approach her with a plan instead of a plan for a plan. :)
posted by IndigoSkye at 6:46 AM on March 20, 2013

Check out some apartment complexes and condos, they have Party Rooms. Surely someone you know has access to one of these. They cost about $100 to rent for an afternoon/evening, and about $250 for a cleaning deposit.

They may even abut a pool, which would be optimal.

These party rooms have plenty of seating, tables and usually a kitchen. There may also be a pool table and a big TV.

Then go to Costco and pick up some platters, a sheet cake and go to town.

As for your gift, a fun thing is to give her as many little presents as her years on the planet. So if she's 30, find 30 little things and wrap them up. I write a little couplet on each one. For example, a sleep mask, "Rest your eyes and don't you peep, Even at noon, you'll surely sleep."

Go to a Dollar Store for the stuff, it's fun, it's labor intensive and it can show how much she means to you and be an activity at the party!

Have a blast!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:49 AM on March 20, 2013

Use your connections. A relative was on the pool board, so they used the cabin attached to their club for his milestone birthday. Another person used the party room at her job (they held socials for clients) for free. If you know someone who has access to some place like this, they can likely get it for cheap.
posted by DoubleLune at 6:51 AM on March 20, 2013

Check out VFW and American Legion Halls. In the northeast, these can very in price from a couple hundred for the night and up. What is great is they usually have a bar on-site and drinks are usually not very expensive!
posted by chiefthe at 7:07 AM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

How about doing it potluck, everyone bring food, you supply the cake, ice cream and drinks. Are there any pavilions at local parks that you can reserve?
posted by mareli at 7:07 AM on March 20, 2013

Ask around and see if anyone knows of any spaces that are available. VFWs, American Legions, Women's Clubs, and local parks often have spaces they rent out. I would also just google "[your general location] + party hall".

You could also consider asking local restaurants, many of which may be open to closing to the public for a private party. This way would be easiest to arrange food and drink, as it will be in-house, but may be more expensive.

You may also look at wedding forums or just look online for "[your location] + wedding reception" as 150 people is wedding-size and you may find there are more interesting spaces (museums, convention spaces, historical sites) that are available to rent out, at a variety of price points.

For example, I live near the Liberty Science Center and they rent out all different parts of the museum for private events, which I think is awesome.
posted by rachaelfaith at 7:25 AM on March 20, 2013

Open house allows people to come and go and spreads out the crowd.
Ask if she'd like a surprise party - where she knows there will be a party, but you plan it. A friend combined her ends-in-0 party with 2 other friends having milestone parties, and they were able to have a big hall, bartender, and band. Way fun. At another friend's milestone ends-in-0 party, we brought art supplies and card stock, and encouraged people to make cards, write stories, etc., for a scrapbook. also fun.
posted by theora55 at 12:11 PM on March 20, 2013

You might also see if your Park District has spaces for rent.
posted by sarajane at 1:38 PM on March 20, 2013

If you rent a space, be sure to find out about rules regarding alcohol - some places don't allow it and some have you get a short-term liability policy to cover any mishaps.

I'd lean toward having it at your home, and using your budget to hire catering/clean-up staff and maybe a bartender so that you both can relax and enjoy rather than worrying about party chores. Not all invitees will be able to attend, so your crowd is unlikely to be 150+.
posted by quince at 2:38 PM on March 20, 2013

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