61 answers

Birthday Party etiquette...do I Really Have to Feed ALL These People???

Ok mamas, I need some advice. I booked my daughter's 7th birthday party several weeks ago and considering her birthday is not until April, I thought I was really on the ball. Well, not so much. The place was booked solid the month of Saturdays before and after her birthday. Sooo, I had to book it on a Sunday. Which would not have been a big deal if I could have gotten it around 2. But it's a public indoor pool, and the only time you can do private parties is before 2 or after 8! So, we are doing on a Sunday from 11:30 to 1:30. Already not in the best taste, I know.

But that part is done, and I'm just going to have to hope people don't think I'm totally rude for it. My question for y'all is, do I HAVE to feed everyone lunch?? The place we are having it is already pretty expensive. And part of the reason for having it there is that, first she REALLY wanted to, and second because there is not limit to how many you can have. So I can have all her friends AND her family. LOT of people if we're talking about food! I'm of course going to do cake and ice cream, but should I have lunch too??? TIA!

I

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Thanks for all the awesome advice! I'm still not completely decided, but I definitely got a lot of GREAT ideas! I'm leaning toward having some big bowls of popcorn, chex mix, and trail mix on the table and a cooler of kool aid and a cooler of water. Then I can also do cup cakes and ice cream cups. I should've mentioned that the party room is is a completely seperate area from the pool, so no one will be in there until I say, "Ok kids get out!" Since I want the kids to have every possible second they can to swim, I think doing a meal would just be too time consuming. We'll see how it goes!!

Featured Answers

Little Ceasars (and maybe Cici's too) has 1 topping large pizzas for $5.55 each. They'll feed a crowd without breaking the bank & all things considered may be easier and more filling than bringing an assortment of snack foods.

2 moms found this helpful

I agree with the moms that say you have to feed them - you would have to have it earlier (9-11 or even 10-12) or later (8-10) in order to avoid feeding people. Kids, especially little kids, will just get more unruly without non-sugary foods and the spirit of the party should be for everyone to have fun, not how many people you can have. I've asked friends with older kids about when to expect that kids will show up to parties without their parents, and it seems that now it's more like when they are closer to "tween" ages (10-12), so you are close to that, but not there yet. Sorry!

Pizza is always good and reasonable:) Plus, works for vegetarians too.

2 moms found this helpful

Generally, if I have a party around lunch time, I provide lunch. However, being that it is a swim place, the kids will probably be busy swimming. You can always just put on the invitation "cake, ice cream, and light snacks will be served" and then people will know you aren't planning on serving a big lunch, but you should probalby have chips, maybe some finger sandwiches, fruit and veggie tray plus the cake and ice cream.

1 mom found this helpful

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If cost is an issue then you need to revamp the guest list. Or have the party somewhere else. And yep, you have to feed people when you host a party during the lunch hour. Most people would be leaving their homes around 11 to get to your party so they would have to eat "lunch" at 10 or 10:30 if they ate before the party. You don't have to serve a full 3 course meal but you need to have plenty of finger foods, drinks and snacks.

3 moms found this helpful

A., that is a mighty big question and everyone has their own opinions about it. Very interesting. Yes you should, no you don't have to...very confusing.

Maybe this will help:
1. Do you want to feed them?
2. Do you feel responsible to feed them?
3. Will our life change with either decision that you make? (ex: don't feed them and maybe 1 or 2 find it "wrong" OR you spend another $100 on food and you struggle because of that)

Bottom line, do what you FEEL IS RIGHT FOR YOUR FAMILY.

My girls are 14 and 10 and I will tell you i have never had more than cake, ice-cream and fruit at my parties. No matter what time of day or where they were being held. We had my daughters 6th birthday at the local pool (it was her birthday right after her final swimming lesson so it was easy to invite a lot of kids) There was no way I was going to feed them AND pay $250 for the pool to be open 2 more hours. In the invitation I simply wrote: you are invited to Rydel's swim party from Noon to 2 PM. Cake, ice-cream and some fruit will be provided at 1:30. Please feed your little fishes before the party. There was not even one parent who made a comment AGAINST what I did. On the contrary...I had about 10 of them tell me THAT IS WHAT I AM DOING NEXT YEAR!!! The birthday party was simple and other than the cost of the pool, it was quite reasonable.

A couple of other things that I do or have done:

NO LOOT BAGS - no junk needed. I never understood why kids got a gift for bringing a gift.

NO JUNK FOOD - that is just my simple rule for everything.

NO PRESENTS - as the girls got older they of course picked more expensive places to go. so the invitations simply read this:
"Taylor Rae is 10 today, and she would LOVE for you to come rock climbing with her. The only present that she wants is your presence. Cost is $15 per climber." Parents would call me and tell me what a fabulous idea it was, and the parents who thought it was "tacky", who cares! The kids had a great time and it didn't cost me an arm and a leg.

Hope this helps!

B.
Family Success Coach

3 moms found this helpful

Little Ceasars (and maybe Cici's too) has 1 topping large pizzas for $5.55 each. They'll feed a crowd without breaking the bank & all things considered may be easier and more filling than bringing an assortment of snack foods.

2 moms found this helpful

How about keeping your "cake served" notation on the card, but having one snack. How about several bowls of popcorn- talk about INEXPENSIVE and easy.
I make homemade kettle corn by filling my favorite medium sized Rival pan with a good layer of popcorn, and then I put 2-3 times as much oil over it. Put plenty of oil. I don't even have to shake the pan. I just put the heat on and let it pop until it slows to a 2 second no-pop. It fills up the whole pan and usually pops the lid right off... If it is still popping, i quickly dump half of it in the waiting mega bowl and put the lid back on and continue. When done I season it with plenty of salt and sugar. keep mixing it in and tasting it until its good,. then pour it into zip loc bags or a large tupperware with the snap lid. You can make it the night before, as long as you don't butter it. The high amount of oil in it will keep it fresh and palatable.

Make some coolaide and put it in thermos picnic jugs, if you dont have them borrow them. Get small paper cups and bring a sharpie to write names. Also bring a homedrawn jugs of ice water, and ice in a cooler. Don't spend hoardes of money on boxed and bottled drinks.

The kids WILL be hungry after swimming. Big batches of kettle corn can be a nice snack.
I also like to cut apples into quarter slices or smaller, seed them, and put the peices back together so that the apple is in its original shape, less its seed inards, then wrap them in foil. I put them in ziplocs. they are great to serve for hikes and picnics. try to make a quarter peice for each kid. Buying apples in the bulk bags may be cheaper.

2 moms found this helpful

YES. if you can't afford to feed so many people, you shouldn't invite all of them. You can't have a party at lunchtime and not provide food. Imagine how you'd feel if you took you kids to a "party" at lunchtime and there wasn't any food. You'd have a car full of cranky, hungry kids (along with yourself).

2 moms found this helpful

I agree with the moms that say you have to feed them - you would have to have it earlier (9-11 or even 10-12) or later (8-10) in order to avoid feeding people. Kids, especially little kids, will just get more unruly without non-sugary foods and the spirit of the party should be for everyone to have fun, not how many people you can have. I've asked friends with older kids about when to expect that kids will show up to parties without their parents, and it seems that now it's more like when they are closer to "tween" ages (10-12), so you are close to that, but not there yet. Sorry!

Pizza is always good and reasonable:) Plus, works for vegetarians too.

2 moms found this helpful

Yes you need to feed them. You're having the party over the lunch hour, so it will be expected, especially since you're having children. I would plan something simple. You can get the really big subs from Subway for fairly reasonable. You can even get lots and lots of lunch meat, bread, condiments and make your own deli meat trays. We just did a lunch p arty for my daughter's 3rd birthday. I served sandwiches, a queso dip, chips and a veggie tray and, of course, cake and ice cream. It's lunch so you don't need to put on a HUGE spread. Just keep in mind that people will be hungry because they're swimming. You can count on the kids to just want the cake though! :D

2 moms found this helpful

Because the party takes place right at lunchtime, you really should serve it. But, take heart! There are a few things you can do to help ease the expense of feeding a lot of people.

1. Make it a potluck. You said you are inviting her friends and HER family. These people are your family too. Talk to them. Let them know how many people are invited and ask that each adult family member bring a dish.

2. Talk to a few of your closer family members, explain the situation with the timing on the party being the only time you could schedule the party and ask them if, in lieu of a gift (since she'll be getting gifts from friends and I don't foresee a shortage there), maybe they could help pitch in for food to feed everyone lunch. I'm not sure how "in good taste" this is, but I'm betting you'd have a relative or two that would be willing to help with the expense.

3. Go cheap with hot dogs, store brand chips, and koolaide. Skip the soda (adults can bring their own and kids don't need it), koolaide is much more economical. Bar S hotdogs are really good and they are reasonably priced. Store brand chips are just as good as name brand, Kroger or Wal-Mart have the best.

Good luck and I really hope this helps! And wish that precious young lady a happy birthday from all us Mamapedia moms!

2 moms found this helpful

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