Thursday, May 4, 2017

Bash and Dash: Outsourcing my daughter's Birthday party

Last year for my daughter’s birthday I really went above and beyond. I spent an exorbitant amount of money on cake, cookies and blueberry pies in the shape of butterflies. I had a fairy garden made, I hired Tinkerbell to come to the party, bought balloons and even borrowed a bounce house to inflate for the kids. My invitations were custom made and full of glitter and Charlotte had her own look alike Tinkerbell outfit. Even with all my perfect Pinterest party planning the inevitable happened – people cancelled last minute and only 8 kids showed up to the celebration. I’m sure Charlotte wasn’t devastated by I was and I vowed after eating the last of the leftovers by myself I wouldn’t go overboard on her birthday again.

So this year I outsourced.

We hire people to clean our houses, do our dry cleaning, teach our kids how to swim and even walk our dogs. Why shouldn’t we hire someone to do our child’s birthday party for us? When I found out the place she takes gymnastics at on Monday’s offered birthday parties I couldn’t get my credit card out fast enough. I’ll take the Big Birthday Bash please – the one that includes invites, 2 hours of fun, set-up and take-down plus goodie bags. I wasn’t about to have another party at my house where no one showed and I was left to do all the work.
I credit the other mother’s at Charlotte’s preschool for giving me the ideas. The past year she’s been in school she started to get invites to other children’s parties. Seeing these birthday bash’s hosted at places that didn’t include a home address sparked the idea. I vowed I wouldn’t go overboard like I did in the past and that the party would be the gift. I only needed to bring a cake and that’s all I told myself I would buy. A birthday party for less than $500 would make my husband and bank account happy plus no house cleaning before and after. A win/win for all.

Of course, I didn’t exactly follow my plan. I spent $168 on a cake and cupcakes from Valhalla Cakes in the Highlands but the princess castle funfetti cake tasted as good as it looked:

I also had custom cookies made by CookieCoterie, a lady I found on Etsy because, honestly, who doesn’t love a good cookie? The amazing part was, however, I was able to drop off all the treats, decorations, light up wands, noise makers and balloons at the site of the birthday party and they set everything up for me. We arrived to a beautiful party room with a table set up for the kids to eat and the cake and favors on display. I always purchase a book for my daughter on her birthday for people to sign and they made sure it was at the front by the waivers for the parents to fill out. Once all the kids arrived the girls there entertained the kiddos for an hour with games, gymnastics moves and music. We ordered pizza which arrived right on time and the hostesses served all the little ones while the parents chatted and ate. They then brought over the birthday cake, dimmed the light and led the birthday song before cutting it and serving that or cupcakes. We opted not to open presents so after the kids ate the teachers let them play in a giant castle they had created from gym mats. At the end they corralled all the children for a group photo, helped us carry the presents to our car and sent everyone off with a free class and goody-bag.

Much like a wedding coordinator, these party hostesses kept us on schedule and the momentum going throughout the evening. They made Charlotte feel like the special girl that she was by letting her lead the activities but treated the guests with equal kindness. We had a lot of friends there with their second babies so, for them, it was a lifesaver to have someone else dole out the food and beverages to their child. For me, the best part, was not having to clean my house beforehand, getting a chance to talk to all my guests and walking away from the party without leftovers or a destroyed living room. We celebrated with a trip to the brewery afterwards.

My husband, who isn’t much in favor of grand birthday gestures, was sold. He 
made the comment that never again would we have a party at our house. While it was fine for the first three years, it was nice to be able to invite up to 20 children and not worry about the ramifications of everyone showing up. Ironically we had 13 attend this year and I believe there’s something less intimidating for people about showing up at a public place rather than a private residence.

While I know I don’t have to plan anything for another year, I’ve already been online researching where we can hold our next birthday bash. Outsourcing our party planning was the best investment I’ve ever made in our mental sanity and, just like hiring a house cleaner, now I can never go back to my life prior.
Maybe I’ll even actually follow through with not going overboard next year….