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Old 03-30-2013, 08:42 AM   #1
StitchesGr8Fan
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1st Birthday Parties - What's the norm in your area?

Out here in the middle of IL, it's starting to become huge, lavish 1st birthday parties, almost a combination of a shower and a party for a 5 year old.

Of the 3 1st birthday parties I have been to in the last 12 months, 2 of them were these big shindigs. By big, here is what I mean:
- a large venue was rented out
- all of the adults (and their spouses) invited to the shower were invited
- all of the child's friends (and their parents and siblings) were invited (the total invite list for both parties was close to 100 and about half came)
- full meals were catered (1 even had alcohol)

My DH and I watched our friends, the 2 sets of parents who threw these 2 parties, stress out about organizing and paying for them. They were expensive parties. The parties were themed ("Pat wanted a Wow Wow Wubzy party!" How does a 1 yo even know what a party theme is?) and the mothers ran all over town to find decorations for the theme.

In the end the parties were fine, but I don't think the kids cared one way or the other. The birthday kids spent the time being passed from adult to adult, so they didn't get to play with their friends, or the balloons (which is what they really wanted). Then after about 2 hours they got tired because it was their usual nap time so we had to rush them through cake and they were taken to a quiet area to nap, and their friends went home to nap. The rest of the adults sat around and ate and talked. I did hear at least one adult comment about not opening presents (Really? You expect a 1 yo to open a stack of presents that would fill an entire playpen?).

It looked like a lot of stress and a lot of money, for a party the kid won't remember. The adults did get some good memories and pictures so in their minds it was probably worth it. (Although at least 1 has said they wouldn't do it again.)

The other 1st birthday party we went to was just a small get together of family and close friends. The mother made a few dishes, and the aunt made a cake. The parents didn't see a need to spend a ton of money for a party, and didn't want to deal with tons of toys their kid would play with once. They still got their pictures of the baby tasting cake for the first time. But wouldn't you know, people made comments about there not being a big party (how will they explain to the kid when they are older that they didn't have a big party?!) or not being invited to the small party. But you can't make everyone happy.

So long story short, what is the norm in your area? Big parties, small get togethers, or somewhere in the middle? It seems to be split here right now. DH and I have already discussed that we will do a small part next year for our daughter's 1st, and save the money and the stress for when she gets older and wants to have birthday parties with her friends.
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Old 03-30-2013, 08:46 AM   #2
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I don't care what is normal in the party world. For my oldest, he had a fancy Mickey cake that was fairly pricey (compared to say Walmart cakes). His grandparents, great grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins were the only guests at our house. We made a burrito bar. The youngest will have a similar party in July for our youngest for his first. It worked for us.
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Old 03-30-2013, 08:48 AM   #3
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In my area, 1st birthdays are usually just family and close friends. Balloons, cake, ice cream, blow out the candles, that's pretty much it
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Old 03-30-2013, 08:56 AM   #4
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Big parties, of course! We just had about 30/40 guests at our home. I've never been to a first birthday party without alcohol! It's obviously a party for adults - toddlers don't care about parties.

After that, they get simple - pizza, cake, ice cream. When they get to school-aged, most parties are held at outside venues.
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Old 03-30-2013, 08:58 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WDWAurora View Post
I don't care what is normal in the party world. For my oldest, he had a fancy Mickey cake that was fairly pricey (compared to say Walmart cakes). His grandparents, great grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins were the only guests at our house. We made a burrito bar. The youngest will have a similar party in July for our youngest for his first. It worked for us.
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In my area, 1st birthdays are usually just family and close friends. Balloons, cake, ice cream, blow out the candles, that's pretty much it
Both of those sound like great parties to me!

I commented on a thread about baptism gifts that the trend for baptisms around here is huge parties too. I'm not sure when the shift towards larger celebrations started happening. It's just surprising that with the economy being what it is, that people are trending MORE towards expensive celebrations, instead of towards more intimate ones.
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Old 03-30-2013, 09:01 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by mjkacmom View Post
Big parties, of course! We just had about 30/40 guests at our home. I've never been to a first birthday party without alcohol! It's obviously a party for adults - toddlers don't care about parties.

After that, they get simple - pizza, cake, ice cream. When they get to school-aged, most parties are held at outside venues.
Exactly other than I have not been to one in a home- its usually out at a party room or some type of venue- full meal of course (you never have a party here no matter WHAT time without serving a meal, cake parties are just not done!) I think I had about 50 people at my daughters first birthday party-it was out in a party room of a local restaurant, had a clown for the kids, DJ etc.
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Old 03-30-2013, 09:02 AM   #7
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All the 1st birthday parties I have been to were family events at the child's house. Maybe a store bought cake, nothing more. By my son's 2nd, we moved to a local park, where the kids could ride a little train, merry go round, etc, but still pretty inexpensive.
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Old 03-30-2013, 09:03 AM   #8
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I had both my kids' parties at my husbands firehouse(they have a hall, but its small, holds maybe 40 people for a party, max)because my house is small. Family and close friends, probably 25-30 people, catered food, but nothing fancy. Nice cake from a bakery, presents, low key.
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Old 03-30-2013, 10:23 AM   #9
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I live in a culturally diverse area so the one year old birthday party norms aren't dependent on area or region but mainly culture. One of my Italian friends rented a hall for her son's first birthday. She said she didn't really want to, but felt it was expected of her, so she did.
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Old 03-30-2013, 11:13 AM   #10
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Most people I know, including myself, had a large 1st b-day party for each of their children. It could be at a restaurant, catering hall, or backyard.

It is mostly for friends/family of the parents. I know my kids didn't have friends at 1!

we did have entertainment at both, for the kids, mainly the other kids since the b-day child was too young.

All parties serve a meal of some kind and all serve alcohol for the adults.

We didn't start having "kids parties" until they were 4. Then it was a separate event just for the kids outside the home.
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Old 03-30-2013, 11:32 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StitchesGr8Fan View Post
Both of those sound like great parties to me!

I commented on a thread about baptism gifts that the trend for baptisms around here is huge parties too. I'm not sure when the shift towards larger celebrations started happening. It's just surprising that with the economy being what it is, that people are trending MORE towards expensive celebrations, instead of towards more intimate ones.
No shift here...I am 43 years old and there have always been big parties for baptism, 1st birthday and Communion parties. And we have never had a party without alcohol.


Ds15 1st birthday party in the backyard of our townhouse, catered with a tent, causal but still a lot of people

DS10 was born in Dec so his party was in Jan so his was in our house, but lots of family and friends. We lived in a bigger house by then.
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Old 03-30-2013, 11:43 AM   #12
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My little girl will be turning one in June & I have recently started planning her party. I thought I was planning a bit early although as I call venue after venue for the party to be held I'm being told that everywhere is booked, telling me I waited too long-- & the cake lady I'm working with is booked through September but she figured out how to fit me in ($120 for a PIG shaped cake- I think it's rediculous but my husband who worships the ground his baby girl crawls on is okay with it.) & the lady I'm having make her outfit has a 8 week turnaround time. So much planning for something she really won't care about- but as her mama I feel obligated. A couple months back I told a friend I wasn't having a party for her & she freaked out, saying I had to have a party & if I didn't she would throw her one-- maybe I should have let her!
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Old 03-30-2013, 11:50 AM   #13
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My daughter had a party for her oldest almost 3 years ago. It was a picnic at a state park, in July. There were about 20 people, and there was food and cake. Just talking, and opening gifts.

Her second will be one in May. There will be another party, this one held in her mother-in-law's place of business, when it's closed to the public. Again, about 20 people.
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Old 03-30-2013, 12:04 PM   #14
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Early birthday parties around here are generally small events for family and close friends. When kids start attending school, they'll tend to start having parties with their friends. When my boys turned 1, we had dinner at home with our family (grandparents, aunt, uncle), plus a cake. I have a pictures of each boy licking frosting off his fingers. They got presents. It was low-key, but fun. I've never heard of anyone having a blow-out for a 1st birthday party (except on the DIS)!
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Old 03-30-2013, 12:20 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Mkrop View Post
No shift here...I am 43 years old and there have always been big parties for baptism, 1st birthday and Communion parties. And we have never had a party without alcohol.


Ds15 1st birthday party in the backyard of our townhouse, catered with a tent, causal but still a lot of people

DS10 was born in Dec so his party was in Jan so his was in our house, but lots of family and friends. We lived in a bigger house by then.
I think the shift is that, thanks to internet, folks in other areas are learning about the huge blowouts we have here for birthdays, religious celebrations, weddings, etc., and are joining in on the fun! I agree - I don't see any changes here - it's been like this for as long as I can remember. Heck, we have our repasts at restaurants with open bar.
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