Hosting a party at a venue can be fun but pricey. Do the pros outweigh the cons? Our family recently put it to the test!
Birthday parties weren’t a big deal in my family growing up. In fact, most of my birthdays were simply spent with my immediate family, and the highlight of the day was a two-layer cake from a Betty Crocker mix.
I didn’t feel deprived. In fact, those layer cakes cut into huge triangle wedges were something I looked forward to all year. My parents defined what was a happy birthday for me, and I loved it.
Will, my husband, grew up very differently. Birthdays weren’t birthdays without a party! Whether at home or at a venue, his birthdays were always spent with lots of family and friends.
Because Will and I are both extroverts and enjoy hosting family and friends in our home, we’ve decided to throw birthday parties for our children.
Up until a couple years ago, when our oldest entered school, the parties were mainly our friends and their children. For the past three years, our oldest has invited classmates to her parties.
But we had never tried out a birthday party venue until this past June.
(We had done parties at plenty of parks, but we don’t count those as venues since you still provide everything and must clean up everything.)
Our kids had never been to Chuck E. Cheese’s, and Chuck E. Cheese offered for us to try it out. (Blogger perk–I know, the job is rough!)
To be 100 perfect transparent, Will and I were not looking forward to a party at Chuck E. Cheese’s. I think we both had visions of hundreds of children stampeding us in demand of their tokens, their prizes, their pizza.
But our girls were over-the-moon excited about the prospect of a party at Chuck E. Cheese’s (thanks to grandma and grandpa who have cable television and had, therefore, exposed the girls to the Chuck E. Cheese’s commercials!).
I called ahead to ask when the least crowded days and times were, and I purposely planned the party for one of those slots as well as for when public schools would still be in session.
To our surprise, both Will and I loved the party at Chuck E. Cheese’s. The kids had a blast (without us having to entertain them!), and he and I felt like kids again ourselves. He especially enjoyed the shooting games, and I pretended I was back on the high school basketball court with the basketball hoops.
All-in-all, it was a great day (so great, that we’ve decided to take our kids back for a surprise family fun day later this summer!).
But will we do a party at Chuck E. Cheese’s or a venue in general every year? Absolutely not. And we’ve already made that clear with our girls.
There are some definite pros and cons of hosting a party at a venue.
Hosting a Party at a Venue: Pros and Cons
Pros of hosting a party at a venue:
1. Planning is a breeze.
The only thing I had to plan was the guest list! Chuck E. Cheese’s planned the rest of the party for me–including the them. They also picked out online invitations. All I had to do was enter in the email address of the recipients. I even booked the party online through the calendar feature. It was incredibly easy.
Chuck E. Cheese’s offers party options for small children up to tweens. The Eat More Play More package is geared towards children 8 and up. Package includes 3 slices of pizza per child.
2. Clean-Up is not necessary.
The beauty of hosting a party at a venue is that you don’t have to clean up–before or after the party. When we host parties at our house, we often spend all day cleaning–only for the house to get destroyed by little children at the party! Then, we have to spend the entire day after the party cleaning up again.
3. Parents can relax and enjoy the party while someone else hosts.
This was an unexpected surprise for us. Will and I both enjoyed playing with our kids during the party because we didn’t have to play host and hostess the whole time!
Cons of hosting a party at a venue:
1. It can be pricey.
Most party venues are not cheap. Chuck E. Cheese’s is no different. You will spend a good amount of money, and it’s something you will likely need to save for. But when you’re low on time and have sufficient money, it might be a worthwhile investment.
Check for specials at the venue of your choice. For my daughter’s birthday, we got some extra goodies for booking online. Right now, Chuck E. Cheese’s is offering free cotton candy for those who book a party of 12 or more guests (now through 9/30/17).
2. The location isn’t always convenient.
We had to drive over 35 minutes to get to our closest Chuck E. Cheese’s. If you live in a small town, you might have to drive to a city nearby to find a party venue. Then, you might risk some of the invitees not being able to attend because of the location.
The Final Verdict of Hosting a Party at a Venue:
For our family, we’ve decided to make certain, special birthdays venue birthdays. Our kids will only get a venue party a few times each. We felt that our daughter’s 9th birthday was a good choice because age 9 is the halfway mark of childhood. (Cue the tears from Mama!)
Have you ever hosted a party at a venue? What are the pros and cons for you?
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Chuck E Cheese’s. The opinions and text are all mine.
I think getting to have fun at your own child’s party sounds like a VERY nice thing!
I have great memories of birthday parties at Chuck E. Cheese! Only one was actually *my* birthday! We had the understanding that not all of our birthdays would involve big parties, but it made the big ones more special than they would’ve been if they were the norm.
My girls absolutely LOVED it–so much so that we went BACK later in the summer! Now they are all begging for Chuck E. Cheese parties! Uh oh!! LOL
As a child, I never had birthday parties. We’d go to dinner. no special hullabaloo. All my friends had pool parties, skating, or bowling parties. Sleep overs. Etc. I never had that. So when my daughter was born, I knew I wanted her to have parties. We have done a gymnastics place, a sleep over party, pool party, Fun Fore All twice. Is it wrong to want to give your kid what you didn’t have? Maybe.
It sounds like you are creating some beautiful memories for your little girl, Shauna! As long as we can afford it, I don’t think it’s wrong at all.
Growing up, my parents kept our birthday parties small, but they always felt special. I want to do the same thing with our kids. We didn’t do much in terms of parties for the kids until they were school age. Up until then, it was just immediate family with a special dinner. But they always got (and will continue to get) a cake of the current “theme” (i.e. basketball or LEGO or princess, etc.).
Going forward, we have certain “milestones” that the kids get to celebrate in a special way… like each kid received their first bible when they turned 5, they get their first sleep over when they turn 8, and they’ll likely celebrate 10 (double digits), 13 (teenager) and 16 (they can drive) in a special way too – we’re just not there yet! If we do venue parties, it will likely be on those milestone birthdays! Otherwise it’s fun and game at home. For example, last year my 9-year old has a basketball themed party at home – basketball cake pops, basketball favors + 3 friends for outdoor scavenger hunt and nerf gun fight on our 1/2 acre. They loved it! This year my 8 year old is inviting her very best friend for a “Just Dance + Gynnastics” marathon and sleepover. Despite the small “party,” we’re all very excited to make it a special day for her.
I love these milestones ideas!!