Need Help With First Birthday Party

Avatar for sandyc299
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Registered: 01-08-2008
Need Help With First Birthday Party
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Tue, 09-14-2010 - 9:01am

We are planning a 1st birthday party for David. I can't believe he's going to be 1 in less than 3 months.

We are going to have approx 25-30 people. I am trying to make it as cheap as possible. I was wondering what we should do for food. Here are my two ideas. Get $10.00 pizza's either from Pizza Hut or Papa Johns. The thing is I would probably have to get at least 8 pizzas and that would be $80.00. I was thinking of asking people to donate like $5.00 to the cost but is it rude to put that on the invitation?

Secondly, I thought of asking everyone to bring a dish to share. However I would still have to provide a main dish. I am not sure if I should cook something or just buy. I really don't have any ideas for this one.

I am trying to find something that the kids can eat too. Most of the kids will be David's age or younger (as they are kids from his playdates). I am not sure what he would be eating at a year if it would still be baby food or table food so I can have something that he can eat.

Any advice would be appreciated.

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David Nicholas 12/5/09
Expecting a GIRL 3/23/13

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iVillage Member
Registered: 09-12-2008
Thu, 09-16-2010 - 10:22pm

Good luck Sandy! I agree with the others that it's tacky to ask for a monetary contribution but a pot luck contribution is reasonable.



I've been thinking about Selin's first birthday and what we'll do since it will be in the middle of winter.



Our house is way too small to have both of our families here so that means either we have to rent space somewhere or hope one of our moms offer to host it (both of their houses are much bigger than ours). My mom has already hosted my baby shower and Selin's christening party and I'd be surprised if my MIL offers to host (although she did host my BIL's DD's first birthday because BIL lives in a condo

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2007
Tue, 09-14-2010 - 11:04pm

You could ask the guests to bring food to share with everyone instead of a gift for David. We put "no gifts please" on Barrett's invites and i was really happy with that. I didn't feel as though it was fair to our friends without kids to have to buy Barrett a gift for his birthday (or even figure out what he'd want), and I didn't want to make Barrett open a bunch of presents and he has plenty of toys as it is. I'd rather save the gifts for when he is older and can appreciate them (our family all got Barrett gifts, but he opened those over several days around his birthday - one gift at a time). And best of all, I didn't have to write any thank you notes ;) But that's totally up to you - I think very few people will mind bringing a small side dish along with a gift.

The barbecued beef or pork sounds like a great idea! I'd be careful on the wording on the e-vite. I've been invited to some parties where the choices for what to bring are so specific it sounds like someone just posted their shopping list for their guests to fill. I think the more say the guests get in what they bring, the more they will feel like they are choosing to help out versus they are being told to bring something specific. See if you can come up with a cute rhyme or something about joining in the fun and sharing food (whew -I'm tired, that doesn't sound so clever when I write it).

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iVillage Member
Registered: 11-01-2005
Tue, 09-14-2010 - 3:26pm

If I'm hosting a personal event like this (birthday, baptism, housewarming), I buy and supply all the food and drinks, including alcohol. I would never ask for people to bring something or for money. Its never anything super fancy for a large group...usually I grill burgers and brats, a meat and cheese tray, veggie platter, cheese ball and crackers, potato chips and a dessert option that is usually store bought. You can feed a lot of people if you are selective.

If its a holiday party like super bowl, BBQ, Christmas party, halloween, UFC get together....its usually a potluck thing.

There are tons of easy side dishes out there...a simple pasta salad is usually a crowd pleaser. I have a good salad recipe if you want it.

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Avatar for sandyc299
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-08-2008
Tue, 09-14-2010 - 3:07pm
Adrienne
That is a great idea. I am doing the invitation via e-vite and it has a list you can make of stuff needed and once someone gets that, it is knocked off the list. Then I can just make the pulled pork or something of that sort for the main dish.
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David Nicholas 12/5/09
Expecting a GIRL 3/23/13

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-11-2010
Tue, 09-14-2010 - 2:52pm

I think potluck parties are lots of fun--we ALWAYS have potlucks in my family. I don't think it is tacky to have a gift and ask everyone to bring a dish to share.

If you are sending out invites and asking people to RSVP, you can put on the invite that it is a potluck party, and when they RSVP, you can ask them if they know what they'd like to make or bring. You can have a list of easy suggestions for people who call and aren't sure--like snacks, drinks, fruit salad, green salad, etc. People that don't like cooking can always bring a bottle of soda or a bag of chips, which can be under one dollar, so I don't think it's a big deal that you are asking everyone to bring something.

You can make a list of what everyone is bringing when they call to RSVP, and then you can look at that and see what else you will need to buy. Sometimes you end up with a ton of main dishes, in which case you should focus on providing snacks and/or dessert, and sometimes it is the other way around.

IMO potluck is definitely the cheapest and easiest way to go. And as long as everyone brings something and you contribute something as well, there is no reason why you wouldn't have enough food for everyone.

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Avatar for sandyc299
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-08-2008
Tue, 09-14-2010 - 1:43pm

I looked at all the pizza places and everything is still pretty pricey. Even for the $10 ones it is still about $80 for what I would need. I searched for sheet pizza's but couldn't find anything on there either. All the places that had catering for pizza was pricey too and I looked at chicken and same thing. So unless I can find some cheap place the pizza idea is out. Someone suggested Little Ceasars but their pizza isn't that good.

My mom said maybe cooking hot dogs or I thought maybe barbequed beef or pork in the crock pot. That way I don't have to be cooking while everyone is having fun. I just need to figure out some easy side dishes with it. I thought about pasta salad I can do that the day before but I don't know what else.

My only thing is if I ask everyone to bring a dish would that be rude as they are already bringing gifts? I am not requesting people do it but most people bring gifts when they come to a birthday party.

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David Nicholas 12/5/09
Expecting a GIRL 3/23/13

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-07-2003
Tue, 09-14-2010 - 12:53pm

My best friend spent hundreds on her twins' first birthday party - but they also had like 60 guests or something silly (that's more people than I had at my wedding!) She spent $80 on a cake and bought loads of pizzas, as well as appys, decorations, and favors (loot bags for the kids).



At the other end of the spectrum, I went SUPER cheap and had Elena's party at a restaurant and all of the guests paid for their own meals. I even made her cake myself. The thing is we don't know a lot of kids so it was mostly adults. If we'd had a traditional birthday party there would have been only 4 or 5 kids or so.



Anyway... if you still wanted to go the pizza route, some friends of ours bought a whole bunch of the premade pizzas from Costco for $5 each and just cooked them during their party. Of course the downside to that is that you are spending some time in front of the stove while everyone else is having fun, and also since you can't cook them all at once the food will be staggered. Another option is to go with a place that is cheaper than Pizza Hut - I know in my area there are many places that are much cheaper and still make pretty good pizza.



And as others have suggested I wouldn't worry about other very small kids or babies because their parents will likely bring their own food for them. Good luck with whatever you decide!




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Avatar for sandyc299
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-08-2008
Tue, 09-14-2010 - 10:36am

I guess I forgot to mention in my post that this is a party for friends, co workers and my mom friends.

The family lives out of town so we will have his birthday for family when we go home for thanksgiving. I think I am going to go the pot luck route just have to figure out what to make as a main dish. Most of the things we have been to lately are pot luck but of course they are summer things so you just make dogs and burgers. It will be winter so that option may be a little difficult. I thought about maybe seeing how much a bucket of chicken costs and go from there. I emailed my mom so maybe she has some ideas. I want something easy so I don't have to spend the day cooking. I will see what my husband says as well.

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Thanks for the wonderful siggie April





David Nicholas 12/5/09
Expecting a GIRL 3/23/13

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2007
Tue, 09-14-2010 - 9:40am

I wouldn't ask for money donations, but you could definitely ask for people to contribute a dish. We provided all the food for Barrett's party, and we still had people offering to bring food. We grilled out which ended up being relatively inexpensive, but my FIL owns a hot dog restaurant so he provided hot dogs and buns for free :) If you wanted to do pizza, you could have people make their own pizza. Invite them to bring their favorite toppings to share, and you provide the crust, sauce and cheese. You might be able to do a taco bar the same way. Provide the shells and meat and encourage people to bring their favorite toppings/side dishes.

Another thought is to not have it at meal time. Then you just need to buy snack food and cake. We had a lot of fruit at Barrett's party which was a hit with the toddler crowd. (Most parents will bring some sort of snack for their baby as well.) We also made cupcakes for Barrett's cake which was so much fun, super cheap (two boxes of cake mix and a couple tubs of frosting - <$10), and pretty cute.

There's no reason you need to spend a lot of money on a first birthday party. The day will be super fun no matter what everyone eats, and no one will remember if you did/didn't provide a gourmet meal - they are just going to remember David's adorable face covered with frosting :D

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iVillage Member
Registered: 08-24-2005
Tue, 09-14-2010 - 9:38am
Sandy, i think the potluck option is the best if you want to keep it simple.
Something you can also do is to make the pizzas yourself. It's not that hard, you can make the dough and pre-bake the pizzas, and then freeze them. Then, the day of the party, you finish them, and that way you can make special pizzas (pepperoni, veggie, etc..]) without the extra cost.
But easy or not, you would need someone to watch David while you cook, I don't know how doable is that.
As far as food for the LOs.... I would try something foolproof, like pudding... or maybe fresh fruit cut in pieces (cause pudding can bee really messy).
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