£400 for a party is a lot of money??

(71 Posts)
andratx Sun 17-Feb-13 21:59:49

My Twins, age 4, had a shared birthday party last weekend. The total bill for everything has come in at £400.

AIBU to think £400 on a party for 4 year olds seems like a LOT?! I had no idea it would all tot up to this amount; this was the first time I had a party outside my home.

Don't get me wrong, I had a great time, so did DTwins and it seems so did the other adults and children. The people running it were excellent and I actually had fun rather than running around cleaning up and cutting up cake. But £400!!

I am now wondering what's the normal outlay then for a party for this age group?

(We didn't have an entertainer to keep the costs down - we just did pass the parcel and musical bumps etc. We were in a local hired hall that lays on bouncy castle, ball pit, ride on toys etc as part of the party package. Nice coffees/sparkling wine and lots of food for adults (all eaten as it was lunchtime) and the normal party food for children. 27 children. Big cake from supermarket. Party Bags to take home). I would be grateful for comparisons before DH starts huffing and puffing about the cost.

angel1976 Mon 18-Feb-13 22:55:53

Dum Maybe we can do a combined party for ourselves our DCs, I think the Hamleys sleepover parties will be a once-in-a-lifetime event but £450 a pop? OUCH OUCH OUCH!

My budget for my DSs' parties have been about £150 per party. They are still little so these have mostly been soft play parties at about £7 per child (no food provided) to £12 per child (food provided). So I budget numbers accordingly... DS1 who is turning 5 wants a build-a-bear party and I have budgeted £12 per child and he will have 9 friends (plus him and his little brother, making 11) plus a mascot appearance (£20) which works out to be about £150 accordingly.

If you think that you are actually having a birthday party for TWO of your DCs, then £200 per child isn't that much off my budget per child. People (i.e. my MIL) is always going on about how much cheaper it is if I did a sweet little tea party at home for DSs and their friends for their birthdays and I kinda disagree... At their ages, parents will want to stay and by the time I work out food and beverages for the adults as well as for the kids, I still think it's better value for me to have the parties outside, catered for by someone and have no mess to clear up at home! grin Told MIL she is welcome to have one of their birthday parties at hers, funny she never came back to me on that one...

DumSpiroSpero Mon 18-Feb-13 22:33:36

Wish I hadn't looked at the Hamleys link.

Am now mentally totting up the ebay/car boot potential of the entire contents of the loft & spare room! grin

insanityscratching Mon 18-Feb-13 19:04:38

Dd's party in a hall with an entertainer who also caters and provides party bags costs £10 per head, then £20 for tableware hire, £13 per hour room hire, cake £25. So for 20 children it costs £277. Dd is older so parents drop and run but would only offer tea or coffee if any chose to stay tbh.

Coconutty Mon 18-Feb-13 17:31:29

That would be about right OP, usually a couple of hundred pound each.

LouiseFisher Mon 18-Feb-13 17:23:24

It is slightly pricey however, worth it to make your children happy! smile

Nincompoopery Mon 18-Feb-13 17:22:05

I'm no longer surprised at how much a day out or party can cost with children. I guess in either case they can cost as little or as much as you like.
I'm really embarrassed to say that my DD 3rd birthday party last year cost in excess of £500. That didn't include her present but did include exclusive use of the play gym, food and decorations. The party bags were excessive but I started about 6 months early and got things in the sale so that I could include things that I would not otherwise been able to afford. However my mistake so to speak was to have a tab for tea and coffee for the adults. At the end I was shocked to find that the tab came to £80 though find out afterwards that some adults were also ordering snacks for themselves.

Startail Mon 18-Feb-13 17:20:32

I'm guessing I've got close to £200 several times, I've never dared add up.
Hall, plus large bouncy assault course and helium balloons must have come close.

My DDs are older and the last couple of big parties I've done have been £80 to hire the pool and cheap food in reception afterwards.

I suspect you'd be talking near £250-300 for a hall and bouncy castle as far fewer people are doing them and the village halls have put up their rates and several charge extra if you want the kitchen.

I don't think anyone was saying that it's not possible to have a great party for much, much less than the OP spent - clearly it is - but it's also easy to spend that much and more, and if you can afford it, and it is fun for all concerned, then why not?

450 per guest, anyone?

morethanpotatoprints Mon 18-Feb-13 16:53:51

Seriously mine usually cost between £10 and £25

Do it at home, make own food, make b'day cake. Recycle old party bags and plastic tat. Prizes for games poundland. Cheap plonk for you and mother helper. Parents asked to drop and run so only feed kids.

DumSpiroSpero Mon 18-Feb-13 16:36:40

I always do 'at home' DIY parties for 12-16 kids inc DD, and that usually will rack up to about £150, not including any food or drink for adults as DD is 8 so they don't stay.

So, decorations, disposable tableware,
party game prizes, party bags, food & drink.

Based on that I'm not that surprised at your costs given the number of kids & that you catered for adults too.

I think it's very easy to get lulled into a false sense of security by 'organised' parties. Thankfully my DD has never been interested.

defineme Mon 18-Feb-13 16:06:53

It's your choice and your money. Sounds like you had a lovely time. Of course there's ways of having parties for under £50, but if you don't need to budget then there's no problem.
I think you'd be surprised how much cheaper things like bowling/lazerquest are which include food and party bags. The soft play near us does packages including coffee and nibbles for parents. It can be cheaper than ones when I've made bags and food myself.
Now kids are older and they tend to want more expensive presents, we go for taking a couple of friends to the cinema and for a pizza:even do that with tesco points if I can!

lynniep Mon 18-Feb-13 16:02:38

I'm in Cambridgeshire. Most of the parents (including me) probably spend in the region of £150 on a childs party. I intend to spend less in the future - this is the last year DS1 gets a 'big' party - from now on up to 5 friends can go to cinema or similar.

But anyway my options (other than having it at home - not going to happen!)
which all add up to approx £150 are:

a) Soft play - approx £7 per head including small buffet. Last year I did this - invited 16. Made cake. Party bags approx £1.50 per head. (Did this for DS1's 5th)
b) Play at olympic gym (for DS1's upcoming 6th) up to 30 kids. £100 for 1 hour hire. No party food. Party bags £1.50 approx per head. I make cake. Also buy drinks for them (99p shop cartons)
c) Soft play with bouncy castle (did for DS1's 4th) sports hall and castle with ball pit etc approx £70. Did a joint party with a friend - each child had 15 guests. Cost me approx £90 for cake, food and party bags.
c) Traditional party (will have for DS2's 4th - he's not had a party yet) Hire of hall £25 for 2 hours. Entertainer £66 (I got a third off for booking early!) Probably invite 15 children @£1.50 per party bag. Make cake. Buffet food for the kids £30 ish

On the upside we only need to buy one main present as he gets loads from his friends and grandmas!

FreakoidOrganisoid Mon 18-Feb-13 15:54:32

Ds' party this year cost about £270 all in. For twelve of them.
He had his heart set on a go kart party which was £225. Cake was £15. Couple of pizzas and a bag of sausage rolls a cucumber and a couple of carrots for food.
Treat size buttons and a little pull back racer toy in party bag with the medal (which was included in party cost).

It was great and worth every penny but he knew in advance that it was very expensive and so he wouldn't get presents.

Me and my bf, my parents, exh and three lots of aunties and uncles split it between us and he had no presents from any of us.

GreenShadow Mon 18-Feb-13 15:41:14

Can't believe how much people spend on children's parties!

Have never spent anything near this sum on any of our 3 DC's parties.

Young children are just as happy with a few party games, a bit of running around and some sandwiches, crisps and cakes. Any accompanying parents don't need to be catered for if it is just a short children's party. Party bags generally £2-£3 max each (and we only invite friends - never the whole class - nightmare!)

With older children we tended to take 3-5 friends on an outing - cinema, laser tag etc. Again, by restricting numbers, the cost is kept down.

blueberryupsidedown Mon 18-Feb-13 15:16:48

I think it's a bit much but then we go to parties where I think the parents spend that much, even more. Where there is wine/food for the parents. And last party for DS we spent £160 for 16 kids. So really it's not unheard of.

For DS we had a really fantastic guy who did a fencing party. DS is really into sports and the kids had a fantastic time. Can I recommend them here? It's 'little musketeers', it's great for older kids, maybe aged 6+. They are in the south east. www.littlemusketeers.com

BigPantyGirl Mon 18-Feb-13 15:13:10

Kids parties can be expensive, my dds cost 1k last year (all family/friends/nursery class etc invited). We had a caterer, face painter, hall hire and massive bar bill.
This year I'm hiring a local village hall, getting an entertainer for 2 hours and doing the food myself.. Oh and only her friends will be invited, no family!

OP - for the service you describe, that sounds reasonable to me.

I have probably spent that much on some of my DC's parties in the past and that is doing it all myself blush. However, I choose not to add it all up (and spend it over time, as I will acquire decorations, party bag contents, craft materials, etc over a period of months)

jellybeans Mon 18-Feb-13 15:01:31

I spend between 65 and 150 on average depending on whether it is pizza hut and cinema or soft play. I never invite more than 16.

lljkk Mon 18-Feb-13 12:26:36

£400 is a lot, but I don't think very unusual.

I have spent £200-£230 for parties for singletons in last 3 years. One was Soft play with 19 guests (I also bought the adults each one drink), other one was Combat games for 8 at £20/head, plus a meal afterwards. So £400 for 2 doesn't seem absurd.

If DC elect to not have a party or similar cost sort of birthday event/outing, they get some money instead, current compensation = £120ish.

kimorama Mon 18-Feb-13 11:50:09

I read that WEDDINGS are the real big spender dos. Often people putting themselves in deb for months. Please dont say you "only do it once" because those days have long gone for many.

MamaBear17 Mon 18-Feb-13 11:14:52

I think £400 is very expensive! For my dd's next birthday I am going to do lunch boxes for the kids and bacon butties for the adults to keep food costs to a minimum! Glad you had a nice time though!

Adversecamber Mon 18-Feb-13 09:42:16

It is all change from when I was a kid though, parties were always at friends houses usually about 10 kids, no party bags, no entertainer.

I did a craft party at home for seven about three years ago. They each got a 99 pence t.shirt to paint with fabric paint and a large stone to paint and decorate with bits and bobs.Musical bumps etc and I bought small pizza bases and they added their own toppings. That party was very enjoyed by all.

Last party was a laser quest for six, cost fifty quid as straight after school and not at the weekend , I took them home for pizza and hot dogs it saved a fortune.

I think this year it will three best mates from school to the cinema and back to ours for dinner and nerf wars.

I find it gets easier as they get older we did the whole class party the once as mentioned up thread. None of the parents stayed.

NynaevesSister Mon 18-Feb-13 08:45:08

But ... Many people here are admitting to spending £200 for a child's party. Isn't it really that she spent £200 on her DC - it is just that being twins she is soending it at same time.

If, as someone said, they spend £250 on a party, therefore if they have 2 kids in actual fact they're spending £500 which is way more than OP.

It isn't fair is it to expect that you spend the same on twins as you would on a single child? Or am I missing something?

MTBMummy Mon 18-Feb-13 08:27:35

It's not that bad to be honest - we held DD's party in a local hall and hired a bouncy castle, only had 8 kids and about 16 adults - did party bags and a few games, and I think all in it came to just over £300 - for us the booze for the adults was the most expensive thing.

Cortana Mon 18-Feb-13 01:47:59

I once paid £9.50 per child for soft play, a hotdog and chips with juice and a party bag. I have to provide the cake. 33 children turned up. We also put on food for the adults with tea and coffee.

Once and once only will that happen. Never again. He had a fab day though.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now