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to be getting rather worried about reception party invites...

(24 Posts)
WrongWayWound Thu 15-Jan-15 14:21:40

It's like a flood, invite after invite to ever flashier parties. We bought a shell of a house a few years ago to do up, in an area otherwise out of our league, plus it's really gone up as an area. A lucky stroke is the school ds got into, but bloody help it is affluent beyond what I imagined!

Each party tends to be whole class (or about half plus loads of friends and family), at a venue that's £15+ a head plus expensive extras. The last one I drove to, the car park looked like a showroom that'd I'd parked a slightly beat-up matchstick car in!

I'm starting to consider invite refusal! Or saving up from now to august when it's ds's turn. Obviously I've done parties before, tending to be home-based or small crowds at a cheaper venue.

Light-heartedness aside...what do others do? Save and shell-out? not go? Go but don't host? by august ds will think it's the norm... I'm happy to say no to the dc, but i seems rude to semi-join in.

APlaceInTheWinter Thu 15-Jan-15 14:29:33

If your DS enjoys the parties then don't refuse to let him go! I don't think people keep a tally. The reason they're hosting is because their DC will enjoy your DC's company so don't worry if you can't reciprocate.

If it's any consolation, I found parties actually became less flashy so yy reception parties might have been in a soft play/ science centre/ snow zone / cinema but by the following year most were in a community hall with an entertainer or held at home with a magician or animals. And the DCs had a great time no matter where the parties were held or what the entertainment was supposed to be. Generally DCs are easily pleased grin

Moknicker Thu 15-Jan-15 14:30:42

Go for the parties and when your DCs bday come up host a party that you can afford with the number of kids you can afford. No point in trying to keep up with the Joneses.

In every group there will be people who might judge you based on the expense of the bday party you throw for your child but who wants to be friends with them anyway. Most people will just be happy their child was invited to a party and dont care about the specifics as long at the child had a good time.

MrsCakesPrecognition Thu 15-Jan-15 14:33:25

Reception parties always seem to be bigger, probably because friendship groups are still forming. It will calm down next year.

Don't fell pressurised to do more thanthan yoy feel comfortable with.

IAmAPaleontologist Thu 15-Jan-15 14:34:41

At least being August you can plan a picnic plus races in the park! Get a load of bubble stuff, see if you can borrow a parachute for games, some cheap balls and have fun with the whole class.

It will change hopefully. A lot of people do a big party for reception then don't bother after that.

WrongWayWound Thu 15-Jan-15 14:38:11

thanks, good point about summer ones and outdoors.

I have older dc, but their school was in a far less affluent area so parties either didn't happen or were small/ cheap

yomellamoHelly Thu 15-Jan-15 14:38:33

We've always done parties in our (decrepit fixer-upper) home. And not for whole class. Usually about 10. Have always gone down really well as they're not used to them so it makes it special. Have a friend who has summer-born children and always does something in a local park. Means you're the entertainer, but that can be fun too.
And I only ever spend about £5 on gifts as well. (Amazing the bargains you can pick up.) Value of party bags sometimes about the same as what I've spent.
Parties do tail off as they progress through school.

DancingDays Thu 15-Jan-15 14:39:56

My DC school is in a very well off area. Bentley, Ranges etc are used for school pick up. The parties tend to be Pony days or hire of an entire play space. Very over the top.

I went with the idea that I wouldn't let it intimidate me. The cars are probably financed, houses on huge mortgage etc anything to make me feel better.

My DC I tend to take a few friends for a day out, wear them out for the parents and then make something. They make their own tea and are returned to parents homes.

DD1 last party was to the park, dog walking and kite flying. They then made cake jars and make their own pizzas for tea. Parents seemed to like the change from the normal parties.

I think you can either throw money at it or time, I go with time.

stealthsquiggle Thu 15-Jan-15 14:41:29

August? Does your shell of a house have a garden? If so, you could plan to have a party in the garden - low cost, more fun, and everyone will be heartily sick of all the "usual" party venues by then.

Alternatively, don't bother. No one who throws a whole class party is, IME, counting how many invitations they get in return. I certainly never have. There are a million reasons why you might not want/be in a position to have the whole class, and none of them are anyone else's business. Have whatever size and sort of party works for you. It's very unlikely anyone will judge, and if they do then they're not worth bothering about anyway.

House sounds fun, BTW. Good luck with that.

FrozenAteMyDaughter Thu 15-Jan-15 14:41:48

I agree with the posters above. We did a whole class party this year as many people seemed to (in a hall with a bouncy castle and entertainer, so not flashy but it does add up!). Next year, I hope we can just have DD's close friends round to ours or take them to Build a Bear or some other fun activity.

To be honest, for an August birthday, a lot of people will be away anyway so a smaller party for family and a few close friends would be fair enough. And as others have said, if you do decide on a full class party, an outdoor thing in a park with a BBQ or picnic food and lots of running round after a football or playing wide games will be fine.

Don't stop going to the parties though. It is a great way for your DS to make friends and for you to meet other parents (at least at the ones where parents stay)

EhricLovesTheBhrothers Thu 15-Jan-15 14:41:56

I do cheap parties and I don't care if parents turn their noses up (im not aware any have though)
Reception year party was at an outdoor play area, about 20 kids, played in the park, had a go on the train then picnic. Year one party at same outdoor area, 28 kids, scavenger hunt, dress up as pirates, prizes, picnic, run around. Next year I'll do a smaller one because he has an established group of friends. Some of the while class parties have been obviously expensive but I'm really not bothered.

QuintlessShadows Thu 15-Jan-15 14:42:55

Go to the parties.

Host within your means.

MrsTawdry Thu 15-Jan-15 14:43:13

Have a tea party at home for about 8 kids. That's what I did and they LOVED it. They all felt special as it was a small "do" and they loved the change from large venues.

Pass the parcel, musical statues, sausage rolls and all that. Fantastic.

QuintlessShadows Thu 15-Jan-15 14:43:50

August birthday you say?

Dont host. Do a party for family and friends, after all his birthday is in the holidays.

Quenelle Thu 15-Jan-15 14:45:30

See if any other children in the class have a birthday close to your DS's? You can halve the cost by going in with another parent, just say it's to avoid a clash of dates if you don't want to look 'cheap'.

Quenelle Thu 15-Jan-15 14:46:12

Oh gosh, just saw it's in August! Don't worry about it, half the kids will be on holiday anyway.

LaLyra Thu 15-Jan-15 14:46:51

I always do 'old fashioned' parties. A big (cheap) hall with party games and because there are so many soft play/swimming/theme parties it always goes down really well and doesn't cost a huge amount because once you've booked the hall the only difference between 15 and 35 kids is the food and you really don't need a huge amount (I always plate it up, far less waste than a help yourself buffet).

PedantMarina Thu 15-Jan-15 14:48:51

Also, more reasons to be cheerful, in August most of these kids will be away at their parents' private villas in Tuscany or where-have-you, and unable to attend. Hey presto! Lower numbers and you've still made the effort. grin

Thumbwitch Thu 15-Jan-15 14:51:23

I agree with Quint - let your DS go to the parties, do your party the way that suits you.

FWIW I had this problem to some extent in senior school - I went to an expensive girls' private school, which my parents really stretched themselves financially to afford - I went to most parties I was invited to, which ranged from meals out at posh restaurants, swimming parties at nice hotels to home-based parties. I had parties at home as well - not so posh, but people who are your friends don't come because of how posh the party is going to be, but because they are your friends.

Different at the age your DC is, but might be useful for later on? UNless you move again of course!

stealthsquiggle Thu 15-Jan-15 14:54:14

X post with loads of people smile.

Park is a great idea too, especially in the holidays.

Whatever you do, don't not accept invitations because of it. I would hate to think anyone had turned down any sort of invitation because they can't reciprocate. I am that parent who can never have DC round on impulse because I am working, and I see the time (more than the money) that I throw at the DC's parties as going some way to repay the kindness of parents who invite my DC round for tea or occasionally pick them up for me knowing full well that is a favour which I am unlikely to repay exactly in kind.

GoogleyEyes Thu 15-Jan-15 15:00:40

I join up with two or three other parents (so all the July and August kids, for example). Once you split the cost between four, it's much more affordable.

Also, that way you only get a quarter as many presents (the inviting mums arrange a four way split of the class list), which is a bonus both for you (storage) and the other parents (buying fewer presents).

bigbluebus Thu 15-Jan-15 15:11:35

They'll all be away in their holiday properties abroad for the Summer so no need to worry grin

TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams Thu 15-Jan-15 15:13:08

You are presumably bringing some sort of gift for the child? There is absolutely no need to reciprocate with a party, never mind one of similar value. If anyone notices that you haven't had a "big" party they will assume it is because it is in August.

This is a useful blog for outdoor kids parties - the best bit is also that if you have it in a park, you can insist that at least one parent accompanies as you can't ensure that no-one runs off.

My DD's birthday is just after school finishes so I will be sounding out a few other parents to see if we can just do a single bash between us. Much easier and at this age, they barely remember which party was which anyway.

Ok so it was a 30th birthday but I went to one years ago in a public park in London and the birthday girls had simply got bunches of plain balloons filled with gas on string so they rose up, but weighted and marked out an area. Thrown down some picnic blankets and it was party time. The best bit about a party in the park is that you won't have to hoover up!

TinklyLittleLaugh Thu 15-Jan-15 15:20:42

DS's last party was at the local pool. Something like £50 to hire the whole shallow learners pool and massive inflatables, then after we all went to the park to picnic. Not that pricey, but went down really well.

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