Planning Your Child’s Party Outside the Home

February 12th, 2013 posted by Karen Palermo

Let’s face the facts, places that your child finds fun are not always in line with your top ten… or maybe even top thousand. Crowded bowling alleys and arcades may make you want to pop a valium before entering the door, but there are other ways to calm your nerves that may be more appropriate. While the stress of planning and then chaos of delivering your child’s birthday party can be overwhelming at times, the trick is to ask your potential party destination some very specific questions. This year let’s try to avoid all the tears and aggravation by asking the following questions.

What are your least crowded time frames?

Yes, it may sound simple, but you would be surprised how many nervous moms and dads do not ask that simple question. Chances are, these time frames will be Monday-Thursday and early (before noon) on Saturday or Sunday. Be flexible and you will have more options. Sure, you may lose one or two guests, but does little Tommy from football really need to be there?

Is there a private area or time slot available?

I know what you’re saying… too much money. If you can afford it… go for it, as for the rest of us, does your child have a friend that you can split the private party with? If so, it may cost you an extra hundred dollars or so to have the whole place to yourselves once you split the bill. If you are a very nervous person, that may be worth it! However, if you do decide to split a party, make sure that you are very detailed in pre-arranging everything in advance. The key word being: Compromise. // How will you be keeping track of my guests? The last thing you want is a huge disagreement on the final bill at the end of the party. If the party place does not require a guest list ask if you can send them one in advance, think e-mail. This will also eliminate those rude mothers that bring a sibling along and then expect you to pick up the tab for them. Ask the associates to check off each of your guests as they come through the door, and as your guests come in, you check them off as well. If you’re embarrassed because you don’t know the child’s name, ask, “Honey, how do you spell your last name”, and then check your list. If the children will be eating at the party confirm the number of guests with your waitress at least twice while they are all sitting down to ensure that you are both on the same page.

Is food permitted to be brought in for adult guests?

Chances are it’s probably not. Ask if you can order food for the adults on the day of the party or if it needs to be ordered in advance. Ordering the day of will enable you to see how many guests are staying and eliminate over-ordering. Ask your waitress if there are any combos available or deals like “bottomless pitchers” that will save you money. Also, on a side note keep a list or the facility’s birthday flyer nearby so that you can make sure that you have received everything you paid for.

What am I responsible for bringing in the day of my party?

It would be such a shame to arrive for your party thinking that a cake was supplied and then arriving to find out it isn’t. That creates a chaotic situation in itself. The most common thing forgotten at United Skates is birthday candles! In comes the mom with the cake, but she forgot that she needed candles. Now, in our case, we have a “crisis candle supply” for times such as those, but other places may not be so kind.

What does the party favor look like?

I have seen many variations of what some places call a party favor, and that is what leads me to this question. Ask to see what you are paying for! If you are unhappy with the favor, or they “don’t have one available” to show you, then chances are you should pick a package that does not come with a favor or ask if there is a discount if you bring your own.

Who do I need to speak with if I am having any types of problems during my party?

If you are unhappy with something, and it has gotten beyond the point of your waitress being able to help you speak with a manager. Let’s face it, no matter how prepared you may be there is always the potential for something to not go the way you planned, or something not to be handled quite the way you would have. In these cases, ask to speak with a manager immediately. If the facility is a family friendly environment and your problem has validity, the manager should do everything in his/her power to fix it. These questions are a guideline to help you get through some of those tough times on your child’s big day. Don’t lose sight of what the day is really about, your child is not concerned with a soda spill or how many other people are there, they are only concerned with having a good time. Do your homework prior to the party and get testimonials from people that have had their party at the location previously. There are tons of party places available and if you find one that is unwilling to cooperate with you, there are many more that would value your business. Find a place that is fun and friendly, and willing to make your child feel special on their big day. If this entire article fails you, and you wonder why you ever listened to me in the first place, keep in mind… all twenty kids could be running around your house!

Karen Palermo (1 Posts)

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Cindy Rowe
Cindy Rowe (7 Posts)

Cindy Rowe is the owner/editor of Crazylou Creations blog. On the blog, you will find a little bit of crazy, and a whole lot of fun! As a FT working mother, she still finds time to create crafts, play around in the kitchen, plan parties and exercise. You'll find all of this and more on her blog!

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