Finding a great place to host your child's party is the next step after figuring out the specifics. There are pros and cons to having parties at your home versus at an outside location.
HAVING A PARTY AT ANOTHER LOCATION BESIDES YOUR HOME
- You can invite more people. If your house is small like mine, having it outside the home is nice because it allows you to invite more of your child's friends, cousins, family members, etc.
- There is no need to make activities. The place is typically the activity itself. We had our son's 4th birthday party this year at the Children's Museum of Maine in Portland. That was enough of an activity, it was huge and busy. We brought along coloring pages and crayons, but otherwise nothing was needed to be planned.
- More seating already available. No need for borrowing folding chairs!
- You can have a messy house! No need to clean your house before or after party. LOVED this part! This was so great. It was just an easy thing to get up to the party, set up and take down, having a regular clean house without the party mess.
- More things are taken care of for you. Having it elsewhere meant that the invitation was given to us by the museum if we chose to use it, tablecloth was there, chairs and tables, activities, etc. were all set. It made it a lot easier versus at home.
- Limited time in the party room, including set up and take down. At the Museum we had two hours total in the party room, including set up and take down... it worked out fine, but was a bit stressful to me at first thinking of how to schedule the timing of the party.
- You need to be super organized pre-party! If you forget something, no luck, need to prepare ahead of time for everything. I made lists and started packing a bag of party supplies at least two weeks before the party so that I didn't forget anything! Think: knife to cut the cake, napkins and paper towels to clean up afterward, lighter to light birthday candles, pen and paper to write down gifts, etc.
- There was not as much time to see/talk to everyone. In a location like this, people are following their kids running around the big building instead of standing near one another in a crowded house. This meant we didn't talk as much to guests. But honestly they all had a blast, there wasn't time to talk anyway!
- You have to be in charge. When I arrived there were a few guests there wanting to talk to me, hug the birthday boy, etc. but I was busy talking to the woman who worked the event (which was super helpful, just a distraction from seeing guests). Same with at the end of the party, we had to make sure we paid the bill before leaving, which took us away from the party for a little bit. This was not the museum's fault, just a different type of logistic than an at-home party.
- You have to follow your kid around. It's tough to be the one in charge of a party not at your house AND be following around your child. In a busy big place like this, you don't want to just set your child free to roam about without anyone watching. So sometimes that meant following him instead of standing with guests or refilling juice cups. Not a huge deal with other guests there to help watch your child, just something that came up.
- You can't set up ahead of time. It's nice having parties at home so I can prepare decorations ahead of time, set up the table with food platters the day before, etc. When you have a party out of your home you leave it all to the last minute before the party... of course, there is less to do so it probably evens out.