bday party - feed parents too? - Mothering Forums

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Old 03-30-2009, 04:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We went to a birthday party yesterday and I was a little surprised that there was no food (except for a cupcake) for the parents. The party was for a 2 yo, kids ranged in age from 2 weeks old to 4 years old. It was not in any way shape or form a drop off party. It was at a gymnastics place from 4-6 pm. Kids played from 4-5:30 and then it was food time. The invite said snacks, but I assumed heavy appetizers since it was so close to dinner time. I was hoping to fill us both up enough as to not have to cook dinner when we got home, maybe my assumption was wrong, but still. Snacks for the kids were just a fruit tray and a veggie tray, there was clearly not enough for the parents and it got kind of awkward all the parents standing around the little table watching their kids eating. They served cupcakes for everyone, but I was expecting more. By the time we got out of there it was 6:30, didn't get home until 7 and then had to cook dinner. Was I wrong for expecting more food? What is the norm in your area? Bday boy has food allergies maybe that is why the parents didn't provide more?
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Old 03-30-2009, 05:01 PM
 
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Im not really sure what one should expect when it comes to birthday parties...
However - I will say...most parties I have been to here (and 'here' is the UK) does not feed the parents. The only time I have been fed is at friends houses when the 'party' is small for the child with just close family (and close enough friends you consider them family!). I will also say though, that the parties I have been to (ranging from 1-7 year olds) have never been at such an odd time like the one you went to - so maybe thats why?...

I will say though - I ALWAYS feed the parents at the parties I have had for DS! (he has had 3 so far hehe) - Next year we are planning a restaurant party, and everyone has to buy their own meal (I have let friends know in advance - it will just be small! - and his party is in September and they are all cool with buying their own meals - I plan ahead hehe) - But I will be buying the appetisers for both children and adults. It will help us on costs and set up/clean up this time! hehe

Anyroad - I always get comments on how it is nice that they (the parents) also got to eat a decent meal too as they (the parents/friends/relatives) have also never been to a party when the they are fed!

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Old 03-30-2009, 05:03 PM
 
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I think you will find this answers are going to be so different on this topic.
For the most part, if the invitation said "snacks" I would never assume there would be enough food to cancel dinner.

Also, it is expensive to have these kinds of parties at a gym. I would be thankful that my child had a couple hours of active fun and consider it a socializing time for me. I wouldn't worry about not having any snacks for myself.

That said, *I* would not have a party without enough snacks for kids and parents. I also wouldn't fill kids up on snacks and cake at the time of day, which is basically dinnertime. But perhaps it was the only time slot available and it was not in their budget to offer pizza or anything.

As for the norm where I live, the norm is to have the party at a playground, with snacks, but we don't get snow here.

I think the celebration of the child, the birthday, and the community of families should be the focus of these gatherings. Not what was served to eat.
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Old 03-30-2009, 05:03 PM
 
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I think that if parents are invited they should be fed. If it is more of a drop off party and a parent chooses to stick aruond, they shouldn't expect food. I think the food they provided is appropriate for "snacks", but it is an odd time to have a snack-only party. I would think that if you have a party during a regular meal time, you should feed people that meal.

I expect that the boy's allergies would affect the type of food, but not the quantity.

But at the end of the day, it all depends on circumstance. Maybe that was the only time they could book the club, but they couldn't afford to feed everyone dinner. You never know.

Etiquette may dictate that thre should have been more food, but it would also say that you should be grateful for whatever you are offered. JMHO.

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Old 03-30-2009, 05:05 PM
 
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We don't do food at parties anymore, but when we did, it was for everyone. I can't imagine serving so little food. That's just strange.
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Old 03-30-2009, 05:06 PM
 
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I've never been to a birthday party that didn't have food for the parents, as well as the kids. However, if an invitation said "snacks", I wouldn't assume there'd be a lot of food, and would have plans for dinner (maybe something in the crockpot that I could eat the next day if there was more food than expected at the party). I actually tend to give my kids a PB&J to take in the car if we're going somewhere and I don't know how much food will be available...

It does seem strange to have a party at that time of day without providing more food, though.

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Old 03-30-2009, 05:08 PM
 
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I wouldn't think too much about it if I went to a birthday party from 4-6 and wasn't served a meal. But if I were the host I would definitely serve one.

Next time these folks ask you to a party, pack a Power Bar just in case

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Old 03-30-2009, 05:09 PM
 
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Personally, I would never throw a party without providing food for everyone, but I'm starting to realize that not everyone agrees with me on this. I think throwing a party for little ones during a time frame that generally coincides with dinner time for the vast majority of them is a really bad idea if you don't intend to feed them. And I get that a lot of people are on a budget and want to keep expenses in line, but there are a lot of cheap ways to do that without sending everyone home hungry (pizza, sub sandwiches or even a tray of cold cuts for example.) I also think it's weird that the hosts apparently only provided snacks for the little kid guests while only giving the adults cupcakes (especially since you noted that the kids were so young and it wasn't intended to be a drop off party,) that's just weird and may be even be interpreted as rude by an awful lot of folks. The whole awkward thing could have been prevented if the party had been scheduled for an earlier time, like 3pm. At least then people would be less inclined to assume that a meal would be served to the guests.

So, yeah, I would have been miffed if I were you anono-mom.

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Old 03-30-2009, 05:14 PM
 
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I definitely think that you feed the people you invite. If the invite said snacks, there should have been snacks for everyone. I wouldn't expect to fill up instead of dinner, but there should have been some chips and salsa or crackers and cheese at least. Another $20 spent would have provided snacks for all. If it isn't a drop off party, you feed people. Or ask them to bring their own as the assumption is you feed your guests.
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Old 03-30-2009, 05:22 PM
 
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Well I'll be the dissenting voice.

For a two hour party at a gymnastics place, no I wouldn't expect the host to provide food and drink for the adults.

Two reasons:

First, it's at some gym. So the "party" is obviously for the children. Yes, the parents are there, but they are not there to participate the in the party, they are there to be responsible for their child who is not old enough to be left alone.

If this were a backyard barbecue or party at their house, I'd be more inclined to expect food because that would be more of a "family party" atmosphere.

Second - it's two hours. It's perfectly reasonable to expect adults to last a couple of hours without food or drink.
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Old 03-30-2009, 05:26 PM
 
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If I throw a party I provide enough food for everyone who is there. Maybe not a massive buffet, but enough that no one feels uncomfortable digging in. If I can't afford it then I keep it limited to a family party.

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Old 03-30-2009, 05:34 PM
 
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I've never even thought of serving food at a birthday party (unless it's in a restaurant or at home) :

my daughter's party is Sat and we were planning to do it at an arcade (no eating allowed). we were going to make 'gift bags' for all of the kids with treats and a few small toys, but now I'm wondering if we should put something small together for the parents..

would that work or do people really expect to fill up?

ahhh, I feel so....overwhelmed! and caught off-guard!

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Old 03-30-2009, 05:40 PM
 
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I have mixed feelings.

On one hand, I wouldn't expect much if anything at a gym place. It isn't a place that works well with food. I would eat ahead of time.

But, on the other hand, if I provide food for kids and I have reason to believe adults will be there as well (as with a party for that age kid), then yes I'd make sure there was food for the adults as well.
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Old 03-30-2009, 05:42 PM
 
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The more I think about it, the more I think my issue is the time. I just can't imagine having a party from 4-6 pm - one that included parents - and not feeding people. Sure - adults can go a couple hours without food, but that time period isn't just dinner time for many (most?) people. It's also dinner prep time. It seems like a really odd time to have a party with no meal provided...

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Old 03-30-2009, 05:44 PM
 
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The more I think about it, the more I think my issue is the time. I just can't imagine having a party from 4-6 pm - one that included parents - and not feeding people. Sure - adults can go a couple hours without food, but that time period isn't just dinner time for many (most?) people. It's also dinner prep time. It seems like a really odd time to have a party with no meal provided...
Yeah that's a good point. That is dinner time or at least dinner prep time for everyone. It really wasn't a good time to have a party at a gym because of that. It would have been better to have it at a place where you can wander and eat food the whole time. Just an awkward situation.
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Old 03-30-2009, 05:48 PM
 
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I've never been to a kids party where the adults weren't fed, too. That seems really weird to me. I would definitely feed people dinner at a party that ended at 6.... I mean, here, we usually serve dinner at 5:30 since DD goes to bed by 7.

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Old 03-30-2009, 05:50 PM
 
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I would never have a party at any time of day without providing some sort of food for everyone, adults and children alike.

But if I were invited to an afternoon party and there was only food for the kids, I wouldn't even really think about it one way or the other -- no biggie, IMO.

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Old 03-30-2009, 05:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the input. I think what really threw me off was we were at a very similar party in January, same time, different gym place and we were all fed really well - pizza, chicken nuggets, chips, pretzels, fruit tray, veggie tray, etc. And 2 weeks ago we were at an in-home party that spanned across lunch time and there was seriously enough food for 3 bday parties. I guess my expectations were set up because of that. Also, I would never host a party and not feed people so that is just me. I would have been fine with something simple, fruit and veggies for the parents, chips, pretzels, etc - not neccessarily enough for dinner, but enough so that when we got home dinner could have been a sandwich or cereal, not a whole meal. I was starving by the time we left.
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Old 03-30-2009, 05:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've never even thought of serving food at a birthday party (unless it's in a restaurant or at home) :

my daughter's party is Sat and we were planning to do it at an arcade (no eating allowed). we were going to make 'gift bags' for all of the kids with treats and a few small toys, but now I'm wondering if we should put something small together for the parents..

would that work or do people really expect to fill up?

ahhh, I feel so....overwhelmed! and caught off-guard!
Are you doing cake or nothing? what time is the party? If it is not at a meal time and if the place says no food allowed then I wouldn't worry. Drop off or parents stay? If I were a kid and went to a bday party with not even cake, I would say that I would leave a bit disappointed.
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Old 03-30-2009, 06:02 PM
 
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My kids have never been to a party somewhere like that where the adults were fed. Adults only get fed at family parties, not at kid oriented parties.
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Old 03-30-2009, 06:03 PM
 
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What's a party without some food for everyone invited? I guess different strokes for different folks...
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Old 03-30-2009, 06:12 PM
 
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Are you doing cake or nothing? what time is the party? If it is not at a meal time and if the place says no food allowed then I wouldn't worry. Drop off or parents stay? If I were a kid and went to a bday party with not even cake, I would say that I would leave a bit disappointed.
we have a lot of food allergies between the kids, mine and friends, so we were going to do cookies (a variety, with frosting) and juice boxes.. my daughter's also picking out some [low sugar] candy for the gift bags

the party's from 2:30-4:00, so not right before dinner..

I think that the kids will be ok without having cake since they're all scared to eat our vegan kind (more for me, right?)

oh, and the parents are staying (unless they feel comfortable leaving- I'll be busy making sure the little ones don't escape)..

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Old 03-30-2009, 06:27 PM
 
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Was just your child's name on the invitation? If so, I wouldn't take my kid to a party and expect them to feed me too. Now if the invitation was to your child and you, then that's another story.


You said the invitations clearly stated that "snacks" were being served so there should have been no expectation to replace dinner.

They did serve you a cupcake so at least you got something

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Old 03-30-2009, 06:36 PM
 
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we have a lot of food allergies between the kids, mine and friends, so we were going to do cookies (a variety, with frosting) and juice boxes.. my daughter's also picking out some [low sugar] candy for the gift bags

the party's from 2:30-4:00, so not right before dinner..

I think that the kids will be ok without having cake since they're all scared to eat our vegan kind (more for me, right?)

oh, and the parents are staying (unless they feel comfortable leaving- I'll be busy making sure the little ones don't escape)..
I think you will be fine, cookies replace cake.

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Old 03-30-2009, 10:02 PM
 
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I think it's weird. The way I look at it is like this: I'd rather err on the side of caution. If you serve food when its not necessary or people don't expect it, then most will be happily surprised and the worst thing that will happen is that you have a lot of leftovers.

But if people are expecting food and there is none, then you've got crabby, hungry, irritated folks on your hands. I wouldn't want to risk it. Just doesn't seem neighborly.

That said, I would also assume the best of the hosts and not give it much thought. After I filled my belly!

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Old 03-30-2009, 10:09 PM
 
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While I personally tend to have way too much food at events like this I would never assume. So many people can't afford to throw their kids big parties but feel like they must because all their little friends do it. We haven't ever had any more than just family at our parties just for that reason, i don't have the space and I can't afford to feed everyone.
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Old 03-30-2009, 11:04 PM
 
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I my self always like to provide food for both the kidies and the adults however I'd NEVER expect a host to provide food for me actually I wouldn't expect there to be "adquate" food for child (very picky eatter) or the proper foods for me eaither. (diabetic).

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Old 03-31-2009, 12:01 AM
 
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If I have a party I serve food-it's really that simple. Where i live though everyone is really into potlucks, so it's like I'll do the cake and drinks and people can bring other snacks.

We're doing this for DD's b-day this year, my MIL suggested potluck because our family is huge.

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Old 03-31-2009, 12:52 AM
 
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I do mid-afternoon parties, usually at the park, to keep cost down. Cake, ice cream, punch, soda, water, chips and dip, crackers, cheese. Usually I have made too much. Time to start planning my daughter's party...
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Old 03-31-2009, 01:00 AM
 
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A party from 4-6pm, I would absolutely expect that there would be food, both for the kids and the parents.

A party at 2-4pm, I wouldn't expect a meal. I WOULD expect some kind of snack for the parents as well as the kids.

I wouldn't expect any parents to just 'drop off' a four year old (or younger child). I think at that age, the parent's name doesn't need to be on the invitation, it's just implied.

My rule of thumb is always that if you plan a party at what would be a normal meal time, then you should provide a meal.

I'm one of those people, like several above, who always serves a ridiculous amount of food. Better to have too much than not enough.

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