First b-day baby luau costs?! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 17 Old 07-29-2008, 07:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok. So, I've been living in HI several years. I know that the first b-day baby luau thing is a big deal. DH has told me more than once that we WILL be expected to do one, it IS a big deal, and his mom and auntie are really excited about this. Ok, I get it. It's a big deal.

Well, apparently, I didn't really get it.

I mean, I know it's a big deal, but I had no idea HOW big, you know? The first idea that I had was we'd do some kind of BBQ-party at the beach, no big deal. Well, I guess Auntie doesn't want to do that, and she wants to pay for the party, well, what she said is that she'd like to "keep it to 50 people" and she'd pay for us to do it at a restaurant-- twice. Fine, the old lady's got bad arthritis and what seems to be a host of other problems, and I can understand she doesn't want to hang out on the beach, she wants A/C. So I came up with a few more ideas, and the one everyone could agree on was something at Dave & Busters (since most of those attending will be adults, DD being the first grandbaby of the whole generation, in a generation that looked like it wasn't going to end up having kids in the first place). And we like Dave & Busters, and I know they will let you rent a room.
Well, we started pricing and figuring out how much it will cost-- it's looking like between roughly $1300 and $1500. I'm totally freaked out, we CANNOT pay that much for a birthday party, and surely Auntie can't afford that-- she is old, retired teacher, and on a fixed income! Well, I guess I"m just WRONG about that, and DH and MIL can't figure out why the idea of spending $1500 on a birthday party for a one year old freaks me out.

Well, I guess MIL and DH and Auntie figured that it is not "unusual" for people to spend (to me) ridiculous sums of money-- figure 5K to 10K-- on this thing. And Auntie and MIL have been saving up since before the baby was born in order to throw this thing properly, I guess.

I'm having trouble with this. I can't seriously imagine spending that much on a b-day party, unless you're like, dripping with it, you know? DH suggested that I google it to see if I can find an average cost for first b-day luaus in HI. I can't find anything like that. I HAVE, however, found many, many references to people planning this thing as far as SIX MONTHS in advance. And inviting in excess of 100 people. And bands. In addition to clowns or balloon-twister-dudes. And people panicking because they haven't found these things and it's getting "close"-- when it's three months away.

Can anyone tell me how much they *really* spent-ish on a first b-day luau? Is it really usually this expensive and elaborate? People really spend months on planning this kind of thing?

ETA: Oh, and apparently, I'm also supposed to be making and sending out invitations that involve photos in some way, and these are supposed to go out about a month in advance.
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#2 of 17 Old 07-29-2008, 09:25 PM
 
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If you can get away with only spending $1500 for a party at Dave an Buster's then that is a deal.
Yup, people pay 5K to 10K easily on first luau's, most of the time they can't really afford that, but it's just what is done.
We did a small gathering in our backyard, with say 24 people, and just doing that was about $600 (when you consider the food and booze), no clowns, no entertainment, just us. And I baked the cake so no expesive cake.
If they're offering to pay then just accept it. It is a huge deal, right on par with weddings. It's a time to celebrate family.

If you're looking for cheaper then you can try to rent out a community center, and then find a cheaper caterer, but that would be more work than Dave and Busters.

Sorry!
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#3 of 17 Old 07-29-2008, 11:13 PM
 
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there were 300 at my brothers first! bands, parking shuttles, big emu, etc. you get the picture... not sure on cost since that was almost 20 years ago.

my dd's 4.5 years ago was a bit more tame and more kid oriented. i would say 50ish, potluck, etc but we probably still spent $500ish on the day... kegs, gift bags, cake, emu, sound system, etc.

i think that they baby luaus look different for everyone.

if someone else wants to pay for something that still fits into what you are OK with run with it, have a great time, celebrate and enjoy your dd :-))
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#4 of 17 Old 07-30-2008, 12:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Emu? You had an emu? That sounds so cool. You probably cant have an emu on Oahu, though, huh?

Well, OK. I just wanted to see if people REALLY spend that much... But both of you spent less than 1k! So do you guys think you are oddballs, or do you think that is more along the lines of what most people spend? That number is a little more reasonable for a b-day party.

Oh, well. I guess it is not that big of a deal since we are not paying for it. Still! It makes me feel weird.
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#5 of 17 Old 07-30-2008, 04:13 AM
 
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i meant an imu, typing too fast :-))

i think it varies - how big the family, different cultural traditions, etc.

sure it is a bit crazy, it's not like the 1 year old remembers, it is tradition in the islands.
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#6 of 17 Old 07-30-2008, 05:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok, you lost me, then. What's an imu? is this something I should know about?
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#7 of 17 Old 07-30-2008, 09:16 AM
 
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Ooh first birthday luaus for babies? I haven't heard anything about that! Is it not as big of a deal on Maui or something?
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#8 of 17 Old 07-30-2008, 01:08 PM
 
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imu - the cooking of food in the ground; pork, fish, vegies, etc.

and i would think it is just as big on maui...

it is a hawaiian/local tradition, stemming from the celebration that a baby made it past their first year since that wasn't always the case.
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#9 of 17 Old 07-30-2008, 01:54 PM
 
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First baby's luaus are common among locals. It has tragic origins as a PP mentioned. In the old days, it was common for a child to pass away the first year because of foreign illnesses and poor health so making it past the first birthday was something to be celebrated.

We had a first baby party rather than a luau. My DH is part-Hawaiian but he didn't want a luau. We had over about 20 people to the house. Some of the food was made at home. Some we bought. We had games, presents for the winners, and of course the all important goodie bags for the kids.

We didn't do an imu. I'm not sure we could have done it without getting permission from the local firestation.

Some people spend a lot of money on the first baby luau. I was invited to one in Kahaluu on Oahu where they had 2 whole pigs in the imu that the parents dug in their own backyard. Guess it's allowed in the rural areas..? There were about 200 people at the luau. There was professional entertainment, tons of food, and all sorts of games. It must have taken a lot of planning and preparation, far more than I'm willing to do.

People start planning these luaus early. My friend had her baby just recently and she's already calling up various places to book the first baby party. I think she's doing a huge party instead of a luau.

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#10 of 17 Old 07-30-2008, 06:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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OH! Yeah... I guess I should have known that one. DH has mentioned them before. Usually complaining about how much work they are to dig. I don't know if he ever called it that. He probably did and I just forgot. Yeah, I don't think we can do one of those. Our backyard is all cement.
We're probably going to do a party instead of a luau, just because less work.
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#11 of 17 Old 07-31-2008, 03:43 AM
 
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Wow that is sad I had plans to of course have a celebration for her first birthday but now I'll have an excuse to make it even bigger
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#12 of 17 Old 08-06-2008, 05:16 PM
 
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Well we had the obbligatory luau for our first child. My moms husband at the time was local and they sorta helped.

We rented a community center. My moms husbands family provided a band as well as the pig, chicken long rice etc....all the local food. We provided the Rice Dream, vegi foods, and cake. Pinata too. It was an interesting mix of people.

We also did the photo invite. We took a great photo we had and a friend did the work. That was b/f computers were so handy. I think it would be so easy now to make something and get it printd at kinkos.

We have not had luaus for any of the other kids except 1. Just circumstances.

The first is a blast though. Oh and per local custom someone made a money box. Just a cardboard box wrapped in festive paper with a slot to drop cards in. I think we were gifted triple what we spent....
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#13 of 17 Old 08-06-2008, 09:32 PM
 
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We spent about $1000?

Catering (Clam Bake Hawaii does a great Luau), Cake (Cake Lava in Kailua), etc.

It's for the family & friends and it's different - mostly adults compared to later kids parties when it's kids galore.

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#14 of 17 Old 08-09-2008, 05:36 AM
 
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Yikes, it's embaressing and crazy how much these things cost. With DS we had it at the Bishop Museum - about 100 people. We had to pay for the site fee, catering, a band, entertainment (my MIL hired a clown who did balloon animals and face painting), drinks, favors, centerpieces, decorations, OMG!! It was crazy. I kind of had fun though because I didn't have a big wedding so I enjoyed the planning process. My DS was born in Seattle so this was also a big deal because many of our guests had not met our son before.

With DD we had another large party but it was a little more relaxed. We rented out a ranch in Waimanalo and it came with a horse and pony for rides. There were a lot more kids at this party so we hired a bounce house. Then again all the crazy planning for the caterer, decorations etc. We could have done an imu (they have a pit at the ranch we rented) but chose not to just because of all the intensive labor. Hiring a caterer was much easier.

Money wise, I don't know the exact total of what we spent. The Bishop Museum was $400, the caterer about $800, the band a couple hundred, all the paper goods and drinks from Costco were a few more hundred, then the cost of all the centerpieces and favors which I would say was about $150 but took a lot of time and labor. We also had a lion dance for both luaus (DH is part Chinese) but the owner of the school is a family friend so we only paid $8.88 but we stuffed over $100 into the lions and fed all the dancers. Oh and the cost of printing up invitations, stamps etc. We used WHCC to print invitations for both parties and they were lovely but cost about $100. For DD the cost of the ranch was $300 and then the cost of everything else was about the same as DS's. I spent a lot more on her favors than DS but less on the centerpieces so I think it evened out somewhere.

But it was all worth it and I would do it again if I had another child.
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#15 of 17 Old 08-22-2008, 03:25 AM
 
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Yes, the first birthday is a significant special occasion in the Hawaiian Culture. And that's what I think a lot of people tend to forget why it's so important to celebrate the first birthday. In the ancient days, babies barely lived to one year and so when they did it was a huge feat and the family would celebrate.

We are in the midst of planning and preparing for our son's first birthday celebration. (it's in October) While the temptation to make our son's first birthday party look like something out of "My Super Sweet 16" we keep reminding ourselves why we are celebrating our son's first birthday. It's a way for us to connect with the traditions of our kupuna (ancestors).

And regarding costs, we are probably at a GRAND total of about $7500, (including facility, catering, decorations, favors, games/prizes, and entertainment). However, if it wasn't for the ALOHA spirit and the fact that a lot of friends and family are donating goods/services our total would be around $12000 or so. We are expecting around 500 people to attend, including approximately 150 kids.

We are not filthy rich and this is by no means easy for us to dish out this kind money, but its also a way for us to thank the people who have already done so much in his first year and to thank them in advance for all the things they will do for our son in the years to come. As they say it takes a village to raise a child. I have heard of people who have applied for bank loans in the tens of thousands. I think that is absurd, if you can't afford it by saving, then you should party within your means.

While, so may look at this as ridiculous, we see it as a way to bless our child for the many years he has ahead of him. One of our main goals in preparing for this party is that while staying grounded and remember the traditions of our kupuna we need to make sure we provide a stable future for our son. So at his party we are making it a point for no balloons or extraneous decorations that will just be thrown away or flown away after the party is done, and we're also not wasting our money on prizes for the kids that will end up in the trash can by the end of the night. Rather we are decorating with the environment in mind and providing educational prizes that the kids will benefit from and also not just throw away or leave behind. In addition, we are asking our guests to recycle at the party (separating cans, bottles, paper goods, and leftovers----the leftovers will be given as slop to a local farm). We feel that our earth is already in trouble and that we need to remind our guests (mostly the children and their parents) that its up to us to provide a better tomorrow for the next generation.

I hope that this helps in understanding why people spend so much time and effort in throwing such a big party. Luckily for me, I am a Event planner so this type of stuff comes natural to me, but there are SO many resources on the internet that it's pretty simple to throw a party big or small.
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#16 of 17 Old 08-25-2008, 07:32 AM
 
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I have a couple of coupons for the 1st baby luau at hawaiian waters - let me know if you are interested. My youngest is 22 months so I won' be needing it.
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#17 of 17 Old 12-11-2008, 05:14 PM
 
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That is a really cool tradition! Thanks for sharing! My husband and I are bouncing around the idea of moving to the islands in about two years or so, and it's interesting to read about different traditions. We have pretty simple birthdays, I'm from California, and we just had a party by the lake for our first baby's first. It was fun, but very low key.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KU's Mommy View Post
Yes, the first birthday is a significant special occasion in the Hawaiian Culture. And that's what I think a lot of people tend to forget why it's so important to celebrate the first birthday. In the ancient days, babies barely lived to one year and so when they did it was a huge feat and the family would celebrate.

We are in the midst of planning and preparing for our son's first birthday celebration. (it's in October) While the temptation to make our son's first birthday party look like something out of "My Super Sweet 16" we keep reminding ourselves why we are celebrating our son's first birthday. It's a way for us to connect with the traditions of our kupuna (ancestors).

And regarding costs, we are probably at a GRAND total of about $7500, (including facility, catering, decorations, favors, games/prizes, and entertainment). However, if it wasn't for the ALOHA spirit and the fact that a lot of friends and family are donating goods/services our total would be around $12000 or so. We are expecting around 500 people to attend, including approximately 150 kids.

We are not filthy rich and this is by no means easy for us to dish out this kind money, but its also a way for us to thank the people who have already done so much in his first year and to thank them in advance for all the things they will do for our son in the years to come. As they say it takes a village to raise a child. I have heard of people who have applied for bank loans in the tens of thousands. I think that is absurd, if you can't afford it by saving, then you should party within your means.

While, so may look at this as ridiculous, we see it as a way to bless our child for the many years he has ahead of him. One of our main goals in preparing for this party is that while staying grounded and remember the traditions of our kupuna we need to make sure we provide a stable future for our son. So at his party we are making it a point for no balloons or extraneous decorations that will just be thrown away or flown away after the party is done, and we're also not wasting our money on prizes for the kids that will end up in the trash can by the end of the night. Rather we are decorating with the environment in mind and providing educational prizes that the kids will benefit from and also not just throw away or leave behind. In addition, we are asking our guests to recycle at the party (separating cans, bottles, paper goods, and leftovers----the leftovers will be given as slop to a local farm). We feel that our earth is already in trouble and that we need to remind our guests (mostly the children and their parents) that its up to us to provide a better tomorrow for the next generation.

I hope that this helps in understanding why people spend so much time and effort in throwing such a big party. Luckily for me, I am a Event planner so this type of stuff comes natural to me, but there are SO many resources on the internet that it's pretty simple to throw a party big or small.

Mom of 5 working full-time and waiting to go to nursing school! Whew! I need a nap! joy.gif

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