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Ask @DadandBuried: Should I Rent a Venue for My Son's Birthday?

Ask @DadandBuried: Should I Rent a Venue for My Son's Birthday?

As kids get older, it's hard to know whether the costs you'll save for an at-home party are worth it.


When it comes to raising kids, there are so many questions of what should I do? When wondering what to do, it’s usually our first instinct to ask our friends for their advice. So, we asked Mike Julianelle, the 40-something father of two behind @dadandburied, to share his honest, hilarious, tell-it-like-it-is advice to your parenting questions. This month’s question: Should I rent out a venue or host my son's birthday at home?

My son’s birthday is coming up. We used to host birthday parties in our home, but he’s in third grade, and his friend group has gotten bigger. I’m not sure I want to deal with decorating or cleaning up after 15 kids and their parents. So, I’m considering renting a play space—one of the bouncy venues. But I can’t decide!
 —Jean P., Bay Ridge, Brooklyn

This is a question I’ve wrestled with myself, multiple times. Is it better to host a birthday party at home or to have the party at a venue? Not an easy call—unless you’re among the 1 percent. I mean, if you’re one of the Kardashians and you have a palatial estate that you can decorate like mad, and install bouncy houses and games, complete with employees who will handle setup and cleanup? That’s the way to go.

But if you’re just one of us regular folks? It’s convenience vs. cost.

Going the venue route is super convenient. Everything—except maybe the birthday cake—is usually handled by the venue. The staff decorates, plans the games and activities on-site, and handles all the cleanup. It can be more expensive to secure those hours—especially for a venue in the NYC area—but it’s largely stress-free. That’s huge.



Hosting at home can be cheaper, but it may cost your sanity. You’ll be stressed about decorations; you’ll need to provide food and drink and the fun. You’ll be stressed about cleaning before guests arrive; you’ll be stressed about cleaning after guests leave; there’s a lot of work involved! And while it should definitely cost less money, making sure everything is Pinterest-perfect may end up costing more than you suspect. (And if you enlist your arts and crafts-impaired spouse in the preparations, you might have to factor in the expense of the resulting divorce as well!) All the extra work—and its accompanying headaches—may counter the cost benefit.

It ultimately comes down to which you prefer: saving money or peace of mind.

One more thing: If you do host the party at home, I implore you to provide beer or wine for your fellow parents. Nobody needs to suffer through one of those things stone-cold sober! Though some venues do allow it, many don’t. In fact, that’s what ultimately tips the scales for me. Looks like we’ll be hosting the next birthday party at home!


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Mike Julianelle

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Mike Julianelle is the Brooklyn dad behind the popular blog, DadandBuried.com, and its Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts.

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