From over the top birthday parties down to the basics

photo 1 (1)Birthday parties are such a fun and joyous occasion that I start planning months before the actual day. I decide on a theme and start pinterest-ing away! Between my two boys, I have hosted 8 birthday parties, and each one has been pretty different. When I just had my first son, I went all out. You know, the party where everything matches from homemade table decorations, water bottle labels and even napkin rings? I would order an adorable PDF set from Etsy and just go all out. Who doesn’t need EVERYTHING personalized at a party, right? Banners, cupcake toppers and food signs … I used it all. I can’t even tell you the amount of ink and card stock I went through.  

While it was really fun (but I may add super time consuming), the time I had for those type of parties just doesn’t exist anymore. Don’t get me wrong; for my youngest’s 2nd birthday party this past October, I did go a bit crazy, but it was nothing like it was when I had only one child. Most of the birthday parties we have had have been at home, but as my oldest has started requesting party venues, we have honored his requests.

For his 6th birthday this past February, he wanted to have his party at a local indoor playground, Palm Tree Playground (who is also a NOMB sponsor, but I paid for this party myself, thank you very much). I could have gone overboard and decorated the room with tablecloths, centerpieces and balloons which would have been like my normal self but alas, I didn’t. The date just crept up on me and I showed up with just snacks and the cake. That’s it!

photo 5Our venue provided the cups, napkins, plates, drinks and even the ice cream! Can you just talk about EASY? It was the least stressful party I have ever thrown. I actually got to relax and enjoy the party! I am usually stressing over refilling the ice bucket, replenishing the snacks and constantly checking the time to make sure things are going according to plan. At this party, all that craziness was taken care of by the staff.

While I think I still have a few more parties to go all out for (my youngest is only 2), it is refreshing to know that my 6 year old is just as happy with a party without cups with personalized party logos on it and themed cupcake toppers. It’s for sure easier on me and takes the pressure off of me trying make everything coordinated and perfect. I look forward to much more laid back birthday parties where I can actually enjoy it with my family without making sure the chip and dip tray is fully stocked.

Do you go all out for birthday parties? Do you have them in home or at a venue? Why do you choose one over the other?

Mary Olivio
Mary is a caffeine addicted boy mom to Noah, Liam and Luke. This “stay at home” mom can typically been found cruising in her minivan, jamming to Beyonce with a Starbucks in hand on her way to carpool or after school activities. Mary has been married to her high school sweetheart since 2007. She is a founder of Delivering Hope NOLA and the Vanessa Wolff Scholarship Fund at her Alma Mater. Mary is passionate in the local preemie community and has been heavily involved with the March of Dimes since her sons Liam and Luke were born premature.


  1. Party planning is my happy place, so yes!! I just love every single thing about it, every minor detail. But I totally get the easy aspect- I would totally do it if I didn’t enjoy it so much

  2. I do the bare minimum as far as decorating. I also had the last 2 parties at Palm Tree Playground. Easy peasy. I’ve got another one booked for May. I do go all out ok the bday cupcakes, balloons (bc my kids love balloons), and bday outfit. Otherwise, simple favors, simple food, and enjoy it. When they’re older it’ll be all about their friends and less about you.


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