"I learned to laugh and crawl, then sit and stand. Now I can walk if you hold my hand. But the fun has just begun. Look out, I'm turning One!"
You made it! You survived the first year of your child! Now it's time to survive the planning of that ever-so-important First Birthday Party. Depending on you, your family, your community and your culture, a child's first birthday could very well be almost as important as a wedding day! Nervous yet? Not to worry, we'll help you through finding the best place to host your child's First Birthday:
Is there a specific geographic area you would like to restrict your search to?
Knowing what region you do or don't want your shower to be located in can easily help rule out several hundred catering halls. Of course the more specific your desired geographic area, the fewer options you have to work with. It may be easiest and most welcome to plan the child's birthday party near their own home. This way the child will feel comfortable, and most importantly, their new playdate and neighborhood friends will be able to attend with ease. It will also help the parents since traveling with a one-year-old is never easy!
Is there a specific type of catering hall (i.e. hotel, vineyard, restaurant, etc.) you would like to restrict your search to?
Limiting your catering hall search to the type of catering hall is another way to quickly narrow down your top choices. Restaurants can offer cozy yet impressive spaces, while hotel ballrooms can offer grand spaces that can hold a large number of guests.
What is the date of your child's birthday party?
This may be an obvious "to do", but it is nevertheless an important factor in selecting the perfect catering hall for your shower. Just like selecting airline tickets, the more flexible you are the more likely it is to get better rates, options and availability. Of course, as the party planner, you should try to arrange a date for the party as close to the date of the guest of honor's actual birthday as possible.
How formal an affair do you want the child's birthday party to be?
The level of formality of your birthday party doesn't necessarily equate to the level of pricing of the catering hall. Instead, it can help you to select an appropriate type of hall if given the choice. Most children parties are laid back affairs, allowing the children to be "set free". This may be especially true for first birthday parties, in which most of the guests are toddlers and need space to explore. Of course, hotel ballrooms offer large spaces that allows for a higher level of formality, as well as for extra space for toddlers to run around in. These are things to keep in mind.
Is there a specific theme you would like to portray?
Selecting a theme for the child's first birthday party could really enhance the overall experience for the guest(s) of honor as well as for everyone else. Children birthday parties are especially known for sticking to and celebrating a theme, and first birthday parties should be no exception. Carrying through with a theme does not have to stop at the location. For example, perhaps the birthday child recently had a great time during a beach vacation. It might be a nice idea to arrange the birthday party on or near the beach. This way you can be (almost!) sure that the toddler will have fun on their own birthday!
How many people will you be hosting at the child's birthday party?
The number of anticipated guests will undoubtedly help limit your catering hall choices, especially if it's a large number, and especially if the number of guests is inflexible. This could be the determining factor of where your event should be located at, simply due to the number of catering halls available with a large capacity, such as hotels or outdoor spaces.
Will you be requiring onsite food catering?
Most of the catering halls we showcase on our website include food catering. However, some do not and will require additional cost and planning in order to provide quality food for your guests.
How much do you expect to spend on food/beverages?
As mentioned earlier, this is an important consideration, and could be the deciding factor on which catering hall to go with. Depending on your budget, you can decide to offer drinks and/or bar service (for the adults only, of course!), food stations and hors d'oeuvres/appetizers additionally or exclusively. Another way to cut costs a bit is to choose a catering hall that allows for buffet lines, rather than table service. Catering halls at restaurants may also help cut costs since there would be no cost for transporting food, or for special chefs. Pay special attention to whether there will be food available at the party that toddlers or older babies can also enjoy, such as pasta or pizza.
Will you be requiring a Kosher, Vegetarian or Vegan menus?
Many catering halls do offer Kosher, Vegetarian or Vegan menus. If this is a must for your event, make sure your catering hall choice has this option.
Will you be requiring a full service bar or food stations/carving?
Most catering halls (especially hotels and large halls) will offer this service in a customized party package. If the catering hall of your choice does not offer this service in a package be sure to inquire about the additional costs and how it may or may not affect the overall scheduling of your event. It might be a fun idea to arrange food stations that apply directly to the birthday child's likes. For example, if the child enjoys pears, maybe you could arrange for a table serving only pear specialties.
Will you be requiring a catering hall that provides party favors?
Perhaps not surprisingly, these days many formal catering halls automatically offer you a selection of party favors to choose from in order to streamline your party planning. Many of these packages, however, are catered to wedding parties so the style of party favors may not match a birthday party needs, let alone for children parties. In order to stick with the party theme, it might be best to outsource this duty!
Would you prefer a location with attached or nearby accommodations for out of town guests?
If your answer to this question is yes, then you should highly consider hotels as your choice of catering hall. However, pay special attention to non hotel catering halls that are in close proximity to other hotel accommodations. Most halls should have this information ready at hand.
Will you be requiring a party planner?
If you book your child's birthday party at an established catering hall, chances are you will be provided with an in-house party planner that can help ensure that your event goes smoothly. If you are not provided with one, but you are still interested in having a party planner, keep in mind that Long Island party planners have a wide range of rates, involvement and expertise. The catering hall of your choice could also assist you in finding a party planner who has been involved with past events at that location.
Would simultaneous events at your location be acceptable?
This is an important, yet often overlooked, factor to keep in mind when booking your birthday party. You may not want to compete with a neighboring party that will have loud -and perhaps clashing- music. As a responsible adult, you may want to inquire about the nature of the neighboring events, and keep a sharp eye for straying children. However, keep in mind that catering halls that offer simultaneous events could help keep your costs low and could even fuel the party spirit.
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