Planning my daughter Sophie’s fifth birthday party started out as a bit of a nightmare. I had my heart set on having a big blowout and inviting all her little friends, their parents, and our family members. I wanted it to be the perfect occasion for all the special people in her life to gather and celebrate while enjoying the Northern California sunshine. But very quickly I realized that this party was going to take a lot more planning than I had originally anticipated!

I soon found myself setting up appointments to see venues, pricing out caterers, and researching entertainment. From what I could tell in those early stages, the cost was going to be astronomical and planning the party was becoming my full-time job. Then, something wonderful happened.

I was having lunch with a girlfriend who’s son is in Kindergarten with Sophie. She told me that she’d thrown an amazing birthday party for her son Xander last year at an all inclusive venue in the Bay Area, and went on and on about how simple and stress-free it all was. I was sold. I drove out to the beautiful venue surrounded by majestic redwoods, met with a special events planner, and booked it right then and there. From then on it was smooth sailing.

As a busy mom, I can honestly say that choosing an all-inclusive venue for my little one’s birthday bash was a great decision. I saved myself so much time, so much stress, and in the end, the birthday party was a massive success for both the kids and the adults. Whether you’re planning a special sweet sixteen or a fantastic fifth birthday, here’s what I learned about planning a fabulous kids birthday party in the Bay Area.

Why Choose AllInclusive for a Kid’s Birthday Party in the Bay Area

My first tip for planning a great birthday bash for your child in the Bay Area is—you guessed it—to hold it at an all-inclusive venue. This is especially important if you plan to have a lot of guests like I did. Of course, you have to make sure to ask the right questions to make sure the party venue is a good fit.

As I said before, you may not realize just how much work goes into planning a big shindig until you actually start. Guest lists, invitations, gifts, decorations, and goodie bags will give you enough to worry about without having to stress about renting equipment, arranging catering, and bringing in activities or entertainment for the kiddos.

For me, the best part about booking an all-inclusive venue was having the support of a coordinator to help with every aspect of the planning and be there on the day of to make sure everything goes smoothly. It was such a weight off my shoulders to not have to worry about running around and picking up rentals or setting up for the big day. I actually got to enjoy my little girl’s birthday and visit with friends and family while watching her frolic outdoors with her little pals.

Fresh Air Bay Area Birthday Party Activities

For the kids, the best part about the all-inclusive venue was most definitely the activities. My tip is to make sure that you choose a venue with lots of outdoor space and plenty of fun things to do. The beautiful venue, nestled in the Santa Cruz mountains, offered so many kid-friendly activities, from rock climbing to nature hikes to swimming, that it was hard to choose an activity for the party. In the end, Sophie decided that she wanted a pool party, so the kids played in the gorgeous outdoor pool for almost the entire afternoon. We basically had to carry them out when it was time for the birthday dinner!

Another activity that the kids loved was the campfire we had after the meal. We all gathered around the fire when it started to get dark and sang songs, told silly stories, and even played a few rounds of charades. I think the adults loved this just as much as the kids! Of course, the highlight was toasting marshmallows over the campfire and making birthday s’mores. After the first bite of her s’more, Sophie looked up at me with wide eyes and chocolate all over her face and said that she never wanted another birthday cake again—she was going to have s’mores from now on.  

Customizable KidFriendly Menus that Adults Will Love Too

I’m really glad we waited to have s’mores until after dinner because otherwise, Sophie would have been too full of marshmallows and chocolate to enjoy any of the delicious party food. The venue allowed us to totally customize the menu to accommodate Sophie’s dairy allergy, so everything from the kid’s buffet was safe for her to eat. Making sure that the caterer offers customizable menus is a great tip for any parent of a child with allergies. I was really pleased that everything was so fresh and healthy—from fresh fruit skewers to veggies and dip platters—while still being totally kid-friendly.

At Kennolyn, the venue we chose for Sophie’s party, they offered special food pricing for children, which was fantastic. Children under the age of two ate for free, meals for kids between ages two and four are 50% off the adult package price, and for kids ages five to twelve years old the price is $10 off of the package price. Thanks to this special pricing for kids, the food costs were very reasonable. Plus, it was a huge relief to not have to rent dishes, tables, and chairs—thankfully, these were all included in the price of the venue.

We all want to create special birthday memories for our kids, but so often we miss out on those special moments because we are too busy doing all the behind-the-scenes work that throwing a party takes. This was honestly the first birthday of Sophie’s that I actually felt present for, and now I’ll have wonderful memories of the special day for years to come.

At Kennolyn, we believe in making special events, like kids’ birthday parties, extra special for kids and parents alike. We offer all-inclusive special events pricing and packages that will help make party planning a breeze. To find out more about special pricing for children, contact us today.

Get $500 off select dates for your meeting, retreat, or special event in 2017.Photo source: Unsplash user Anna Vander Stel

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