Do I need to invite the whole class?

Plans are already underway for Lily's fifth birthday party in September. I'm currently swamped with ideas and potential products to purchase. I'm hunting down bargains, designing invitations, researching entertainment and worrying over the cake.

However, there is another aspect of party planning which concerns me this year that hasn't been a problem before.

As Lily starts school in September, will I have to invite the whole class?

At first I assumed that I should and would. I hate the thought of leaving anyone out, even if they haven't formed friendships a few weeks in.

But, added to Lily's friends and family we'd be looking at a party for over 50 children.
Now, I might love a good party but I'm not completely bonkers.

A party for 50 children is just excessive. Excessive spending. Excessive noise. Excessive stress.

Do I really need to invite the whole class?

In my quest to find out the answer I have trawled forums, articles and etiquette websites. And have come up with five different areas for me to consider.

It may be terribly impolite to talk about finances but let's be straight from the start, we don't have a lot of disposable income and parties are expensive. That's why I'm starting now and trying to spread the cost over the next 4-5 months. I'll be searching the internet and the sales for the very best deals and I'll be doing as much as possible myself to bring down supplier costs.

It is going to be pricey but, in the end, with limited funds, I'd rather put on a good party for Lily and her close friends rather than a mediocre party for every child she happens across.

Class Size
We still don't know which school Lily will be attending in September. On one hand you have a standard 30 pupils in a class, in the other you have 20 children in the class sharing the space and free-flow play area with 40 other children. You can see how things could quite quickly spiral out of control.

The last thing I want to do is invite the majority of children but leave out just a few. That is terribly unkind and is just not on. If I can't invite the whole class then I will set a maximum of 10 classmates who Lily particularly wants to invite.

If you have a venue in mind already, you may be restricted on how many people you can invite. Capacity limits are set for a reason and no venue is going to be happy with you trying to slip in an extra 10 children, plus their parents. 

I'm yet to decide, but the venue we had last year is certainly limited in size, we certainly couldn't fit in the whole class.

I'm a big fan of traditional party games rather than hiring out bouncy castles, performers, go karts and pony rides (!)

That said, the more children you have the harder it is to keep them focused on a game of pass the parcel. I've been toying with the idea of a dance workshop or maybe another visit from Love, Trust, Fairydust which was wonderful last year. Although they are far more able to entertain a large group of children I wouldn't want to risk spoiling the experience by cramming in too many children to one entertainer.

Girls vs Boys
This could end up being a simpler way of picking guests but wouldn't work for everybody. Perhaps when Lily is older she'll want a party more suited to inviting just girls but right now most of her friends are boys and I'm not planning on leaving them out just because it would make it easier to whittle down class numbers.

I think it's pretty clear that I'll be inviting just a few class members to Lily's party this year. I may change my mind in the future for other parties but for now I'm happy with my reasoning and my intentions. It's not a debate of inclusion or exclusion, it's a matter of finance and practicality.

What about you? Do you invite the whole class? Let me know in the comments!

Paula from Her Life Is Love said...

I never planned any birthday parties as my daughter is too young for this dilemma, but I'm leaning towards not inviting the whole class. Invitations out of obligation puts a damper on the party in the end. #twinklytuesday

Mummascribbles said...

Ohhh this has totally been on my mind. I too have a September baby who starts school this year so he will barely know anyone properly. I think I'll probably keep it small this year. I went to my nephew's 5th birthday a few weeks ago and the whole class was invited but only about half (if that) turned up. There were soooo many party bags left over. Thanks for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

Crummy Mummy said...

I wrote a post about why class birthdays have a lot to answer for! In reception year everyone invited the whole class so no-one was left out, but now BB is in year one & friendship groups have formed everyone is having smaller parties. I hope that helps! #twinklytuesday

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