My mom was always the mother who made me invite everyone to my birthday parties so that no one felt left out. I didn’t always want to invite all of the neighbor kids (especially the ones who were mean to me) but my mom thought that their feelings might get hurt. Sorry Mom, but I respectfully disagree. I don’t think you need to invite every kid to your child’s birthday party. I don’t. So let me explain.

Here’s the scoop:

1. You’ve spent a lot of time and money on your party. This party is about your child, not the neighbor kid.
2. You are a sane person, and you want to keep it that way. Twelve 3 year-olds running around your house will not be fun. No, really. It’s not fun. I think that 6 kids is a good number for parties up to age 5. And then you can start bumping it up and I like to keep the limit at 12 for kids under 12.
3. Everyone wants the attention of the guest of honor. If they don’t get that attention then you might have unhappy or bored guests. Not good. More kids means less chance of interaction with the birthday boy or girl.
4. Houses can fill up fast and you might not have enough room to accommodate that many guests. Keep this in mind. Factor in adults too. Are parents staying or dropping off their child? If lots of parents are staying then you might need to shorten your list even further to allow ample room to be them to be comfortable.
5. This party is about your child having a good time, not a social agenda. So cherry pick your guests and forget the obligation to invite the whole soccer team or the whole school class. An easy place to cut is kids that have never invited your kids to a party. Mail or hand deliver the invites so that uninvited classmates or soccer buddies don’t feel bad.
6. If your child is terribly shy, forcing them to be around a bunch of kids isn’t going to help. All the more reason to just invite a few close friends.

By looking at this from another angle and remembering that this party is for your child, I hope that you will see the wisdom of limiting the number of guests you invite to a birthday party. You will be more relaxed and your child will have fun. And that’s the point, right?


  1. Thank you for this. I was in the process of planning a Superhero party for both my son and daughter in March and inviting 50 kids between the ages of 4-7! Yes!!! Insane…The task alone is daunting. After reading this, I have decided what was already nagging me in my subconscious. Keep it to a minimum. I will invite 12 kids only and let my kids invite 6 kids apiece. I will have the party in my backyard sometime in May when it is warmer. This will cut down on the Hall rental costs and a bunch of other things! Thanks!!!

    Events-ualities    Saturday, January 16, 2010
  2. I learned the hard way that you just can’t invite everyone and that 17 six year old girls running around your house hyped up on sugar is NOT a good thing!

    Brenda    Tuesday, January 19, 2010
  3. I couldn’t agree more!! I believe in inviting only those kid’s that the birthday child is “actually” friends with. :)

    Chris @ Celebrations At Home    Saturday, January 30, 2010
  4. We have always had big parties. My daughter’s is in October and my two boys at the end of March. Since many of our friends have kids of similar ages we have always just had everyone over resulting in up to 25 kids at a time.

    Our coping strategies:
    -we have a few of the parents stay to help out
    -rain or shine (we’ve been lucky so far!) it has been in our big back yard
    -we limit sugary treats until the end (serve fruit, veggies, cheese, crackers etc)
    -we play very active games like freeze tag, what time is it Mr. Wolf, follow the leader etc.
    -we went in with three other families to buy a jumpy castle that now makes the rounds to all of our parties

    Thia has worked great for us so far. Now that my daughter is turning 6 however we are making a change to a smaller, station based party (based on your art party plan!) We will limit the kids to around 10 and for those that would normally have younger siblings attend, we are going to have the Dads take them to the park for a couple of hours. After the party when most guests have left, the Dads/siblings will return for a BBQ and some play.

    Shannon    Friday, September 9, 2011
  5. I agree on this post! I’m from the Philippines and it’s quite common among high profile people here to have a large number of guests. So when there’s a kid’s birthday, there were always the pinatas and everything, and the venue would be on expensive hotel halls or clubhouses. Only the average people celebrate theirs at their homes,but the pinatas are still there. I don’t know maybe pinatas are just our tradition here. And mostly people here love to invite as many as they like, but i think it’s just too annoying to invite people that you don’t even know. They just want to eat and receive favors anyway. And some event planners here just sucks when it comes to decorating parties, balloons are everywhere! A ceiling full of hanging balloons, the centerpieces made of twisted balloons, and some decors made of balloons just made me sick. And too much colorful drapings is just ridiculous for a kid’s birthday. I agree it’s a lack of imagination and creativity. There were only few event planners here that has “good tastes” in decorating like you are. And I know it’s because of their research for a great party planning. Anyway, I learned so much from your blog. Thank you for inspiring! :)

    Megan    Monday, October 3, 2011

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