Oh, birthday parties, I love them! The planning, the fun, the chaos. But what do you do when this happens? YOUR CHILD wants to invite friends to a birthday party. YOU don’t want family to feel left out. It’s more practical to have friends over during the day but family can’t come until nighttime, after work. You want to have the party on your child’s actual birthday, but their birthday falls on a Tuesday. You can go back and forth, back and forth trying to make a decision.

When to have a combined party:

1. If it’s a “big deal” age for your child. One, eight, and 16 are a pretty big deal around here.
2. If cousins are the same ages as your kids, so they would be coming to both parties anyway.
3. If you always invite your mom or sister or sister-in-law to every party you have, then you might as well combine.

When to have two separate parties:

1. If hosting one huge party is just going to add more craziness to the mix, and you really can’t handle any more craziness.
2. If cousins aren’t the same age as the birthday child and you’d have to really alter the friend party to include them.
3. If family members can’t attend during the day because of work, school, long travel, etc.

Sometimes kids are better behaved during the day and nighttime parties are just too late for them to be awake (especially neighbor kids or school friends whose parents might think it’s weird that you are having a late night fête for 5 year olds–know what I’m saying?). However, family members are usually comfortable coming over at night after the first event is over to enjoy a more relaxed party. If work schedules and evenings are the only factors, you know that a logical alternative is to just have the birthday party on the weekend or a holiday when everyone can attend. But if you want to have the party on the day of their actual birthday or if it’s just too much to have that many people over, then split it up.

Keep in mind that sometimes grandparents just want more. More time with their grandkids. More involvement in everything their kids and grandkids do. More attention when they are around. They might want to be a part of the friend party, even if it’s just to sit back and watch their grandchild have fun. So go ahead and invite them to be apart of the whole day. After all of the friends go home–serve dinner, spend some time together, and let them have their one-on-one time. They can watch the birthday kid open the present from grandma and grandpa without all of the chaos of friends around. And your child will have more time to ohh and awww over the gift.

I will honestly say that I’m biased and I love birthdays. I say have two parties to extend the fun and prolong the excitement. Let your child have their day, the whole day. Let their friends have a fun party and then let your family have their time too. If you’re up for a long, crazy day then go for it! It only happens once a year.

Friday–Part 2: plan your invites, food & decorations to stretch through two parties.


  1. I love birthdays and normally my kids end up with 2 separate parties. My oldest who just turned 14 has been having a friend party and a family party for years. Sometimes on the same day but if there is a sleepover then different days. This year her birthday fell on a Sat. so she had her friend party Friday night, we took her out to dinner Sat. night, then she had her family party on Sunday. It was a whole weekend affair. For my 2 younger children we have one big party then also something on their actual birthday if it falls during the week for just us and the grandparents. Birthdays are usually a strung out event in our household.

    Stacy    Thursday, February 18, 2010
  2. Great ideas, Brittany! We live so far from family, that two conflicting parties are never an issue. But these are wonderful suggestions!

    Karen ~ lillybelle Custom Designs    Sunday, February 28, 2010

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