Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Family and Children => Topic started by: lisztchick on February 09, 2014, 03:53:16 PM

Title: No dinner?
Post by: lisztchick on February 09, 2014, 03:53:16 PM
From an etiquette standpoint, if one is invited to a party that lasts from 6:00 pm until 8:00 pm, is it reasonable to expect that some sort of dinner will be served?

DD (age 3) was invited to the birthday party of one of her classmates. It was held at a party-type place she has been to before, about twenty miles away from where we live. DH attended the party with DD, and I was surprised that they didn't return until almost 9:00 pm. I was also surprised to them returning with fast food (which my daughter fell upon ravenously, albeit rather sleepily!) Apparently, the children at the party (ages 3 - 4) were only served juice, cookies, and cupcakes.

DD has been to many of her friends' birthday parties, and there has always been more substantial food served, ranging from elaborate spreads (mostly for the parents, I guess!) to plain cheese pizza or hot dogs. I could see if the party were held at 3:00, or 4:00, I might not expect anything other than cake or ice cream. But if a party is held from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm, is it a reasonable assumption that some sort of dinner would be provided? Should they have said something on the invitation? And should I ask about this for future parties?
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: Lindee on February 09, 2014, 04:10:36 PM
I'm more surprised that a party for 3 year olds  was planned to go on till 8 p.m.  I can see them thinking that they would have had a meal earlier, (perhaps they eat at 5.30  in their house?) but  a room full of tired 3 year olds ? Sounds like a nightmare.
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: checkitnice on February 09, 2014, 04:12:06 PM
That's such an odd time to hold a party for that age group to begin with!  Most parties that we've gone to have either been at an in-between time with cake and ice cream, or a full on lunch spread if it's at all close to lunchtime.  If a party were at 6pm I would definitely expect there to be food.  What type of party-place are we talking about?
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: katycoo on February 09, 2014, 04:27:08 PM
That time, for that age group, I'd probably expect it to be dessert only because littlies tent to eat dinner much earlier - at around 5pm.
But that time for that age group is really odd generally.
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: NyaChan on February 09, 2014, 04:36:52 PM
I think this was bad planning - too late a time for that age group and I would expect more food to be served because for me that pretty much spans what a lot of people would consider dinner time.
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: shhh its me on February 09, 2014, 04:45:55 PM
 I would expect a meal .  Leaving the ages out I think you have to start a part after 8pm or even 9pm for time only to convey "no meal".  I'm guessing this family eats early and assumed this was after the dinner hour of 5-6. 

In the future I wouldn't start asking , I would assume with this particular family there will be no meal
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: sammycat on February 09, 2014, 05:14:25 PM
A party for 3 year olds from 6-8pm? Bizarre. Were they getting the room for free by having it at that strange time? A lot of 3 year olds go to bed around then.
 
There should definitely have been a proper meal served. No matter what time of the day a party is held there should be substantial food served, whether it be a sit down type of thing, or lots of finger food. And by finger food I do not just mean cake and biscuits. I love cupcakes and other sweet things, but a party consisting only of cupcakes, biscuits and drinks is completely unheard of where I live. 

Until ehell I'd never encountered situations where people did less than a full spread for a party, regardless of the time of the day.

The absolute bare minimum I have ever encountered was at a lazer zone place and consisted of pizza, popcorn, lollies, chips, a fruit platter, a birthday cake and drinks. There's usually at least one other type of hot finger food to go along with it.

Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: TootsNYC on February 09, 2014, 05:18:43 PM
If they'd started at even 6:30, I might give them a pass. But 6 is prime mealtime, and little-kid meals are really not that difficult to arrange.
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on February 09, 2014, 05:31:58 PM
In my experience those party places usually provide a meal that's part of the package and the only thing the parents of the birthday child provide is a cake.

But add me in with  those surprised to hear that a party for kids in that time frame didn't provide any dinner!
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: sammycat on February 09, 2014, 05:45:02 PM
In my experience those party places usually provide a meal that's part of the package and the only thing the parents of the birthday child provide is a cake.

Yes, my experience too. Unless they just invited a bunch of people to meet them there and didn't actually book a package, I'm surprised at the lack of food. But then, those sorts of places are usually notorious for banning outside food anyway, so I'd be wondering how they got the cupcakes through. This one could be the exception I guess. But either way, it was insufficient food, especially considering the time of day/night.
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: weeblewobble on February 09, 2014, 05:47:38 PM
I think if it became apparent that dinner would not be served at this party, it would be permissible to wish the birthday boy well and then depart. (I can't imagine staying past seven without feeding my kid.) You wouldn't have to tell the hosts why you're leaving.  But there's no reason to let your daughter get so far off schedule because her friend's party is badly planned.
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: Library Dragon on February 09, 2014, 05:49:00 PM
That time, for that age group, I'd probably expect it to be dessert only because littlies tent to eat dinner much earlier - at around 5pm.
But that time for that age group is really odd generally.

POD

I'm speculating this was the one time slot available when they booked the party.  I left booking the Big Mouse Pizza Pace too late and nothing was left.  I lucked out because there was a day available on the day DS1 and his friends had half a day of school.
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: lkdrymom on February 09, 2014, 05:57:53 PM
Every place I have booked for my kids always included a hot dog or slice a pizza no matter what time the party was.  Very odd party time for three year olds and they should have included a non sugar based food.  I can imagine what these over tired, over sugared kids were like after the party.
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on February 09, 2014, 06:22:24 PM
Maybe I've read too many horror stories on ehell but a part of me wonders if maybe the family hid the pizza to take home for themselves and then told everyone only the dessert was available? I know, total assumption here but the stories I've heard here...lol...

Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: purple on February 09, 2014, 07:39:50 PM
I'm with those that say food should be served at every party, consistent with the time of day.

For me, I work it like this:

6am - 9am start time = breakfast (sit down)
10am - 11am start time = brunch (finger food / sweet & savoury)
midday - 2pm start time = lunch (sit down)
2pm - 5pm = afternoon tea (finger food / sweet & savoury)
6pm - 8pm = dinner (sit down)
8pm - onwards = supper (finger food / sweet & savoury)
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: daisy1679 on February 09, 2014, 07:56:42 PM
Every place I have booked for my kids always included a hot dog or slice a pizza no matter what time the party was.  Very odd party time for three year olds and they should have included a non sugar based food.  I can imagine what these over tired, over sugared kids were like after the party.

In my experience, this usually depends on if the place serves food. My son went to a party yesterday at a place that sells those big playsets for your yard and trampolines, but they don't serve food, so it is not included in your party package (which only includes playing on the stuff in their showroom and a party room, everything else you bring in).

A party set from 6-8 I would absolutely expect to include a meal, regardless of the age. At 3, my kids were eating dinner with the rest of the family, usually between 6 and 7. I think the only time I wouldn't expect a meal would be for parties between 2-5, or after 8, but I would probably still expect some sort of snack food other than cake (chips, veggies, etc.)
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: LifeOnPluto on February 09, 2014, 08:30:24 PM
I'm not a parent, but the timing of this party seems very inconvenient to me. Don't most three year olds go to bed by 8pm?

And I think it was remiss of the hosts not to provide more substantial food.
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: TeamBhakta on February 09, 2014, 08:56:37 PM
Maybe I've read too many horror stories on ehell but a part of me wonders if maybe the family hid the pizza to take home for themselves and then told everyone only the dessert was available? I know, total assumption here but the stories I've heard here...lol...

Reminds me of something I saw on Undercover Boss. A mom booked a kids party at a movie theatre and got the pizza and soda package. Unfortunately, she found out during the party each kid got 1 slice of pizza, period, unless you paid extra. And that wasn't going to work for a bunch of hungry little boys. So the theatre folks hustled to get more pizzas for the party and tap danced around "We are so sorry. We should've made that clear on the phone"
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: fountainof on February 09, 2014, 10:37:39 PM
I would also expect food if a weeknight.  If on a weekend I would have fed DD around 5pm as we eat earlier on weekends.
We got to bed at 10pm in this household as DD only has to get up at 8 am as I live 10 minutes from my work.
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: cicero on February 10, 2014, 02:46:00 AM
i agree - for that age group i would have expected food. most three YOs that I know go to sleep earlier (and start to wind down earlier), so by that time, a bunch of 3-4 YOs would be over tired and hyped up on sugar ---- yeah, sounds like a great idea. ::)

so to answer your questions -
*is it a reasonable assumption that some sort of dinner would be provided? - yes. even some pizza/hot dogs would have been fine
*Should they have said something on the invitation? probably, but i think as a parent i would have (like you) assumed, that dinner was being served.
And should I ask about this for future parties? yes or just assume that there was no dinner.
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: Last_Dance on February 10, 2014, 04:03:20 AM
That menu is more appropriate for an afternoon party than an evening one. Considering the time, I think it was reasonable to think your DD wouldn't need/want dinner when she got home
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: CakeEater on February 10, 2014, 04:17:22 AM
I'm with those that say food should be served at every party, consistent with the time of day.

For me, I work it like this:

6am - 9am start time = breakfast (sit down)
10am - 11am start time = brunch (finger food / sweet & savoury)
midday - 2pm start time = lunch (sit down)
2pm - 5pm = afternoon tea (finger food / sweet & savoury)
6pm - 8pm = dinner (sit down)
8pm - onwards = supper (finger food / sweet & savoury)

My version of this goes:

6am - 8.30am start time = breakfast (sit down)
8.30am - 10am start time = brunch (finger food / sweet & savoury)
10am - 1pm start time = lunch (sit down)
1pm - 4pm = afternoon tea (finger food / sweet & savoury)
4pm - 7 pm = dinner (sit down)
7pm - onwards = supper (finger food / sweet & savoury)

Dinner should definitely have been provided at a 6-8pm party.
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: pwv on February 10, 2014, 05:47:41 AM
Maybe the host family feeds their 3yo dinner at 5pm and just assumed that everyone else did as well, and felt that dessert was all they needed to provide.
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: lisztchick on February 10, 2014, 07:22:05 AM
OP here:

Thanks for the all of the replies! When I called the mother to RSVP, she apologized profusely for the time of the party, but (as many have guessed), that was all that the party place had available. I am understanding about that - I figured DD would sleep really well after that party!

DD attended another party at this particular venue (it's a bouncy-castle type place) last year, so I know that they do allow and provide food. This child is a classmate of hers, but we don't really know the family; she's not one of DD's good friends, and she's new to the school. Again, I was just surprised....DD has been to several parties now that did not fall within specific meal times, and food was still provided. Also, because these kids are so little, dropping them off at the party is not an option, so most of us feel that we should provide a little something for the adults to eat as well. Again, a slice of pizza would've been fine.

 And to be honest, I was a little miffed. I think DH felt that it would be awkward to leave, but had I been there, I might've politely excused ourselves and taken my daughter home for dinner.
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: bopper on February 10, 2014, 08:20:45 AM
If you don't want to serve a meal (or pizza), then you need the 2-4pm slot. Anytime before or after that a meal should be included.
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: perpetua on February 10, 2014, 08:39:29 AM
If you don't want to serve a meal (or pizza), then you need the 2-4pm slot. Anytime before or after that a meal should be included.

For adults yes, but for kids? I don't know. When I was a kid we ate tea early. 4.30/5pm ish. It wouldn't even occur to me that kids that young would be eating a full meal so late, so I'd assume they would already have eaten and that snacks etc were perfectly fine; perhaps the mother thought the same.
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: Dindrane on February 10, 2014, 08:58:58 AM
If you don't want to serve a meal (or pizza), then you need the 2-4pm slot. Anytime before or after that a meal should be included.

For adults yes, but for kids? I don't know. When I was a kid we ate tea early. 4.30/5pm ish. It wouldn't even occur to me that kids that young would be eating a full meal so late, so I'd assume they would already have eaten and that snacks etc were perfectly fine; perhaps the mother thought the same.

But most of the kids would have had a parent there, so the "little kids eat dinner early" doesn't really matter.

Aside from that, even assuming a stop for fast food took a little while and the party ran over, the fact that the DH and child didn't get home until 9:00 p.m. makes me think the party place is at least a half hour away. So that means they'd have had to leave home at 5:30 to make it by 6:00, and that means that dinner would have needed to be served at more like 4:30 (depending upon how fast the child typically eats). That might be reasonable for a 3 year old, but I don't know very many adults who are happy eating dinner that early. And for any adults who work, they might not even be able to eat dinner that early. I live pretty close to where I work, and rarely get home much before 5:30.

So until the kids are old enough to attend parties without their parents, the needs of the parents need to be considered as much as the needs of the kids. And when the kids are old enough to go to parties unaccompanied, they're old enough that they would need to have a reasonably substantial dinner at a party starting at 6:00 p.m. Or at least substantial, non-sugary snacks.
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: SamiHami on February 10, 2014, 09:02:06 AM
The rule is that if you invite someone over during what is reasonably expected to be a meal time, you serve them a meal. 6-8 pm is definitely a meal time, so yes--they should have fed the kids.
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: ladyknight1 on February 10, 2014, 09:06:51 AM
Food should have been involved and I would have RSVP'd no because of the hour. Too late, too much sugar and nothing else provided and it just sounds like bad planning to me.
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: camlan on February 10, 2014, 09:27:27 AM
Some little kids do eat early. But I know more than one family with small children where the parents and the kids don't get home until 5:30 or 6 pm--a parent has to drive from work to pick the kids up from day care, then drive home. In many areas, that's going to take at least half an hour. Even if they start getting dinner right away, most nights, they are not eating until 6 or 6:30.

I'd have been okay with the timing if a mention of the food available had been on the invitation. Something like "cake and cookies and fun in the bouncy house!" But otherwise, more substantial food should have been provided.

As a PP pointed out, the party started at 6. Add in travel time, traffic at that hour, etc., and people had to leave home around 5:30.
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: jaxsue on February 10, 2014, 10:17:23 AM
Some little kids do eat early. But I know more than one family with small children where the parents and the kids don't get home until 5:30 or 6 pm--a parent has to drive from work to pick the kids up from day care, then drive home. In many areas, that's going to take at least half an hour. Even if they start getting dinner right away, most nights, they are not eating until 6 or 6:30.

I'd have been okay with the timing if a mention of the food available had been on the invitation. Something like "cake and cookies and fun in the bouncy house!" But otherwise, more substantial food should have been provided.

As a PP pointed out, the party started at 6. Add in travel time, traffic at that hour, etc., and people had to leave home around 5:30.

Per the bolded: IME that's the norm. I know few people who can be home from work by 5 pm (usually military base/gov't personnel), and if there's any prep/travel time to consider, 6 pm is a bit tight.
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: StuffedGrapeLeaves on February 10, 2014, 10:23:59 AM
I would have expected dinner, too, even if it's just pizza.  I would also have made excuses and leave early to feed my kid dinner. 
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: peaches on February 10, 2014, 10:33:02 AM
I find that time frame (6 - 8 p.m.) very late for the invited age group. It looks like the hosts didn't want to serve dinner, so they pushed the time later. But that's late for 3-4 year olds to be out socializing.

I can imagine that working parents would have trouble getting to a party before 6 p.m. But that argues for a weekend party rather than a weeknight one.

I think if I got an invitation that was borderline as to whether it covered the dinner hour or not, I'd phone in my rsvp, and ask if I should feed my child dinner before the party.

But maybe not. In my experience, it's customary to serve substantial food at any birthday party, with the possible exception of an early afternoon one.
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: 123sandy on February 10, 2014, 10:45:01 AM
My youngest went on a sleepover a couple of years ago. He was about 10 at the time. He left our house at 5 pm on Friday and came home at 3pm on Saturday. The sum total of food he got at his friends house? A bag of crisps! He never got to go over there again!
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: StuffedGrapeLeaves on February 10, 2014, 10:50:54 AM
My youngest went on a sleepover a couple of years ago. He was about 10 at the time. He left our house at 5 pm on Friday and came home at 3pm on Saturday. The sum total of food he got at his friends house? A bag of crisps! He never got to go over there again!

 :o  In what planet is this OK?  Did the parents not feed their own kids, too? 
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: ladyknight1 on February 10, 2014, 10:55:18 AM
I don't want to infer anything to the sleepover story, but my family was a foster family for several years. In many of the cases, the children got to go visit other relatives. They always came back hungry. It was heartbreaking.
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: sweetonsno on February 10, 2014, 10:58:19 AM
I also am more surprised that the party went that late than by the lack of meal. Most people I know who have kids around that age put them to bed by seven. (They normally eat at 5 or so.) That said, I would probably expect a bit more food than just crackers and cupcakes.
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: StuffedGrapeLeaves on February 10, 2014, 11:02:02 AM
I don't want to infer anything to the sleepover story, but my family was a foster family for several years. In many of the cases, the children got to go visit other relatives. They always came back hungry. It was heartbreaking.

I didn't even think about that possibility.  If that was the case, that is really sad.  Perhaps 123Sandy can clarify.
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: Eeep! on February 10, 2014, 11:08:22 AM
For a party at that time (which I agree is bizarre for that age group. My ODS, now 4, is still in bed by 8.) I would have expected food.  Add in that it was at one of those type places I would have extra thought there was food because I would have assumed that their party packages always include that.  Now I know that assumption isn't always correct, which really surprises me. I would have thought that those type places would always do that for the money.

And I agree that even if kids normally eat a bit earlier - mine don't because of work timing which we just carry over to the weekends - if you figure in getting ready and travel time (and kids taking forever to eat) the kids would have likely had to eat dinner around 4:30, which is quite early.
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: 123sandy on February 10, 2014, 11:17:26 AM
My youngest went on a sleepover a couple of years ago. He was about 10 at the time. He left our house at 5 pm on Friday and came home at 3pm on Saturday. The sum total of food he got at his friends house? A bag of crisps! He never got to go over there again!

 :o  In what planet is this OK?  Did the parents not feed their own kids, too?

The father cooked breakfast for himself and the younger children but my son and his friend got nothing!
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: artk2002 on February 10, 2014, 01:59:47 PM
I agree that the timing is really off for kids that young and that a meal should have been provided.
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: TootsNYC on February 10, 2014, 02:51:02 PM
If the party had been even 6:30, I might have enquired, "Should I feed her before she goes?"


We had a youth-group-type instruction thing organized for the kids of several churches. It started at 6. I sent my kid to the first one, and she came home shaking, she was so hungry--there hadn't been *anything* to eat, not even snacks!

And considering that the kids would have had to leave home at 5:30 at the -latest- (sometimes more like 5:10), I hadn't expected to make her eat supper. Heck, it was a Sunday night, and most churches in our area have service at 11, so it's over about 12:15, which means most people would eat lunch at 1pm, so sort of late. An early supper is not that common.

When it was our church's turn to host, by gum we had sandwiches. And one of the moms from the other church made a point of spreading around that we expected there to be some sort of food.
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: Twik on February 11, 2014, 10:48:15 AM
My youngest went on a sleepover a couple of years ago. He was about 10 at the time. He left our house at 5 pm on Friday and came home at 3pm on Saturday. The sum total of food he got at his friends house? A bag of crisps! He never got to go over there again!

 :o  In what planet is this OK?  Did the parents not feed their own kids, too?

The father cooked breakfast for himself and the younger children but my son and his friend got nothing!

That's really the definition of bad hosting, isn't it?
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: GrammarNerd on February 11, 2014, 11:39:30 AM
My youngest went on a sleepover a couple of years ago. He was about 10 at the time. He left our house at 5 pm on Friday and came home at 3pm on Saturday. The sum total of food he got at his friends house? A bag of crisps! He never got to go over there again!

 :o  In what planet is this OK?  Did the parents not feed their own kids, too?

The father cooked breakfast for himself and the younger children but my son and his friend got nothing!

I'm just baffled....what possible reason did they give your child for not offering him any food? 

Didn't the friend want to eat?  I know you're not supposed to ask for stuff in a guest's house, but when you've been invited for a sleepover, and breakfast isn't forthcoming and others in the household are, in fact, eating in front of you, I think it would have been perfectly acceptable for your son to ask if he could have something to eat.  Poor kid probably didn't know what to do though.  It's one of those parenting things you never even think to teach your child....how to handle it when you've been invited to someone's house for a while and they don't offer you anything to eat. 

Made me think of the time when my son came home from his friend's house (has slept over there many times) and said he was so hungry.  I asked why b/c the host kid is always hungry and is making food.  Son said they had a pizza (3 boys total) the night before and he and the other guest each had one piece and the host kid took the rest of the pizza for himself.  :o  Apparently no breakfast either that time.
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: darling on February 11, 2014, 11:53:03 AM
My youngest went on a sleepover a couple of years ago. He was about 10 at the time. He left our house at 5 pm on Friday and came home at 3pm on Saturday. The sum total of food he got at his friends house? A bag of crisps! He never got to go over there again!

 :o  In what planet is this OK?  Did the parents not feed their own kids, too?

The father cooked breakfast for himself and the younger children but my son and his friend got nothing!

What??? I would be so upset by that. I would be ashamed to send a kid home hungry, and incensed if my son got nothing to eat for that long other than crisps. That's three missed meals. Would it have killed that dad to pour a bowl of cereal, or make a piece of toast? I would also wonder why the dad didn't feed your son's friend. What the heck was going on there?
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: 123sandy on February 11, 2014, 12:04:18 PM
My youngest went on a sleepover a couple of years ago. He was about 10 at the time. He left our house at 5 pm on Friday and came home at 3pm on Saturday. The sum total of food he got at his friends house? A bag of crisps! He never got to go over there again!

 :o  In what planet is this OK?  Did the parents not feed their own kids, too?

The father cooked breakfast for himself and the younger children but my son and his friend got nothing!

What??? I would be so upset by that. I would be ashamed to send a kid home hungry, and incensed if my son got nothing to eat for that long other than crisps. That's three missed meals. Would it have killed that dad to pour a bowl of cereal, or make a piece of toast? I would also wonder why the dad didn't feed your son's friend. What the heck was going on there?

I would be mortified if a child left my house and went home hungry. I always always seem to get kids who could eat for medals coming to our house. Now I always question my kids when they come home to make sure they've been fed.

I always send mine to sleepovers with snacks for the kids and a thank you box of chocolates for the parents too.
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: baconsmom on February 11, 2014, 01:29:47 PM
That sleepover story is just awful.

As to the OP: We eat ridiculously early. My husband works early, and is home and hungry by 4, so dinner's usually on the table no later than 5. If someone invited us (because with a 3-y-o, you can't drop off) for something at 6-8, we'd have a snack, but we would wait to eat anything substantial because we'd assume we'd be fed.

So I don't think "Oh, we eat at 5, so does everyone else" flies as an excuse there.
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: MommyPenguin on February 11, 2014, 03:25:37 PM
I wouldn't have a problem with a party from 6-8 not including food, but because it's right around a common dinnertime and it's pretty common for pizza or something to be offered at those party place birthdays, I think it should have said on the invitation, "Cake and ice cream will be served," which would make it clear that there's no dinner on the menu.  I do agree that it's a weird time for a party for kids that age, though.
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: mj on February 11, 2014, 04:43:22 PM
A family member of mine has taken to making her children's birthday parties start at 6:30 pm without food, except cake.  It is written upfront in her email though, but it's still a huge pain.  If it's on a weeknight there is no way we are making it because our children had school that day and eating at 5 makes them hungry again around 8 or 9.  They are used to having just a snack after school to get them to between 6 and 7 when dinner is usually served at our house, because their father arrives home at that time. 

We also live 45 minutes away so it really makes it logistically hard.  And I work in one place, DH works in the city it is held and the kids go to school in between, so that's a lot of driving and waiting should we go.  We have to kill time somewhere and don't like doubling back home to go back to the city only 30 minutes later, and not to mention we end up spending more eating out than they spend on hosting the birthday party for their child  ::)  This family member has made a habit out of it to our realization so we have started declining, I feel bad for the kids because they don't seem to have birthday parties with their peers, just this family one, but it just screws up our entire family's schedule and costs us money that we just don't want to budget in. 

With that said, my family member isn't the first I've noticed doing this type of thing lately.  I really hope this isn't turning into some trend because I have also read about it on money saving websites "just have cake!".  Although I'm pretty sure the advice is meant for the reader to take in consideration the time of day they are planning to just have cake.
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: Alli8098 on February 11, 2014, 05:22:29 PM
My daughter is still young (4), so when I started doing birthday parties for her I do it on the Saturday closest to her birthday.  And I've tried to plan them between lunch and dinner so that hopefully all attendees will be fed before coming.  We are on a budget so we stick to a "cake and ice cream" menu.  Even at age 4 I can't picture having her a party from 6-8PM, just seems late for young kids to me.
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: TootsNYC on February 11, 2014, 06:02:54 PM

With that said, my family member isn't the first I've noticed doing this type of thing lately.  I really hope this isn't turning into some trend because I have also read about it on money saving websites "just have cake!".  Although I'm pretty sure the advice is meant for the reader to take in consideration the time of day they are planning to just have cake.

PB&J and bologna sandwiches cost that much?
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: doodlemor on February 11, 2014, 06:33:24 PM
Maybe I've read too many horror stories on ehell but a part of me wonders if maybe the family hid the pizza to take home for themselves and then told everyone only the dessert was available? I know, total assumption here but the stories I've heard here...lol...

You made me laugh, Piratelvr.  We certainly have read some amazing things here - anything's possible.
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: mj on February 11, 2014, 06:43:10 PM

With that said, my family member isn't the first I've noticed doing this type of thing lately.  I really hope this isn't turning into some trend because I have also read about it on money saving websites "just have cake!".  Although I'm pretty sure the advice is meant for the reader to take in consideration the time of day they are planning to just have cake.

PB&J and bologna sandwiches cost that much?

I don't think so, but I don't know what they are thinking.  Some of the 3ft and 6ft subs around here go for $20 - $40, and then some chips so I wouldn't think it would cost more than $50 if they didn't want to actually cook or make anything if that was the issue.  My family doesn't eat fast food, but would happily take a PB & J.  So eating out fast usually isn't going to happen for us and we will get a $100 (at the very, very least if all of us are present) tab out at a restaurant in order to go to the childs birthday parties. 

It actually makes me think it's not so much money, it's an effort problem.  From these folks that are in my family, that doesn't surprise me.  It does bother me to have these issues crop up because you start to wonder if there are $$ issues or you feel like a burden to the host who invited you, yet you are the one being burdened if you do go.  And if you don't, you get the stink eye from this family member!  But there is no way to tell them what they are doing is off putting and makes it extremely hard to attend. 
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: blarg314 on February 11, 2014, 07:01:30 PM

With that said, my family member isn't the first I've noticed doing this type of thing lately.  I really hope this isn't turning into some trend because I have also read about it on money saving websites "just have cake!".  Although I'm pretty sure the advice is meant for the reader to take in consideration the time of day they are planning to just have cake.

PB&J and bologna sandwiches cost that much?

I'm not sure that peanut butter would fly these days.

I can see the appeal of a cake only party for logistics - you don't have to prepare a meal and clean it up in addition to the rest of the party stuff, you don't have to worry about food allergies and picky children demanding alternate meals, or figure out quantities based on how many parents and siblings show up, or need to serve something that also appeals to the parents.  *But*, if you want to do that, you have the party at 2-4 on a Saturday afternoon, not 6-8 in the evening.


Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: lisztchick on February 11, 2014, 07:39:07 PM
One of the nice things about where this party was held is that one is not responsible for the clean-up. You can bring in whatever food you like, or they'll order it for you, and they take care of everything else.

The week before, DD was invited to a party from 1:00 to 3:00 at another bouncy-type place. In addition to cake, we were served cheese pizza. Everyone was happy. I'm not sure if we're allowed to mention specific business in on these boards, but....there is a certain pizza establishment (national chain) where you can get large, hot pizzas for $5 each. They got four of them. It cost them $20 to feed the kids and the parents.

I may be wrong to feel this way (and please tell me if I am), but I took the trouble to shop and purchase a gift for this child. I wrapped it. And DD went to the party (20 miles away) at an inappropriate time for her age group. I was a little miffed that they couldn't be bothered to purchase a slice of pizza for her and other guests.
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: LeveeWoman on February 11, 2014, 08:27:21 PM
One of the nice things about where this party was held is that one is not responsible for the clean-up. You can bring in whatever food you like, or they'll order it for you, and they take care of everything else.

The week before, DD was invited to a party from 1:00 to 3:00 at another bouncy-type place. In addition to cake, we were served cheese pizza. Everyone was happy. I'm not sure if we're allowed to mention specific business in on these boards, but....there is a certain pizza establishment (national chain) where you can get large, hot pizzas for $5 each. They got four of them. It cost them $20 to feed the kids and the parents.

I may be wrong to feel this way (and please tell me if I am), but I took the trouble to shop and purchase a gift for this child. I wrapped it. And DD went to the party (20 miles away) at an inappropriate time for her age group. I was a little miffed that they couldn't be bothered to purchase a slice of pizza for her and other guests.

No, you're not wrong to feel this way. For the time of day this party was held, the parents did not provide an adequate level of hosting.
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: Dindrane on February 11, 2014, 09:49:06 PM
Pretty much the entire point in having etiquette rules about proper hosting surrounding meal periods is to prevent people from feeling the way you did. Gifts and money aside, it's completely ridiculous to ask a guest to put in more effort to attend your party than you're willing to put into it as a host.

It's doubly rude to do that for an occasion which is commonly recognized to be a gift-giving one (and a child's birthday party is, 100%, a gift giving occasion).

So your feelings are totally justified in this. It would be rude to express them, but it wouldn't be rude to let them inform your future interactions with this family. Primarily in the sense that it would no longer be unfair to assume they aren't going to provide proper hospitality if they invite you to stuff, so you can make your plans (or decline entirely) based on your assumption that they likely won't feed you/your daughter adequately.
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: Winterlight on February 12, 2014, 08:34:31 AM
Pretty much the entire point in having etiquette rules about proper hosting surrounding meal periods is to prevent people from feeling the way you did. Gifts and money aside, it's completely ridiculous to ask a guest to put in more effort to attend your party than you're willing to put into it as a host.

It's doubly rude to do that for an occasion which is commonly recognized to be a gift-giving one (and a child's birthday party is, 100%, a gift giving occasion).

So your feelings are totally justified in this. It would be rude to express them, but it wouldn't be rude to let them inform your future interactions with this family. Primarily in the sense that it would no longer be unfair to assume they aren't going to provide proper hospitality if they invite you to stuff, so you can make your plans (or decline entirely) based on your assumption that they likely won't feed you/your daughter adequately.

Agreed. Given this, I'd make sure if I did attend another party like this that the kid at least gets a snack ahead of time.

I also think that feeding 3yos straight sugar at dinnertime is likely to tick off their parents.
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: TootsNYC on February 12, 2014, 08:38:28 AM
Pretty much the entire point in having etiquette rules about proper hosting surrounding meal periods is to prevent people from feeling the way you did.

I wouldn't say it's the entire point--I think the point is also to keep little kids from being so hungry they're shaky, bcs their moms assumed that the hosting would involve some level of an actual meal.   ;)
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: shhh its me on February 12, 2014, 02:30:37 PM

With that said, my family member isn't the first I've noticed doing this type of thing lately.  I really hope this isn't turning into some trend because I have also read about it on money saving websites "just have cake!".  Although I'm pretty sure the advice is meant for the reader to take in consideration the time of day they are planning to just have cake.

PB&J and bologna sandwiches cost that much?

I'm not sure that peanut butter would fly these days.

I can see the appeal of a cake only party for logistics - you don't have to prepare a meal and clean it up in addition to the rest of the party stuff, you don't have to worry about food allergies and picky children demanding alternate meals, or figure out quantities based on how many parents and siblings show up, or need to serve something that also appeals to the parents.  *But*, if you want to do that, you have the party at 2-4 on a Saturday afternoon, not 6-8 in the evening.

I even think you can do a shorter party at dinner time from 6-7 and serve only cake. 
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: blarg314 on February 12, 2014, 06:59:42 PM

With that said, my family member isn't the first I've noticed doing this type of thing lately.  I really hope this isn't turning into some trend because I have also read about it on money saving websites "just have cake!".  Although I'm pretty sure the advice is meant for the reader to take in consideration the time of day they are planning to just have cake.

PB&J and bologna sandwiches cost that much?

I'm not sure that peanut butter would fly these days.

I can see the appeal of a cake only party for logistics - you don't have to prepare a meal and clean it up in addition to the rest of the party stuff, you don't have to worry about food allergies and picky children demanding alternate meals, or figure out quantities based on how many parents and siblings show up, or need to serve something that also appeals to the parents.  *But*, if you want to do that, you have the party at 2-4 on a Saturday afternoon, not 6-8 in the evening.

I even think you can do a shorter party at dinner time from 6-7 and serve only cake.

I don't think even that would be appropriate. It's right in the middle of the dinner hour, and that one hour party is likely to take up two hours of your time or more, when you include getting the kid ready, driving to and from, and parking, which ends up covering most of the dinner period. If you have to get fast food and feed the kids in the car because you don't have time to cook and eat due to the party, or you need to make dinner the day in advance so it's ready the moment you get home, it's still an imposition on the guests for the convenience of the host. 

Bottom line - if your party overlaps the usual dinner period, even if it's short, you still need to serve dinner. And with kids, the limits are tighter than for adults, because kids tend to be worse at handling being hungry and cranky. 

Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: Dindrane on February 12, 2014, 09:39:50 PM
Pretty much the entire point in having etiquette rules about proper hosting surrounding meal periods is to prevent people from feeling the way you did.

I wouldn't say it's the entire point--I think the point is also to keep little kids from being so hungry they're shaky, bcs their moms assumed that the hosting would involve some level of an actual meal.   ;)

Fair enough. :) I'd say the two are equally strong considerations in why the etiquette rule exists, though.
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: StillandSilent on February 13, 2014, 05:59:15 AM
I'm surprised that those places allow fod at all.  I just imagine a bunch of little kids slamming pizza and pop, the jumping around and....yeah, barf time.
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: shhh its me on February 13, 2014, 06:18:50 AM

With that said, my family member isn't the first I've noticed doing this type of thing lately.  I really hope this isn't turning into some trend because I have also read about it on money saving websites "just have cake!".  Although I'm pretty sure the advice is meant for the reader to take in consideration the time of day they are planning to just have cake.

PB&J and bologna sandwiches cost that much?

I'm not sure that peanut butter would fly these days.

I can see the appeal of a cake only party for logistics - you don't have to prepare a meal and clean it up in addition to the rest of the party stuff, you don't have to worry about food allergies and picky children demanding alternate meals, or figure out quantities based on how many parents and siblings show up, or need to serve something that also appeals to the parents.  *But*, if you want to do that, you have the party at 2-4 on a Saturday afternoon, not 6-8 in the evening.

I even think you can do a shorter party at dinner time from 6-7 and serve only cake.

I don't think even that would be appropriate. It's right in the middle of the dinner hour, and that one hour party is likely to take up two hours of your time or more, when you include getting the kid ready, driving to and from, and parking, which ends up covering most of the dinner period. If you have to get fast food and feed the kids in the car because you don't have time to cook and eat due to the party, or you need to make dinner the day in advance so it's ready the moment you get home, it's still an imposition on the guests for the convenience of the host. 

Bottom line - if your party overlaps the usual dinner period, even if it's short, you still need to serve dinner. And with kids, the limits are tighter than for adults, because kids tend to be worse at handling being hungry and cranky.
I don't think it would be ideal but the duration for a child's birthday party would be a big  "no dinner"  clue(it would be better to actually say "cake and ice cream " or whatever.)   Similar to a one hour cocktail party would indicate no meal light apps only.
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: mj on February 13, 2014, 08:07:55 AM
Unless they said "no dinner" or "only cake and ice cream", the one hour 6 - 7 party would really confuse me.  But I'm with a pp that noted that a 1 hour party is still a 2 hour event for the guests, so it's eating directly into the dinner hour. 

A 2 - 4 party would go over much better with just cake.
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: StuffedGrapeLeaves on February 13, 2014, 08:46:36 AM
I'm surprised that those places allow fod at all.  I just imagine a bunch of little kids slamming pizza and pop, the jumping around and....yeah, barf time.

I am not sure about this specific place, but the bouncy places in our area usually do one hour of play, and then one hour of pizza and cake at a separate room during a two-hour party.  So they are not eating and playing at the same time. 
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: Winterlight on February 13, 2014, 09:12:18 AM
Unless they said "no dinner" or "only cake and ice cream", the one hour 6 - 7 party would really confuse me.  But I'm with a pp that noted that a 1 hour party is still a 2 hour event for the guests, so it's eating directly into the dinner hour. 

A 2 - 4 party would go over much better with just cake.

Agreed. That's not really enough time to do anything- games or presents or whatever. 2-4 makes more sense, especially considering the ages of the guests.
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: Polly on February 13, 2014, 04:10:05 PM
Good grief. I don't have children but I have encountered them on occasion :-) and I cannot begin to imagine how cranky a room full of tired, hungry three-year-olds might be. Kids that age (and older) need to eat every couple of hours - missing a meal and being out till 9pm just sounds crazy. If it were an adult party to which children allowed to come along, and the hosts didn't have children I'd not be too surprised as if you haven't experienced children you might have no idea how often they need to eat and sleep. But to have this arrangement at a children's party is odd and probably rude, I think.

Every time I am around young children I am just dumbfounded by the amount of eating and sleeping that goes on! Even when a friend visited me last year with her 9- and 11-year-old, the days were just organised around food! Then another friend came with her 2.5-year-old and we could barely leave the house without having to rush back for naps/food. As someone who eats and sleeps pretty much when I feel like it, sometimes not at all, sometimes loads, I just found it baffling! But now I know - kids need to eat and sleep, it's pretty natural :-) 
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: TootsNYC on February 13, 2014, 04:16:56 PM
I don't have children but I have encountered them on occasion :-)


 :D :D


I know what you mean about "the amount of eating and sleeping that goes on." Sometimes I think that babies live about 4 days in one of ours (wake, play, eat, sleep = one day), and toddlers who still take naps live at least 2.
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: metallicafan on February 13, 2014, 04:25:43 PM
Good grief. I don't have children but I have encountered them on occasion :-) and I cannot begin to imagine how cranky a room full of tired, hungry three-year-olds might be. Kids that age (and older) need to eat every couple of hours - missing a meal and being out till 9pm just sounds crazy. If it were an adult party to which children allowed to come along, and the hosts didn't have children I'd not be too surprised as if you haven't experienced children you might have no idea how often they need to eat and sleep. But to have this arrangement at a children's party is odd and probably rude, I think.

Every time I am around young children I am just dumbfounded by the amount of eating and sleeping that goes on! Even when a friend visited me last year with her 9- and 11-year-old, the days were just organised around food! Then another friend came with her 2.5-year-old and we could barely leave the house without having to rush back for naps/food. As someone who eats and sleeps pretty much when I feel like it, sometimes not at all, sometimes loads, I just found it baffling! But now I know - kids need to eat and sleep, it's pretty natural :-)


Organized around food indeed.  My boys are 10 and 6 and they are already eating me out of house and home.  ;D
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: Take2 on February 13, 2014, 10:41:27 PM
I would not have taken either of my kids to a kid venue party 6-8pm at age 3, that sounds like a nightmare! And even if they generally eat dinner at 5, they don't generally then do strenuous activity for a long stretch right after, and they are going to get hungry. Not to mention sugaring them up right at bedtime with cake. There is so much wrong with that plan! I am glad everyone survived.


I know what you mean about "the amount of eating and sleeping that goes on." Sometimes I think that babies live about 4 days in one of ours (wake, play, eat, sleep = one day), and toddlers who still take naps live at least 2.

My son actually believed this as a toddler and preschooler. He referred to every waking as "morning" and asked for breakfast after every nap. After waking from his nap, he would refer to the morning as "yesterday," and in the morning, he would refer to after nap as "tomorrow." He would get mad if something was promised "today" and then happened after nap. He was almost 4 when he thoroughly outgrew this quirk, in spite of our best efforts to fix it sooner. Mostly we laughed that he had 2 days to our one...but it also caused quite a bit of confusion.
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: Klein Bottle on February 14, 2014, 07:01:16 PM
I would not have taken either of my kids to a kid venue party 6-8pm at age 3, that sounds like a nightmare! And even if they generally eat dinner at 5, they don't generally then do strenuous activity for a long stretch right after, and they are going to get hungry. Not to mention sugaring them up right at bedtime with cake. There is so much wrong with that plan! I am glad everyone survived.


I know what you mean about "the amount of eating and sleeping that goes on." Sometimes I think that babies live about 4 days in one of ours (wake, play, eat, sleep = one day), and toddlers who still take naps live at least 2.

My son actually believed this as a toddler and preschooler. He referred to every waking as "morning" and asked for breakfast after every nap. After waking from his nap, he would refer to the morning as "yesterday," and in the morning, he would refer to after nap as "tomorrow." He would get mad if something was promised "today" and then happened after nap. He was almost 4 when he thoroughly outgrew this quirk, in spite of our best efforts to fix it sooner. Mostly we laughed that he had 2 days to our one...but it also caused quite a bit of confusion.

OK, this is absolutely adorable!    ;D
Title: Re: No dinner?
Post by: bloo on February 15, 2014, 08:16:44 AM
I would not have taken either of my kids to a kid venue party 6-8pm at age 3, that sounds like a nightmare! And even if they generally eat dinner at 5, they don't generally then do strenuous activity for a long stretch right after, and they are going to get hungry. Not to mention sugaring them up right at bedtime with cake. There is so much wrong with that plan! I am glad everyone survived.


I know what you mean about "the amount of eating and sleeping that goes on." Sometimes I think that babies live about 4 days in one of ours (wake, play, eat, sleep = one day), and toddlers who still take naps live at least 2.

My son actually believed this as a toddler and preschooler. He referred to every waking as "morning" and asked for breakfast after every nap. After waking from his nap, he would refer to the morning as "yesterday," and in the morning, he would refer to after nap as "tomorrow." He would get mad if something was promised "today" and then happened after nap. He was almost 4 when he thoroughly outgrew this quirk, in spite of our best efforts to fix it sooner. Mostly we laughed that he had 2 days to our one...but it also caused quite a bit of confusion.

OK, this is absolutely adorable!    ;D

That is adorable! ;D

That is also why we would sometimes cringe when our childless friends would let our young kids know of some treat coming up in a day or so. Since very young kids don't have the concept of 'time' nailed down very well, we could very well hear the plaintive bleating for 'treat!' for days!  ::)