bunting and dessert tables and photo booths, oh my! | Somewhere in Middle America

I recently celebrated a friend’s wedding back in New Jersey. The garden ceremony and tented reception took place at the Crossed Keys Inn, a gorgeous backdrop for the happy couple’s simple yet stylish special occasion. Everything was perfect…but not untouchable. It felt sophisticated…but laid back. All in all, a fabulous wedding.

This weekend got me thinking about weddings and parties. First Martha Stewart and the wedding blogs that idolize her instilled in us a belief that our big day needs to look expensive and magazine-worthy yet be creatively themed and entirely D.I.Y. Now party planning blogs are encouraging the same for baby showers, birthday parties and other at-home gatherings. Isn’t anybody else tired of bunting, dessert tables and photo booths with fake mustaches on sticks?

Take the above party on the beach, for example. It looks like a pretty big deal with tents and bunting and decorative sails and professional photographs. Um, it’s for a three-year-old’s birthday. Seriously. Maybe I’m out of the loop because I don’t have any children, but this can’t be the norm for kids’ birthday parties nowadays. If it is, what happens when they become a Bar Mitzvah or celebrate their Sweet Sixteen? What happens when they get married? Do they just expect that each party will be bigger and better than the last? How are parents expected to top themselves year after year?

And how about this Ferrari race car party? The birthday boy was one. Will he even remember that his dad drove him around in a remote controlled Ferrari? These types of parties are clearly not for the kids. They are for the parents of the children in attendance. They say something about the parents who are hosting them. “Look at how much we love our birthday babe,” for example.

Please tell me that you feel the same way or that when it becomes my turn to have a baby shower or throw my child a birthday party, my point of view will change.

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