Disclosure: I received a discount to have my daughter's birthday party at the American Girl Store so I could review the process. All opinions are my own.
My daughter just turned 7. She is my oldest and my only girl, and I try to indulge her girly side, especially on her birthday. So when she asked for an American Girl birthday party, I knew I had to try to make it work. I'm so glad I did! She was ecstatic! My normally pretty shy, quiet girl, came out of her shell with her friends who had a good old fashioned "ladies" lunch. It turned out to be a gift in itself to the girls who were invited. All of them left feeling special...with memories of a fun afternoon that won't soon be forgotten.
My birthday girl had a great time. I had a great time. And the guests had a ball. This was all because the American Girl staff made sure of it! They took care of everything from helping the girls cut their food to cleaning up spills to maintaining order with a gaggle of girls. Best of all, American Girl provides food, drinks, cake, gift bags, and even invitations and thank you cards so I didn't need to do a thing! However, there is a cost for this fantastic service. I needed to be sure to keep the expense as low as I could though, and found some great ideas to make sure to stay in my budget.
Read on to see more photos of the American Girl birthday party and how to save money while making your girl think you are the best mom in the world (because you are).
An American Girl Birthday Party: It's a celebration!
We chose to have the American Girl Bistro Birthday Celebration package. It's an all-inclusive package features a delicious 3-course meal that culminates with a signature pink-and-white cake and ice cream. Plus there are special goody bags and doll tiaras for each girl. The birthday girl receives a commemorative keepsake to remember her very special day.
This is a 60 minute party for girls ages 3 and up. Parties booked based on availability and dates fill up quickly. Other restrictions may apply. Cost in Atlanta: $29/child $19/adult (child under 3: $7.50).
The Bistro Birthday Celebration is available in Atlanta, Boston, Columbus, Dallas, Houston, Miami, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C.
An American Girl Birthday Party: Great Staff
The fun, caring staff at American Girl really help make the party a success. I requested the party to be a "drop off" one as inviting 10 moms and even more siblings could have sent my budget into a tailspin. However, the staff was great at helping me manage the girls, keep conversation going, and even comfort one who was having an extra-shy day.
These people love their jobs! They weren't there just to get a paycheck. I could feel that they actually cared about us and wanted my daughter to feel special!
An American Girl Birthday Party: Makes the day special
The whole point of having an American Girl birthday party for my 7 year old was to make her feel special. I wanted her to be a princess for a day. As the oldest of 4 and the only girl in the family, I ask her to do a lot and probably expect her to be more mature than other girls her age. But for her birthday...she just got to be a girl!
She wore a crown and sat in a throne and ordered as much pink Sprite as her tummy could handle. Her genuine smile really says it all!
An American Girl Birthday Party: A Gift for Guests
I knew my daughter would love her birthday party at American Girl but I didn't realize what a gift I was giving her friends. They were all so excited to bring their dolls (or borrow one for free from the Cafe) and spend time with other girls.
I asked my friends to watch my two older boys so I could concentrate on my daughter (and also to keep the cost down). I had to limit the guest list, which was hard, but I let her choose the girls she hangs out with most. Everyone except for two girls RSVP'd 'yes' right away.
An American Girl Birthday Party: It doesn't have to be expensive
I was pleasantly surprised to find that American Girl birthday parties were not that much more than my standard at-home parties. Here's how I saved money:
- Limited the guest list. My daughter invited 10 girls, not the whole class.
- Stress that it is a drop-off party. I politely (hopefully) let the moms know that I intended this to be a drop-off party to save the $19/adult charge. Plus, they got an hour to walk the mall.
- Don't include siblings. I didn't bring my 4 and 5 year old boys because they weren't interested and I didn't want to pay for kids who weren't interested. All my guests were insightful enough to know that the party was only for the girl who's name was on the invitation.
- I didn't buy anything extra. For this party I wasn't running to Target for goody bag items, baking cupcakes late at night, or stressing over having enough pizza. American Girl took care of everything which saves me time and money.
- Have a tea party. Can't swing a full birthday party? How about bringing your girl and two of her besties for an afternoon tea ($12/person). You can have up to 6 people at a table though you don't get all the birthday party extras. Still, it's a great alternative!