Two years ago, Stephanie Kaster of Manhattan set out to plan the birthday party of a lifetime for her daughter. Granted, little Sophie didn’t have many parties under her belt with which to compare it: She was not yet 3.
“I just thought, ‘If I go to another paint-a-ceramic-bowl or stuff-a-bear party, I’ll shoot myself,'” says Kaster.
So she booked a fondue restaurant, hired a musical troupe to perform as the Wiggles (her daughter’s favorite group) and ordered a four-layer cake. Each guest took home a Fisher-Price guitar and custom CD.
The price tag? $5,000.
“I couldn’t believe that I’d ended up spending that much,” Kaster says.
Some birthday parties now rival weddings in scale and price — with some costing tens of thousands of dollars. Maybe it’s the ever-growing number of millionaires; maybe it’s the conspicuous consumption celebrated on reality shows like MTV’s “My Super Sweet 16.” Whatever the reason, it’s keeping Corinne Dinsfriend in business.
She owns Over the Top Productions in Orange County, California, a full-service children’s birthday-party planning company. “We really promote a healthy balance of living year round,” Dinsfriend says, “but it’s OK to indulge your child once a year, because it’s about making a memory.”