Can I be honest and share that every year when Krista’s birthday rolls around, I get a little nervous? Should we do a joint party or separate? Will whichever choice we prefer be the same her mom prefers? Who will host?
Will it be awkward? Will I feel left out? Will Krista feel like she has to pick sides?
After my momentary freakout, I take a step back, take three deep breaths, and talk to myself like I would a coaching client. “Protect your peace at all costs,” “Don’t say yes if you really want to say no,” “Healthy boundaries = healthy you,” etc.
Deciding on This Year’s Party at Gaylord Hotel
When it came to planning this year’s party, long before COVID-19 had even entered the scene, I thought back to parties I had loved growing up and remembered my favorite of all time, my 13th birthday party at a hotel with 3 of my closest friends.
We stayed in the hotel room, went shopping at the mall nearby, and roamed the halls at night looking for good-natured mischief (read: boys). It was a party I’ll never forget, and when I mentioned it to my husband (not the boys part, for obvious reasons), he thought it sounded like something Krista would love.
After attending ICE! at Gaylord Texan last winter, I knew exactly which hotel was my top pick for making this magical party happen. I contacted the hotel, told them my plan, and we all got to work. After receiving confirmation I could obtain a media rate for our stay, Kevin and I looped in Krista’s mom and stepdad, and they thought it sounded like SO much fun!
(Despite the discounted room in exchange for a blog post about our stay, all opinions are my own! I will always only ever endorse companies I genuinely love.)
And here are all of the reasons that throwing a joint birthday party at a hotel was the BEST decision we could have made!
Cool Points for Novelty
When Krista’s friend arrived at our house to ride to Gaylord Texan with us, Krista exclaimed, “We are having the birthday party at a fancy hotel and I know the party is going to be so much fun! My Mama K planned it, and she’s the best party planner EVER!” (Okay, first of all, AWW!)
When we walked into the lobby, the girls couldn’t contain their awe and excitement. It was so fun watching their little faces take in the magnitude of the hotel. They thoroughly enjoyed exploring our suite with a balcony overlooking the lobby and the on-site water park.
If you want to be the cool parent, booking a birthday party at a hotel (especially when it’s a hotel as amazing as Gaylord Texan) will secure you that title.
That water park I mentioned? INCREDIBLE. After checking in at the hotel, we went straight to Paradise Springs. The girls loved floating the lazy river, going down the water slide, swimming, and performing back flips after soaring across the zip line.
When we arrived back at the main hotel building to rinse off, change, and get ready for dinner, there was a balloon artist in the lobby that made the most incredible, elaborate designs for the girls. Gaylord Texan’s SummerFest was in full swing, including movie night, bingo, animal encounters, and other fun activities for the kiddos.
Our party was too enamored with the water park to try anything else, so we headed back for round two after waking up the next morning.
Less Kids, Less Chaos
Any other introverts out there that get overwhelmed and exhausted with big parties? I absolutely LOVE that the slumber party means less kids, less family (an even bigger bonus when there are FOUR families invited to joint parties for a child of divorce), and less chaos!
I also think the atmosphere of the hotel helped keep them from getting as rowdy as they might have at home. We had four girls, including Krista, and it was the perfect amount.
No After Party Clean-Up
To any mama/stepmama that has ever cleaned up after a birthday party, this one’s for you! Forget the birthday party pickup because when you have a birthday party at a hotel, your entire house isn’t destroyed!
You. Are. Welcome.
A Creative Sleepover Solution
Krista had a sleepover birthday party at our home last year at her request, and she loved it so much she wanted a sleepover party again this year. We didn’t want to exclude her mom again this year, and we didn’t want to be excluded if the party was at Mom’s home. So, having a joint birthday party at a hotel provided the perfect solution.
Gaylord Texan coordinated for us to have two rooms next to each other. Our room was a suite with a door to close Kevin and I off in the bedroom and a pullout couch for the girls to share and watch TV until they fell asleep.
Krista’s mom, stepdad, and little sister were right next door. Close enough to spend time with us right up until bedtime and again first thing in the morning, but far enough way that the girls whispering and giggling until too late into the evening/morning didn’t wake her little sister.
No Home Field Advantage
Similarly, no one family had “home field advantage” which could make the other family feel uncomfortable or awkward. Meeting in a neutral location where no one was elevated over the other was definitely a perk for a birthday party where both sides of Krista’s family wanted to be involved.
Easy to Split Duties
Another really great perk of a joint birthday party at a hotel was that it was so simple to split duties and tackle party planning separately but collectively.
Krista’s mom took care of cake, late night snack, and drinks. We took care of plates, napkins, dinner, and breakfast.
We opted not to decorate, so we didn’t need to purchase any decorations or other items. Simple, but perfect.
Plan your Next Birthday Party (or Staycation!) at Gaylord Texan
We had the absolute best time at Gaylord Texan, and I will sing their praises to anyone who will listen. The staff was so accommodating and helpful, the entire hotel is gorgeous, and the accommodations are incomparable.
We will definitely be back!
P.S. Here are the tips we pulled together from our first joint birthday party together!