Recession Mama Michele Ashamalla: We had a first communion in our family recently and intended to have a small party afterwards.
My father has six siblings, and I have a lot of cousins that I am close to. Those cousins all have families now. My husband always has a few relatives fly in for family events, and before we knew it, we were going to have fifty people at the house.
We could have done it, but by the end of the school year, I'm pretty worn out. The prospect of setting up tables and chairs, then putting them away -- along with what always turns out to be hours and hours of cleanup -- was daunting. Of course, we could have had it in a restaurant, but that usually just about doubles the price tag, and there's no place for the kids to run around.
While we were figuring it out, my husband remembered that our local Girl Scout Program Center had recently been redone and had a lovely garden space with native plants, a little creek and brand-new picnic benches. The kicker was that it was near the church and had full handicap accessibility -- a huge plus since we have so many elderly relatives.
We called, and the rental price for seven hours was ... $55. Whoo!
The party was great, and I'm now eyeing the space for future baby showers or nighttime events, since it also has a firepit with stone seating.
This Center doesn't have a website, and I couldn't find a thing about rentals online. It got me thinking about other options like that -- unusual, reasonable rentals that combine the best parts of a home party with the best parts of one away from home. I'm going to be on the lookout for church halls, community centers and parks with a lot of good, shady seating.
I wonder where the Boy Scouts meet ...?