While the very special first birthday post went up on Charly’s actual birthday; I thought her first birthday party deserved a post as well. And just for you mommies, I’m adding in a full review of the venue we used as well.
I really wanted a big party for Charly. She’s such a huge character and loves other kids and running around and, of course, all the presents (can’t imagine where she got that from).
There were 15 kiddies between the ages of 5 months and 3 years, and both parents (in most cases), so quite a big number, and we don’t have the space at our current home for so many people. I was as nervous of heatstroke as I was of summer thunderstorms, which ruled out the majority of potential party venues. And the very simple fact that I didn’t have any spare time, meant prepping a big party was simply too much for me. So I shifted my search to indoor venues that offered full service party planning.
The Playshed is in Oude Molen Village in Pinelands and the name came up repeatedly when asking various online groups for birthday party venue suggestions. I was incredibly trusting (or stupid) and never got the chance to check it out in person, so I was extremely nervous on the morning of the party.
It had the most recommendations and the least complaints; it was open on a Sunday and the time slots actually worked for us! The other venues had slots that were directly over Charly’s two naptimes. I spent an hour or so on their Facebook page going through loads of photos and I liked what I saw. They organise everything from the themed set up, to themed party packs, to catering for the adults.
Leaving literally invitations (which my incredibly talented sister put together) and the cake (which my incredibly talented dad put together – free hand, using an paint brush and food coloring and a knife working from a picture!!!).
I’m sure you could have a perfectly awesome party at this venue for a reasonable price. I however wanted to book the whole venue (I didn’t want to share the space with other kids, 15 of ours were enough to keep an eye on); I wanted the theme done by the venue, and I overcatered for the kids and the adults (it was over lunchtime and I’m a big believer in catering appropriately if you are in a set venue). There are other options where you can bring in your own catering at a cost, you could limit the invite to one adult, you could provide only a third of the food options for the kids… The point is, I wanted everyone there, I wanted it to be a full family occasion, I wanted everything done for me and everyone to get more than enough food, and I was willing to pay for that. I will include their pricing at the end for those looking to budget.
We were a little nervous when we arrived at Oude Molen village, having not been there before, it looked a little rough around the edges. You park about a 2 minute walk past the venue next to the paddocks. (I kind of wished we had had more time so I could introduce Charly to her first horse; I noticed a sign in the Playshed when settling the account that said you could go for pony rides too).
With two security gates to ensure little people don’t escape, you arrive and sign in your kids.
The space is far bigger than photos show, and there was plenty of room for prams and all the adults. The bright colours and play areas and piles of toys had the kids squealing in excitement and pretty much disappearing into the various play areas instantly.
I was a little worried about how clean the toys and play areas would be since they were open to the public til 15 minutes before the party; but everything seemed perfectly fine and I wasn’t worried about Charly playing with everything.
The downside of the venue being open til just before arrival is that the food was being set out and moved around as people were arriving, but it wasn’t too bad and was managed quickly and professionally. The staff were lovely and welcoming and kept everything flowing nicely.
The adult food was amazing. Although we ordered massive quantities (5 platters and a large quiche), there was virtually nothing left over. We ordered a selection a foods, including Halaal platters for our Muslim guests, and I think all that was left was about 5 mini sandwiches.
For the kids there was half hotdogs, which were very tasty; and there was popcorn and fruit on the table. Through some form of miscommunication, the hot chips I ordered came out far too late and were largely wasted. Each child got a party pack bucket which contained 2 marshmallows, a crunchie, a packet of flings, a juice box and a brightly coloured rattle. The kids were generally far too busy playing to actually sit and eat, so the beautifully set up party room wasn’t actually used very much.
There was only one thing that I would say needs looking at, and that is air movement. There was no aircon and no natural air in the venue and it was incredibly hot and stuffy. There was one giant fan set up at the back, which cooled one section near the food, so people kind of fought to gather there. I did speak to the venue about this after and they responded that they would be looking into various options to improve this.
Overall it was an awesome day. Everybody had a great time and I was very happy with the value for money we got. I would recommend the Playshed to anyone looking for a fun, safe indoor party venue and particularly for their amazing catering.
As promised a breakdown of their costs below.
This was the price list from January 2015, unsure if the prices have changed at all since then.
Some of the pics above were borrowed from the Playshed’s Facebook page as we were so busy having fun, we didn’t get all the pics we would have wanted.