Childrearing

Spend $40k On A Toddler’s Birthday If You Must, But For The Love Of Emily Post Keep Quiet About It

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The Walt Disney Company Hosts A Special Stage Rededication Ceremony For Annette FunicelloThe children of rich parents tend to get nice stuff. There are ponies, birthday parties, trips to Paris, and designer baby clothes. We all see this stuff and know it is expensive. A year of kindergarten at a prestigious private school can cost $30,000 or more. Kim Kardashian‘s Birkin bag that North West drew on was a minimum of $10,000. Hell, if you’ve got it, do what you want with it. But for the love of Emily Post, if you throw a $40,000 birthday party for your toddler, don’t go tell everyone.

According to Yahoo Parenting, Eric Lembo and Trang Nguyen spent about $39,000 on a Disney-theme party for their three-year-old daughter, Lauren. They invited 220 guests for a party that “included entertainment from a former Australian Idol contestant, a balloon artist, photo booth, children’s high tea, and a menu the included tempura scallops, truffle arancini, pork belly, cognac and a Disney cake.” A Mickey and Minnie Mouse were also in attendance.

Honestly, for all that I am surprised it did not cost more than $39,000, but Lembo held the event at a venue he owns and is in the event-hosting business and says his suppliers cut him good deals. While commenters on the Internet called the expenditure “vulgar” and “wasteful,” Lembo defends the party and says he’ll do it again next year when Lauren turns 4.

Sure, I’m envious. I don’t have $40,000 to spend on a birthday party, and if I did I would probably spend it on something else. But that something else wouldn’t be better than a birthday party. (I would spend it making Marie Antoinette costumes for my family and then running around the gardens at Versailles for a weekend and staying in a fancy hotel and getting massages and getting wasted on good Champagne, so I can’t really judge.)

But Lembo’s sin wasn’t the big party. The number of people who have $40k birthday parties for 3-year-olds would probably shock me. Lembo’s sin was going to the news and telling them what his toddler’s party cost. Never do that. It’s like leaving the price tag on your Rolex so everyone knows what it costs. Everyone already knows your Rolex is expensive, so doing that just makes you look like a desperate, grasping social-climber.

Even if you are a grasping, ostentatious social-climber, it is counter-productive to advertise that fact. Rather than talking about the giant, fun birthday party with Mickey Mouse, all the guests’ parents will just be saying, “Did you hear that they went to the news and told everyone the party cost $40,000? That’s so tacky. That’s like, Gatsby tacky.”

But in Lembo’s case, part of the reason he did this was to advertise his party business, and this was a pretty good way to do it. Now people all over Australia are thinking, “Hey, for $40,000 I can get tempura scallops for 200 people. Maybe I should have a party there. Or a wedding.”

Going to the papers with his expensive toddler party might be gauche, but it will probably make him money, so good for him.

(Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty Images)