Planning my son’s 돌잔치 (1st birthday party)

It’s been a long-a$$ time since I wrote about something personal here. Since I’ve started planning my son’s 돌잔치 or 1st birthday party, I figured I’d write about it so I can keep track of what I’ve done and who I’ve contacted. Here goes!

I stopped by the Korean Church of Boston to talk to my friend, a Pastor there, 목사님, about having baby horse’s birthday party there. I brought along one of my good friends who speaks Korean and has (however willingly) volunteered to help me planning. My intuitions were spot on; I was so glad I brought her cause there was a lot of conversing in Korean, some of which I got and some of which I didn’t. Stopping by in person was the only way I knew I’d be able to secure the location. Sometimes language barriers are just too great to overcome on email, text, and chat. We needed to see each other face-to-face to affirm plans and keep the confusion to a minimum.

Here’s what I gathered.

Date/time – Nailed down the day and time. The original time I wanted (brunch-ish) isn’t available because of church stuff. So we’ll do early dinner instead. After the meeting 목사님 sent me the form to fill out to secure the space.
Catering – 목사님 gave me contact info for a woman who caters out of Malden/Somerville area. Apparently she’s done a few other 돌잔치s at the church and the people were very happy with her. However 목사님 said she is expensive and that I may want to augment the order with food from another place. This woman’s 떡 or rice cake (imperative for a 돌잔치) is very very good. I’d rather get all the food done by one place though. I figure a lot of my guests won’t be Korean so won’t know the difference between good rice cakes and okay rice cakes anyway.
Size – The room I want to use holds 80 people seated. But 목사님 said maybe 10 people will have to sit in another room. I am going to aim for 60 people. Only family and a few close friends.
돌자비 – The church doesn’t have things to borrow/rent for the party. (During the party there is a “ceremony” where the baby will choose an item that determines his future career path. Photos are also taken in front of a fancy table setting with a banner, arranged fruits, candles and towers spelling out “happy dol” in Korean, and the baby’s name.) My friend may buy much of this stuff for me in Korea. 목사님 also joked we should buy it (say for $500?) and rent it out here for $100/party. Ha.

To do (boring for you, more for me to keep track of):
Catering – Instead of going with the first suggestion I am going to shop around. My plan is to go to the Korean restaurants whose owners I know and ask them for catering recommendations. I’m hoping they’ll either have good recommendations or offer to do it themselves. I have 2 places in mind.
Photographer – I need to start shopping around for a photographer. With all these little details I have a feeling this party is going to be expensive. So I’d only like to spend $150-200 on a photographer. Is that ridiculous? Totally not going to happen? At my older son’s party we asked a friend to take photos and that didn’t go so well. I think you get what you pay for, which in that case was nothing. (We actually did get photos they just weren’t what we were looking for.) So, like the catering my plan is to ask around to people who photograph and see if they have recommendations. Preferably it would be someone who is Korean or has been to or knows these type of parties and what they entail. Or at least someone who is open to them.


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