It’s true, we do just want to have fun – and we do! We are crazy about party planning and creating extra special events for our friends and family. However, it can be hard to totally enjoy ourselves when we’re so focused on making everything look wonderful and playing hostess all night. Here’s some honest thoughts on the subject.
Let’s be real, I am definitely no pro at this. I really love our parties, but as a creative (slightly obsessive) person, I put a ton of pressure on myself to make things perfect. I stress about it for weeks: planning out tiny details in my head that, honestly, most people will not even notice. It’s still incredibly fun for me to party-plan but it can also be really stressful. With all the inspiration out there these days, it can be so overwhelming to know where to even begin. I don’t have kids yet but I cannot imagine the pressure moms feel to throw the perfect party for their kiddos.
A goal of mine lately is to keep in mind the purpose of the celebration. When I’m so focused on making everything perfect, its hard to stop and just be in the moment. If Mandy and I take on too much, by the time everyone comes, we’re too tired to really enjoy ourselves and that’s just lame.
Here’s a few tips I’ve learned over the years that help me to step back and enjoy this party that I’m putting so much effort into planning:
- Try to outline your ideas and timeline from the beginning. Sure, I can be flexible or add in something if it’s an outstanding idea but sometimes it’s best to stick with the game plan. Having too many ideas tends to give me a slight panic attack by adding more to my plate than I can handle.
- Ask someone to help reign you in. My hubby is great at this. He is always super supportive and loves hearing about my ideas (unless I’m explaining my floral centerpiece idea for the 17th time). He is also really good at being honest and telling me when something is just not worth the investment of time or money.
- Parties are meant to celebrate someone or something. They are a time to eat yummy food, have great conversations, and listen to some good tunes. Yes, people notice and appreciate the details but what they really remember is how much fun they had with their friends and family.
I definitely echo Jess’ commentary here. We’ve always prided ourselves on featuring events that actual people attend, not perfectly staged tablescapes that you can take hours to photograph and style. Planning real parties with real guests, and also with the intention to blog about it, holds a lot of pressure. Yet, the serendipitous nature of our parties is what makes them exciting, enjoyable and memorable. Here are my tips for enjoying your own shindig:
- Choose your focus. While you should strive to make many elements of your party special, pick one aspect to really focus on. Maybe it’s the menu, or maybe it’s the decorations. By doing this, you’ll keep your party prep from overwhelming you.
- Curate a collection of go-to items. Jess and I have spent time collecting party favorites. We love Mara-Mi paper napkins and plates, get tons of great recipes from a select number of food blogs and have drawers and bins filled with ribbons, paper lanterns and other pretty things. It’s always fun to see what you can come up with based on existing items that make you happy, and can help in last-minute prep.
- Remember: it IS a party. As Jess has already mentioned, the point of hosting a party is to enjoy the company of your guests. The incredible food, the thoughtful details in the decorations (because we know you’ll still obsess over them) and the perfect playlist all combine to create the overall mood of your party. Your guests will feel special knowing they’re in good hands.