I absolutely love hosting parties and welcoming people into our home! It was tough last year when we weren’t able to have the parties that we used to because our apartment was so tiny and well, it just didn’t work the way I wanted. Now that we are in a bigger place we can easily have parties again! Plus we have a little bit of a back yard so when the weather is nice it works out great as an overflow area, especially for the kids!
Every time I host a party, I think back to some past parties. Growing up we had a ton! Army family parties, even single soldiers would come over and they’d always appreciate a home cooked meal. Baronie family parties, those are always entertaining and last for hours! Regiville parties, oh the fond memories of Regiville! Vandy parties, our apartments were small back then but somehow Troy & the GOAT could fit tons of people into that living room with 4 TVs stacked all over the room each would have a different College football game on – or Michelle and I would take turns having people over for “family” dinners. Game nights in the ‘burg when we were living in Virginia were always fun. Now that we are at Fort Stewart and in our new home, we’re back to throwing Army family parties, back to my party roots!
There’s a common thread with every party we host and it’s my biggest piece of advice to anyone planning a party (holiday, birthday, etc) = KEEP IT SIMPLE & HAVE FUN!
When you keep things simple you’re more likely to have fun at the party. When guests see you having fun they’ll have even more fun because they know they’re in a welcoming environment.
Here are a few keys on how to be successful with your party (well it’s how I do it and I’ve yet to hear folks say we throw a bad party, typically they want to know when the next one will be)…
- Have a general start time – in the Baronie family it seems like every party starts at 1. People show up between ??? – ??? My Aunts like to say, “Dinner’s being served at 1 if you want to eat!” Yet no one freaks out when 1 comes around and only half of the people are there.
- Keep it buffet / family style – this way people can have just the amount of food they want and it helps when some folks have food allergies and aren’t able to have certain things, that way there’s no awkwardness with that. Even our Wedding was family style and I know there were a couple of tables (Troy’s fraternity brothers) that just kept the bowls of food coming!
- Let kids be kids – as a kid we always went outside to play or in the playroom, etc. With my kids I do just the same, when it’s nice out the side-walk chalk and bubbles are out and a bunch of the outdoor toys. It was great today to see them outside on a gorgeous 70 degree winter day playing t ball, even some of the older “kids” (aka: Dad’s & our token single soldier) were out and the neighbor boys even jumped in the game.
- If people offer to help let them – if a cake, ice, etc needs to be picked up and you’ll be rushing to get it all on time, ask for someone to do it (thanks Melissa).
- Don’t worry about gifts – kids parties can be the worst with this, note: if I invite you to a party for my kiddo, don’t stress about bringing a gift, honestly, you’re presence at the party is a great present! My tip for other parties is that i f you do bring a gift, keep it practical, especially when kids are young! Troy and I agreed this year that if anyone asked what Tedy would like for his Birthday we’d tell them a gallon of 1% milk or a bunch of bananas!
- Have a stock of “fine china” – this is a running joke with Troy and some of my friends, I used to have a cabinet chock full of various styles of paper plates, cups & napkins – it lasted for years! Until Troy made me use them all up before this last move when we were all packed up (it broke my heart a bit). Honestly though, you better believe I’m going to get my stock back up and have my “fine china” cabinet again! By the way, it’s called “fine china” because I would get upset if it was used when we weren’t having a party – note: this time around I won’t get upset if that happens because that’s part of my new years resolution. Yet Troy, please, don’t test me with this because you already know how I feel 😉 Seriously though, having these paper goods in stock keeps your party planning simple and is one less thing to worry about.
- Don’t worry about your guest list – honestly, nothing annoys me more than getting a pity invite and knowing it was a pity invite. Sorry, I don’t do this! Fr. Matt said it perfectly during the homily of our Wedding and to sum it up – You’re there because you made the cut, we want you to share in the joy of whatever it is we are celebrating! This is probably the most difficult tip to follow but think about it, part of a successful party is having fun so why invite someone just because he or she is so in so’s so in so that you do such and such with… Also, if you didn’t get invited to one of our shin-digs, brush it off, sometimes I don’t send out invites or I plan things at the last-minute and hey, if I run into you (like we did with Adam’s at the gym) then that’s when you get you’re invite, etc.
- Relax – when you’re relaxed and not stressed about the party and follow these tips, you’re going to have a successful party! Remember, you set the tone for how your guests will feel!
I know I’m not your typical party planner but hey, I’m realistic! Good Luck with your next party like I said: KEEP IT SIMPLE & HAVE FUN! 😀