When planning a party I used to get really stressed out. I would go to the grocery store and get overwhelmed with the guest list, shopping list, menu, recipes and that, of course, I picked out the shopping cart with the bad wheels.
Right there at Safeway I would have a mini panic attack and then just leave the store empty-handed or with a paltry bag of pita chips and hummus dip. Oh, and a bottle of wine to calm my nerves and help me feel better about not making a dent in my party planning list.
After several parties I realized that I was the only one not having any fun at my parties. Mr, bless him, tells me not to stress out or try to over-achieve when planning our parties. And I think that I have made progress during the past 4 years (and with a lot of help from Mr). Part of getting better is just doing enough entertaining so that you get used to what needs to be done. Also, whenever I am at someone’s soiree I keep my eyes open for what the host or hostess does to make the evening a success.
For instance, my friend, Kristie, is a fantastic hostess. I joke that when I’m planning a party or special dinner I ask myself, “WWKD?” … What would Kristie do? Kristie can have loads of people at her house and not work up a sweat or not have a meltdown after someone spills red wine on her white carpet. Her best hostess attribute? She makes everyone at her parties feel special. She’s not so spazzed out with checking on the oven or frantically asking a guest to go out and buy more ice. Instead, she makes it all seem easy peasy and she takes the time to work the room and have real conversations with her guests. In addition to exuding warmth and hospitality, she also puts a lot of planning and thought to her soirees — and that’s a big part of the trick. Plan ahead and make sure that what you have in mind is something you have the time, energy and budget to pull off. Otherwise, you will be crying at your party and well, that’s no fun for anyone!!!
I came across this blog posting by HoppyCow and just love the doable steps it offers for planning a large gathering:
How To Make Dinner For A Lot Of People (when you’re not a professional chef):
Step, by step, HoppyCow takes you through the planning to create a warm, wonderful, stress-free dinner. I especially like that her “Step 3: Grocery Shopping” does not include a panic attack on Aisle 9!