Party Planning: Keeping Things Personal, Not Stressful

party planning toppings

Last weekend was a very special one for my family, as we threw my eldest daughter a baby shower! Adrianna and her husband Matt moved to the Bay Area almost a year ago, and Adrianna is a team member here at VAROS. Come early February, they will be bringing their beautiful baby girl into the world! This will make Adrian and I grandparents for the first time, and we are beyond thrilled. We’ve always enjoyed our big family gatherings, and now we are entering into that sweet season of life when our tribe is growing all the more.

party planning adrianna terry

Throwing a party can often be a stressful task. Everyone wants their guests to feel right at home, they want the party to be memorable, and the food delicious. These expectations (plus several more!) can make the process feel overwhelming, sometimes, too overwhelming to even go through with it. We have the best intentions to get those beautiful custom invitations out the door, and a delicious meal on the table, and then in a week’s time think, “Ahh scrap it, I’ll send a text and order takeout.”

There exists temptation on both sides of the spectrum of party planning. First, to put in no effort so that you escape the stress and work a party can require. People will love you anyway right? Second, we’re all tempted to strive, prove, and impress…to pull out all the stops so your reputation soars, and people see how great you are. Both approaches aren’t ideal, because at the end of the day, we all want to enjoy ourselves and bring our best to the table. There’s nothing wrong with casual gatherings, but parties (especially the momentous ones) should be memorable, cozy, and delicious. Ultimately, throwing a party is a way to say, “I love you” and show the people in your world that you care. How you do that will be unique to you, and it’s my opinion that if a party has personal touches, it will make an impact.

Here are five tips to keeping your party personal, not stressful.

1. Think about how you might serve your guest of honor. As I was planning Adrianna’s shower, I focused on what would mean the most to her, and make her feel special. Instead of trying to please everyone, think about the reason behind the gathering, and keep that at the forefront of your mind.

party planning presents

2. Keep the meal simple. No matter the occasion, how fancy or casual, a simple meal is always a good idea. I love to cook and could have gone in a million directions for the shower’s menu, but I decided to give the people what they wanted: soup. I created a cute, easy soup bar, giving our guests the comfort of three soup choices, countless toppings, and assorted napkins. Plus, we served the soup in disposable bowls…yes, I said disposable. Because really, who has time or dishwasher space for the alternative?

party planning crock-pots

3. Use the stuff you love. Who cares if everything matches! Those days are over, and the days of integrating your mismatched plates and cups have returned! Instead of dozens of clear glassware, I set out my mismatched collection of vintage glasses. This added color and character to the bar.

party planning vintage glasses

4. Don’t try and do everything alone. Once you’ve set aside the expectation to impress or please everyone, you are free to ask for help. For Adrianna’s shower, I had a friend take pictures, another friend help with music, and one of Adrianna’s special people prayed for the meal. Sometimes, integrating other people into the event actually makes it more special and memorable for everyone.

party planning long table

5. Be present. This is the most important one. Isn’t it funny how we complain about the stress and work of a party, yet on the day of, we unnecessarily busy ourselves? Perhaps it’s because we get into work mode and don’t know how to slow down or maybe it’s because we just don’t get enough practice being present with those we love. Resist the urge to tidy or tweak. Stay away from that kitchen sink, and don’t start putting things away while people are still enjoying the party. This communicates that you are ready for them to leave, and takes away this special opportunity to enjoy the fruits of your labor!

There is no perfect strategy or one way to throw a party. At the end of the day, a party is not its decorations, theme, or menu. A party is all about the people you love, gathering from far and wide, to celebrate and spend time together. I loved every moment of celebrating my precious daughter, and I hope you find pleasure and enjoyment in whatever shindig you throw next!

Until next time,

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  • Funny I have grown up in the hospitality/service industry. Thanks to my father’s hard work, more than a dozen restaurants later— my favorite part of industry, event planning.

    Passion- houses.

    Now time to put hard work into MY passion and hopefully it’ll pay off as did my father’s.

    Small world- I don’t even know how I ended up following your page… And same passions, really makes me feel like I’m coming home, haha!

    I’ll continue to follow and thanks for being such a great role model for those (like myself) aspiring to do what you seem to do so effortlessly and with big smiles!

    Best wishes- enjoy holiday party planning.

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