After each party or photo shoot, I try to review what I’ve learned and can improve on next time. Some of these party lessons are purely practical and others are more attitudinal. I hope these will be helpful to you and I’d love to know your party lessons, too!
1 – Test New Ideas in Advance
In about a week and a half (yikes!) we’ll be hosting our Wizard of Oz party. I fell in love with this rainbow cake last year, because it reminds me of the movie changing from black and white to color … just like you cut into a plain white cake and get this wonderful rainbow surprise. However, I also knew the recipe had a lot of steps and I needed to be sure I could pull it off. Now my recipe is annotated and I know how much time to allot for this on the day before the party. It won’t look perfect, but I think that’s also in keeping with the movie and I’m fine with that.
2 – Improvise
I started putting together my incredible invitations from Loralee Lewis and thought, “Hmm. Wish I’d thought to order envelope wraps.” So I noodled, and Googled and cruised Pinterest, and found the answer in my scrapbooking paper scraps. Sometimes desperation breads creativity and leads you to think about what you have with new eyes.
3 – Give Yourself a Break
I’m a planner-aheader. This lets me take advantage of free shipping and sales as they happen. It also lets me spread out my party costs. But, sometimes it backfires. I ordered my Zazzle stamps for the Wizard of Oz party, and then rates increased. So off I ran to the Post Office for one cent stamps. (Hooray! Another errand to squeeze in!) Came home, started working on my envelopes and couldn’t find my specialty stamps. I turned all my party stash spots upside down. Couldn’t find them. For three days. Finally gave up, got over myself and emailed “save the dates,” planning to use plain old Forever stamps on the invitations. And then found my stamps. Sigh. But the invites are now in the mail and that is all that matters.
4 – Know Your Limits
I love a DIY craft. But with two parties in two weeks and an unexpected (though very welcome) weekend house guest and Girl Scout cookie booth sales, I knew I couldn’t do it all. “Uncle!” I didn’t have time and didn’t want to teach myself how to make tulle poms or felt barrettes. So call in the team! It was worth every penny to find experts — Debra from TiTi’s TuTus and Stephanie of Little Boo Creations — to help out with these last projects.
5 – Find Ways to Involve Your Children
Meg and Grace are crafty and they love to help. Sometimes, it’s easier to complete a project — especially one that needs to look “perfect” for a photo — without their help. But oh how I love that they want to hang out with me and that we share the same interests! So to heck with perfection. I’ve figured out ways to involve them that really engage them in their party and make them feel so proud of their contribution.
- The girls can do first coats of paint and I can neaten things up after they go to bed.
- They can be “list writer” before we shop and “list reader” when we shop. (The girls really love having job titles.)
- They can fetch ingredients from the fridge and stir.
Now, of course they can’t play with the hot glue gun and so some projects they just have to watch. But they love that, too, because they are getting excited about the event.
The best moment of my business so far was the day Meg said, “Mommy, I love your party business. We get to do crafts and have play dates with our friends.” It is my daily prayer that this business will be a blessing to my family, and in moments like that, I know I have succeeded.