Sunday’s Easter party shoot turned into a comedy of errors, so I want to share the behind the scenes with you just so you know that when things don’t go well, you can still have a great event. I’ve certainly had things not go as planned before, but this is a little different. When everything goes wrong as the party’s starting, you really have to scramble.

The week before the party, I’d baked and frozen my desserts. So the night before the party, I pulled out the key lime frosting I’d made earlier in the day. It was about 10 p.m. and my plan was to quickly frost my vanilla cake. The frosting was pretty thick and the recipe said I could add 1 or 2 teaspoons of milk. So I did, and crumb-coated the cake. It seemed a little soupy, so  I put it back in the fridge for 30 minutes to set up. I put on the final coat and could just tell it wasn’t going to work. Too much milk = drippy frosting.

The next morning, I had to go to Kroger anyway to pick up our flowers, so I ordered a white frosted cake. Topped with a “bird’s nest” I made from chocolate coated pretzels, it was fine. But the trip cost me time on the morning of the party, because the flowers were all wrong. The fabulous Marie didn’t make them, and none of the flowers I’d asked for had been used. But they remade the flowers, so it was all okay. Except, tick, tick, tick…

By now it was windy. Not breezy, as it was the day I tested my backdrop idea, but windy. I had two, 5-yard sections of decorator fabric that I got for a steal. I hung these from the top of our deck using cable ties. The Vice President of Special Projects secured the bottoms with bricks, but even those couldn’t keep the drape grounded. He tried so many ideas, and we thought we finally had it.

I set up the sideboard in front of the backdrop and arranged all the desserts. It was party time, our guests had arrived, the wind was still blowing the backdrop away from the table — not great, but manageable.

And then I honestly don’t know what happened. Can the wind change? A giant gust blew the backdrop forward — into the three-tier cupcake stand. The cupcakes went flying — into ranch dressing, into the deviled eggs, onto the sideboard, onto the ground. Just utterly destroyed.

The ever-plucky Lissette from Viridian Images Photography jumped into action, trying to salvage cupcakes. They were, as you can see, beyond repair. So to recap: party started, no backdrop, no cupcakes, destroyed food, antsy children. Little girls asking, “Can we have just one jelly bean?” Wind blowing. Three cupcakes in reserve (in case of accidents) but certainly not an entire batch of replacements. It puts a damper on a girl’s party mood.

The only thing to do was release the girls to play. And they were fine, of course. They didn’t care that the start time was delayed or that they weren’t doing our planned activities. They had jelly beans and each other. Lissette and I unloaded the sideboard, cleaned it, and repaired the eggs, carrots, ranch dip. I restyled the food. I actually thought about getting out our PVC backdrop scaffolding and trying the backdrop against the wall of our house. But common sense got the better of me and we skipped it.

That meant that I couldn’t hang my bunny silhouette, or the Hoppy Easter banner created by Libby Lane Press, or her cupcake toppers, but we found other solutions.

And at the end of the party, my friend Stacye arrived with this yummy adult beverage. And all was well. I guess the lesson is: if a party disaster strikes, quickly accept the reality, recruit help, pick a Plan B, and implement it ASAP.

If you look at the final party photos, and didn’t know the back story, would you know the party didn’t look the way I envisioned? Would you know desserts were missing? I’m guessing not, and that’s sort of the point. No one will know something went wrong in your party prep unless you tell them. So don’t sweat it! (To see the full party, click here.)

Have you ever had a last-minute party disaster? How did you recover? I’d love to hear your story.

 

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