In today’s Party Manners, let’s talk about when you should host your party. (Cue laughter from my friends: for the last four personal parties I’ve thrown, we’ve had to change the day after invites went out. Things happened, like 101.4 degree fevers. Which is a whole other topic: why your party will never be perfect but will still be great!)
Evening Parties: Just Say No
I always host parties in the afternoon (with the obvious exception of a sleepover). We’ve been invited to parties that start at 6 p.m. or later, and frankly, we try to say no to those invitations. They just don’t work for our bath and bedtime schedule.
Even on a Friday or Saturday night, we put our girls to bed at their normal time so they are not over-tired and grumpy the next day. As they get older (they are 6 1/2 now), we can flex more on bedtime. But honestly, it’s usually just not worth ruining a weekend family day for a party.
Based on a strictly unscientific poll of other moms, invitations for night-time parties make our eyes roll. Of course I know plenty of parents who let their kids stay up later than we do (8 p.m.), and that works for them. But be aware that if you schedule a night-time party, your invitations may be met with reluctance … not because they don’t want to attend, but because the parents don’t want to disrupt everything else to attend.
Afternoon Is Delightful
I think 2 p.m. is just about the perfect party time for a number of reasons:
- You’ll have morning party prep time.
- Your guests will be done with lessons or religious services.
- Your guests will be ready for a post-lunch snack, and yet the party is still early enough that dinner won’t be ruined.
- You don’t need to serve a meal, which is great if you’re on a budget.
The Weekend Rules
Since I don’t love night-time parties that get kids wound up right before bed, I also prefer Saturday or Sunday parties. As the kids get older and have more weekend activities and sports, Sunday afternoon becomes the obvious choice. It also gives you Saturday for party prep!