This is the final post in this series. The party happened and now it’s over (I’ll admit, there’s a little bit of a letdown for me after every party because my mind immediately goes to “now what?”).
I am delighted to report that the party went off without a hitch. That’s not to say there weren’t little things along the way that tripped us up or could’ve gone better, but ultimately it was a ton of fun, the food was incredible and most importantly, our guests of honor had a wonderful time.
As I reflect back on the party, there are a few things we did right and probably could have done better that I’d like to share. This will help you (and future me) have an even better party experience for yourself and your guests.
Things I’m glad I did:
- Designate a photographer – I am so bad about remembering to take photos of things, so this was great because I didn’t have to worry about it. Also, because there was so much to do and everyone was doing different things, it allowed all the hosts to see the full experience for the guests after the fact. For example, I didn’t set up their “stateroom” or even get to see it, but the photos gave me a chance to not only see it, but also to see their reaction to it.
- Have a solid plan with room for flexibility – my thorough “day of” plan was incredibly helpful for making sure we got everything accomplished early so we could enjoy the event ourselves. It was also useful for managing our time during setup. But, we also needed to be flexible because some things took longer than anticipated, which meant others had to pitch in and do tasks not originally assigned to them. All in all, it worked out and was a good decision.
- Be open to changing things up to accommodate your guests – when we first got there, we felt a little frenzied because we knew we had a lot to do. This vibe passed to our guests as they were leaving for their excursion. We made a conscious effort when they returned home (even though we still had stuff to do) to make them feel less rushed and not worry as much about the exact timing (this also gave us a little more time to get things done). And, we ended up switching around the order of events. After dinner, we were all too stuffed to immediately have dessert so we switched it up and moved to our activity next as a little “eating break.”
Things I wish I’d done differently:
- Prepare better instructions for less-prepped helpers – I really thought I had solid checklists and info, but I made some assumptions about how well everyone understood the different things we were doing and how comfortable people would be making creative decisions or improvising. This led to people feeling a little unsure of what they needed to do and having questions. Overall, not a big deal, but with a little better up-front prep, everyone would have been more informed on assignments.
As you can see, I really didn’t have a lot that didn’t go well or that I’d change for next time. I think this is, in part, due to my decision to just relax, enjoy and not stress about the party. This is a critical part as a host. If you’re stressed, your guests will feel it and it will make it less enjoyable for them and you. So, do your best, plan and prep and then on the day, remember to HAVE FUN!
Here are some pics of how things turned out: