I’ve been to so many parties where the hostess wore a worried expression as she answered the door, then left us to fend for ourselves as she hurried about the house fussing over the last minute to dos.
I’ve been to one party where the hostess was relaxed and engaged and enjoyed the party right along with all her guests. That’s when I decided I wanted to be the kind of hostess that chooses people over a party planning list.
Creating a Simplified Party Planning List
My daughter’s graduation ceremony was two weeks away. The graduation party was the day after that. At my house.
Where the front door needs to be refinished, and there are holes to patch, touch-up painting to be done, flowers that need planting, a room to remodel, extra seating to find, food to order, plates and napkins to buy…
I had two choices. Stress myself out or simplify my to do list so I could focus on the people, especially my graduate. Choosing the latter, I ran through my impossible to-do list:
- create lush container gardens to welcome guests
- refinish front door
- deep clean the house
- put kitchen cabinet doors back on cabinet
- paint bookshelves in guest lounge
- patch all the holes in the walls
- repaint the house interior
- makeover the backyard including a DIY fire pit for s’mores
- create individual cups filled with s’mores ingredients
- buy new breakfast room chairs
- stain the breakfast room table
- buy plates and napkins that coordinate with school colors
- buy floral foam and fresh flowers and create stunning centerpieces
- scour alleys and dumpsters for pallets to DIY extra tables
- buy drop cloths, dye them blue and cut into table runner
- buy more placemats
- order prints of Senior pictures and make cute photo holders with pictures for guests to take
- set up a memory table with a picture of Hannah from preschool through now
- buy a large jar and notecards for guests to jot down advice for the graduate
- hire a photographer and rent a photo booth
So much of this didn’t need to happen. If I was being honest with myself, I was more concerned about having the perfect home than being hospitable. So, I simplified my party planning list down to what was truly necessary:
create lush container gardens to welcome guestsplant the flowers I bought before they die refinish front door deepclean the house put kitchen cabinet doors back on cabinet paint bookshelves in guest loungeclear clutter from guest lounge
- patch all the holes in the walls
repaint the house interior makeover the backyard including a DIY fire pit for s’moresain’t nobody got time for that create individual cups filled with s’mores ingredientsbuy the icing sugar cookies at Walmart and the brownie bits from Kroger Hannah likes for dessert buy new breakfast room chairs stain the breakfast room table buy plates and napkins that coordinate with school colorsGo to Dollar store and buy pack of paper plates and napkins buy floral foam and fresh flowers and create stunning centerpiecesgather empty jars and fill with daisies (my daughter’s favorite flower) scour alleys and dumpsters for pallets to DIY extra tablesborrow extra tables buy drop cloths, dye them blue and cut into table runneruse something I already have buy more placematsuse what I already have order prints of Senior pictures and make cute photo holders with pictures for guests to takeorder wallet size prints and set out for guests to “take one” set up a memory table with a picture of Hannah from preschool through nowfind a few pictures of Hannah to set on the gift table. buy a large jar and notecards for guests to jot down advice for the graduateuse a jar and a box of empty cards I already have hire a photographer and rent a photo boothmake sure my camera battery is charged and in the camera
How do you decide what to keep and what not to keep on your party planning list?
- set reasonable expectations – Think about what you can reasonably accomplish in the timeframe you have. Delegate or hire what you don’t have time to do.
- stay focused on the goal – Ask yourself if the to-do is necessary for making guests feel welcome and included. If not, scratch it off the list. Keep in mind, no one cares about the faded front door (or whatever your undone home project is.)
- don’t strive for perfection – Because hosting is about radical hospitality and that does not require a perfect home.
The graduation party turned out to be a very simple but special day filled with family and of course, radical hospitality.
Happy party planning,