I just love having friends over! Whether it’s a holiday or a birthday celebration or just hot dogs on a hot summer day, I love surrounding myself with my “real” family and my Navy-family as often as I possibly can.
My sister thinks I’m crazy. (Which is
probably definitely true, but it’s not because I like to have parties.) Her thoughts on entertaining?
“I would rather have spikes driven through my head!!!”
That’s a direct quote, by the way. (She also said, “Honestly … I can’t believe you asked me that.” She wasn’t kidding.)
But here’s the thing: I look at having company over a little differently than my sister. To her a party is letting a bunch of people in to judge her house, serving them food she doesn’t like cooking, and making nice with folks she’d rather … not. I look at company as a chance to spend time and share stories and make memories, and none of that is dependent on overdone decorations, fancy food, or the perfect outfit.
So while my parties are probably not Pinterest-worthy, I decided to share My Kind of Party Planning tips with you. (P.S. Kelly, this one’s for YOU!)
Party Planning Tip #1: Invite only the people you truly want to spend your free time with.
I rarely invite people to my house that I don’t see or speak to regularly anyways. Invite people who, when you open the door for their arrival, it makes you happy just to see their faces! Time is precious so why waste it trying to impress people you barely know?
Which leads me to …
Party Planning Tip #2: Stop trying to impress your guests.
My lovely friend, Judy, always says, “I’m coming to see you, Jodi, not your house.” She is invited over OFTEN!
The people you want to spend time with are probably the people least likely to care if your floor needed one more vacuuming or to notice if your “decor” isn’t just right. If you are coming to my house to be inspired by my decorations or to white glove test my kitchen … well … you will be disappointed at what you see, and I will fail with flying colors. If you come to my house to enjoy a few drinks, some yummy food, and a fun time, we will both end up happy!
Speaking of which …
Party Planning Tip #3: Good food is important.
No one has a great time when they are hungry. Good food is a must. Having said that, however, I also have to admit that I’m not a GREAT cook. I try. I plan. I follow the recipe. I make my best effort. However, I also have two delicious pizza places on speed dial. Bellies will be filled one way or the other, and again, if you invite the “right people” (see Party Planning Top #1), it won’t matter.
Party Planning Tip #4: You don’t need alcohol to have a great party (but it doesn’t hurt).
I mean, really, I can have just as good a time with some iced tea or hot coffee as I can with a beer or a martini. I do however enjoy a good adult beverage and have a summer standard (Frozen Fuzzbusters) and a the-rest-of-the-year favorite (Rum & Pineapple juice) on hand at all times. Want a drink? Have a drink! Don’t want a drink? More for me!
Party Planning Tip #5: Take pictures … lots and lots of pictures!
I’ll be honest. This one is one-part tip and one-part personal resolution. I always forget to take pictures. Always. I am trying to do better though! I took over 400 photos this summer, and I am trying to keep up the pace this Fall. As a military family we have lots of friends that we may never be stationed near again so getting them all in the memory books is really important! Snap! Snap!
So those are the really important tips! Those are the things that really make a great party, but here are a few others that can help a bit, too!
The Practical Stuff:
- Leave one or two dirty dishes in the sink, but make sure your dishwasher is empty. A dish in the sink lets guests know its okay to put their dirty dishes there, and an empty dishwasher makes clean-up much easier.
- Start the night with an empty trash can and recycle bin. They’ll probably get filled up, and no one wants to take out the trash in the middle of a great time.
- Keep the kids happy! Bring out the games, set ’em loose on the toys, and throw on a movie. Happy (occupied) kids make for happy parents!
- Shove everything else in the master bedroom. Any extra stuff you don’t want folks to see can be hidden in the master bedroom because no one is going in there anyways. (If they are, it’s a different kind of party, and you are reading the WRONG blog. Just sayin’.)
- Don’t clean while your company is still around. Just don’t. Nobody likes watching other people clean up, and besides why waste time cleaning when you could be enjoying all those folks you really love!
“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”