Saturday, March 9, 2013

Behind the Scenes at Miss Party Mom...(NOT what you're expecting, I promise)

I wanted to give a little behind-the-scenes on the St. Patty's shoot we just did here at Miss Party Mom (and pretty much every party we've done before as well- they all kind of look the same the week of). I write lots of cute write ups to send along to all the big party blogs but they have to be sweet and dripping with confection sugar and I wanted to, at some point, give the real truth about throwing a "professional" party. And I think the time has come! This is the raw sugar version.  For all of the crafts and other set up tips you will have to see the Pizzazzerie feature found here.

St. Patty's Party: I came up with the idea to have what would be my first "stylized shoot" 2 weeks before we did it. I contacted Hannah at Hannah's Cookies and Treats and asked her to start brainstorming cookie and cake ideas and then I contacted Christina at Moments Captured Photography and asked if she'd be able to shoot it. No matter how cute your party set up is, if you don't have a professional photographer- it's pretty much pointless. I know that's harsh but when I look back at the 1st Birthday Camping Party I did for a client and I think about how awesome that party was and that I took the pictures myself, I literally want to kick myself. It just didn't do it justice at all and after you've spent that much time on something- pictures of it are essential. The difference between those pics and the St. Patty's party are literally night and day. So if you can scrounge up some extra funds- invest in a photog- life long memories are at stake!

Ok, back to the St. Patty's 2 weeks before I come up with this idea for a "Pot of Gold at the End of the Rainbow" party because, why not... I have entire rainbow theme in my party cave- plus a black "caldron" from my husband's 30th Halloween Party that would so make the perfect pot of gold- I mean, it would be foolish not to put these items to use! And because I already had SO many rainbow decorations from my daughter's 1st Rainbows & Birds Party I really only needed to focus on getting some touches of shamrock which the Dollar Tree was perfect for. To save money I used all free printables for my table graphics, which are pretty accessible for holiday parties- I just googled "free St. Patrick's Day printables" and a ton came up. You can find links to all of these in the Pizzazzerie article.

One of the things most people don't understand...maybe because no one lets on to it- (at least in my experience thus far) is that party planning is REALLY STRESSFUL. I am not at home baking away in the kitchen all week while my kids do floor puzzles. I am running around from Michael's Crafts to Joann's Fabrics, Walmart, Target- you name it. I spend so much time in the car during party week it's crazy. My kids are usually trying to craft every project rightalongsideme, which if you are a perfectionist like myself- will drive you insane. So- in order to craft without my little helpers, I'm waiting for naps and bedtimes- because, did I mention- we live 3 hours away from the Grandma's- so most help is paid help. At this point I'm not quite rich enough for a party week babysitter...but oh goodness, give me time!

So my days are spent with the kids, running party errands with bribes for trips to the park in between... brainstorming with my 4 year old in the car (he REALLY has ideas) taking notes and making little dessert table sketches. THEN at night I'm able to actually work and these are late nights full of late night teli!  Everything is still pretty mellow until TWO DAYS before the party which is when it turns to total and absolute chaos. I know there are party planners out there who are still making organic dinners and fitting in learning time...but oh Lord I am not one. My kids are lucky to be eating nuggets and cheesy broccoli and their learning time is full of mud pies and anything else outside that will keep them distracted. Some days I let our the chickens out for them to chase around just to exhaust them.

This time frame I'm speaking of is how Miss Party Mom got her name actually... my husband would say before every party I was throwing (pre-business), "Oh's Party Mom- she's baaack!" I actually quite thought of myself as a super hero of sorts, "PARTY MOOOOM!"... however, I don't think that is what he had in mind... in "party mom" mode the kitchen turns in to a mass of flour and cake ingredients, the laundry piles high and there's NEVER toilet paper stocked...or milk if I'm being honest. Or anything normal moms keep on hand. But I think my kids have grown to kind of like party week, they know it's mud pie time and that William and Kadence (Hannah's boys) will pretty much be living at our house.

THE DAY OF the party. Oh dear, should I even go here?! The day of the party makes the day before the party look mellow. I am first of all, most likely on 4 hours of sleep which is never a good way to start a day. Somehow my kids usually convince me they need to eat all of the bad batches of cupcakes which obviously makes them nuts. At the St. Patty's shoot my son and Kadence actually started throwing a stuffed horse back and forth ABOVE THE FULLY SET DESSERT TABLE! When said horse fell, it luckily for me fell on to the coloring book buckets and I almost lost it. Ok, I did lose it, that's a total lie. It's times like this, sayings like, "it's only cupcakes!" literally do not compute in my brain. Those cupcakes might as well have been for Martha Stewart herself, that's how attached to them I'd gotten.

Even at a stylized shoot we're on a time frame, which I never actually realized until we just did this first one. I always thought of them as the "easy way to throw a good party" but because I had a photog coming at a certain time and my son's neighborhood friends were coming before Awana all dressed in green...I really had to be done by 4pm. Unlike a real party where food and 50 people come- it's maybe not AS stressful but it's still there- that party day stress is totally still there. And somehow nothing goes as planned and it truly never does.

Two hours before the scheduled outdoor shoot- it decides to rain. Lord help me. Hannah and Christina kept asking about my "back up plan." "What back up plan?" I asked, "It's only a 30% chance of rain!" Then 30 turned to 100. What happened to my Irish Luck... So in to the mouth of the open garage we moved- and you know what? I honestly think it turned out to be a better overall set up. I was originally planning to use the rainbow table cloth as the canopy, (it's intended use) and since the canopy wouldn't fit inside the garage I turned it in to the table cloth and pulled out my photo backdrop set up so I could still use my turquoise sheet and clouds idea for the background of the table. The canopy as a table cloth (how had I never thought of this?!) was such a better idea that my initial green linen table cloth and rainbow runner... it just pops beautifully if you ask me. Once the kids and parents arrived, and the party was all photograped, which took about 30 mins (with the kids going nuts because they SO badly wanted to raid that table, wouldn't you?!), I actually got to enjoy a party...and although I looked like death (did I mention there's NO time for showers or proper makeup before the party) it was great to relax and mingle with a few friends. I hope they've forgiven me for the no makeup.

So, there you have it. This job is not for everyone, it's full of chaos and last minute changes and cupcake laden children. There's a large amount of coffee, Red Bull and Diet Coke involved...maybe it's not the proper job for me (a natural born work-a-holic) but then WHY do I love it so much?! To finish a party is like birthing a child... with out all the diaper changes. There's such accomplishment. And I know not everyone gets it. And I'm totally ok with that. Because I do.

                                                                   xo Party or Die xo

1 comment:

  1. I loved reading this :) amazing yet again!!!


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