It's a scary thought- actually pressing "Publish" on this post- maybe more so that any other one I've ever written! I've had the idea for this entry for quite some time and while I feel there is probably never going to be the *perfect* time for me to put it out there (as a mom who throws real parties)- here's to hoping this time frame is better than publishing it the week after one of my kid's parties? The truth is- a lot of these things haven't even happened to me directly- really! But I'm in a community with so many other party & event planners that at this point if I'm going to go for it- I feel like I have to share for all of us...
Party Planner aside- obviously no mom wants to make their guests feel like they can't just attend their party like every other normal party... This is true, I want guests to feel at ease and have a blast.
However...what is also true- and this may be a total contradiction- is that it isn't in fact any other "normal party".
You know it, I know- if your kid's have attended previous parties- they know it. And if you don't know it- the invitation will usually always clue you in. A party planner prides herself on the snail mail invite and glitter is usually involved.
There have been weeks (mainly Party Week) where I have dreamed of throwing the Normal Party... Days I wish I could take a break and be Mellow Party Mom for one party in my life. That care-free spirit of a woman who texts people the party info a week before the party. She puts chips and dip out and serves water with lemon. She places the candle in the middle of her self-frosted cupcake, hands it to her child and helps get the "Happy Birthday" song going, complete with "And many more, on Channel 4...". Oh, to be her- my idol at 2am the night before a big party.
But, of course... that will never happen. The elusive "Normal Party" is fleeting in my mind. I have tried- and failed, many times. My attempt at a normal party for Cormac's 3rd Birthday Yo Gabba Gabba Party is pretty much what launched me in to this business, unbeknownst to ever knowing I wanted to be an actual Party Planner. This was before I knew about dessert tables or backdrops or "linens"... Before I knew about anything party-related really... Anything other than spending copious amounts of time on things most people wouldn't notice. Which I'm actually totally fine with now, really. I have gotten to a place where I very much realize the details are for me and my fellow Party People (you know who you are!). In the same way a lot of woman dress "cute" to impress other woman- I do things like wrap napkins in dyed doilies and ric-rack bows- for other party planners.
In an effort to not piss off every past party guest of mine, I am going to try and carefully broach this subject. But we all know I am not known for being exactly... errrr, gentle- per say... So, I will probably still offend every guest I've ever invited (and maybe even cut my numbers in half so I have more of a décor budget at the next party- oh c'mon, kidding!)
And while yes, I am kind of writing this on behalf of party planners... I'd also say these suggestions apply really well across the board- when invited to ANY party. So if you don't ever think you'll attend a party planner's function- don't think you're off the hook!
In the title of this post I very carefully used the words, "Art of Attending" vs. "Rules of Attending" because I'm offering these up as more of, well let's see... Suggestions? Strong, strong suggestions.
Shall we begin? Let's start with...
You've checked the mail and stumbled upon something non-bill like with a carefully placed festive sticker on it, or perhaps a stamp or two to clue you in to some sort of theme coming your way. You're happy with this joyous piece of mail- and you know your kids will enjoy it as well.
|Birdie's 1st Birthday Party|
You open it. Your kid's note the theme and you quickly note the date, time and location. You get on your phone, or look at your real-life calendar to see if you're available.
ARE. YOU. AVAILABLE?
Most party planners give a generous 3 weeks to a month's notice which should give you some flexibility in deciding if the day of the party is a going to be a good fit for you. If it isn't- a NO is a perfectly acceptable answer, because.... WAIT FOR IT, it's an answer. And amen to answers. Promptly texting, emailing or plain ol' fashioned calling the host to let them know that unfortunately the party isn't in the cards would be SO greatly appreciated. A NO helps us know we don't need to worry about adding your child to our favor, food, dessert and chair head count.
I have some more crazy news I'm about to share. A MAYBE is also an answer. Giving the hostess a heads up that you have other plans as well that day (soccer game, another party, WHATEVER) but that you're going to try your best to make it to the party- is a perfectly good enough response in my opinion. This let's us know we should probably have a backup favor and cupcake just in case maybe-child can swing by after all. A party planner's worst nightmare is a kid showing up to find no customized favor bejeweled with their name on it. I choke up just thinking about it.
Well, now it's about to get wild, because coming at you is some EXTRA crazy news. A YES answer- though exciting- also needs to be communicated to the hostess. Do not assume because your son is besties with the birthday boy that the hostess innately knows you're going to make it. A quick little text, "We'd love to attend!" is perfect- even more perfect if it's timely- as in, not the night before the party.
If you RSVP as a yes- unless of course sickness strikes or an emergency arises- be a YES. Don't suddenly the day of say, "We were just so tired from yesterday's crazy schedule so we decided to stay home!" At least lie to me about a sickness, k?
Let me confess something to you. This past January- for my son's 5th birthday party, I didn't even put an RSVP on the invite. That's how defeated I feel by the RSVP. I resorted to straight cold-texting people asking them if they were going to be able to make it- which is just plain weird.
In conclusion- we're all busy. No one should be so busy they can't communicate even a Maybe answer.
|Cute planner from Etsy... Just a thought!|
Look- I get it. 6ish years ago I wasn't invited to my friend's daughter's 1st birthday party. AND I STILL REMEMBER IT. I was her- um, briiiiidesmaid?! I know first hand that a no-invite can sting.
I also now totally get it. You just plain can't invite everyone- as much as you may want to!
So, in the event the invite does not make it to your mailbox- please for the sake of all that is good and holy- do not go on social media and leave comments like, "Guess my invite got lost in the mail!" on party photos or status' about said party. It's just awkward. If your child didn't get an invite- seriously ask yourself these questions before getting offended, "Is my child [still] a close friend of the birthday boy/girl? Do they play together often?"
Be gracious- I have had to learn this myself big time. Like every mom- a party planner closely calculates numbers, costs and space and because of the level of detail going in to the party- probably even more so.
I hate the fact that we will always inevitably leave people out but the bottom line is that it's not realistic to invite every child your kid has ever known, until we move in to the MPM Mansion, that is.
"I'M LATE, I'M LATE FOR A VERY IMPORTANT... PARTY?"
Look- being late to any party is tacky... Not just a party planner's. But with the right excuse, like being caught off guard by traffic, a toddler meltdown, etc. most hostesses will totally get it. We're moms, and for the most part fairly reasonable women. However, please try to be on time- like within the first 30 minutes. We've been planning this party for way too long to publicly acknowledge and there's this thing called a timeline we'd like to somewhat maintain. Is that too much to ask?
On the same note- do not show up early. Or if you do- be prepared to get put to work- which I hate doing to guests, but it inevitably WILL HAPPEN. Trust me when I say that no party planner is ever sitting around 25 minutes before a party saying, "I wish my guests would hurry up and get here already!" NO. We're sweating, tired, hungry... it ain't pretty. Give us until the specified start time unless you want to witness: Birthdayzilla, a ferocious beast of an animal no party guest should have to experience.
Ok, so there you have it- the first half of the post. Now if you were even slightly offended by that, I'd highly recommend you pretend like PART TWO doesn't exist.
xo Party or Die xo