Party Hosting Tips

Last weekend my wife and I threw a housewarming, Easter, and first birthday party for Baby Buck. Preparing for this shindig was actually worse than planning for my wedding. I’m joking of course, but in a way the wedding was slightly easier because I could lean on my bridal party. For this get together, it was mainly my wife and I preparing like madmen. Now that I had a few days to recover, reflect, and return to normal, here are some of my takeaways.

Start Early

Just like preparing to move into a new home, it is advantageous to start cleaning way before the party date. We procrastinated and ran out of time. We managed only one hour of sleep the night before, ran errands and cleaned up until guests arrived. Thankfully the good company and adrenaline powered us through.

Shop Around

We tried two different 6 foot folding tables. One was from Walmart and one was from Target. The tables were basically the same. How many ways can you make a folding table? The Walmart one looks slightly better due to the speckled white color used for the tabletop. The Target one is a boring gray color, but we used a tablecloth anyway.  The folding mechanism for the legs are exactly the same.

The only key difference is the carrying strap of the Target one is a little bit more padded with an extra strap to hold it in place when not in use. The deal breaker is the price. The Walmart one is $45 while the Target one was on sale for $35. Target wins this round for providing basically the same table for 22% off.

Ice Ice Baby

We were going to make a final Costco run on Sunday morning to grab a bag of ice.  You can’t beat 20 pounds for $2.19. Sadly Costco is closed on Easter, one of the few days of the year they take the day off. This unfortunate timing cost me 63% in savings as I was forced to buy a bag at Vons for $5.99. If you have a Costco membership and you need to buy ice, you can’t go anywhere else.

Help Them Help Themselves

When the first party goers trickled in, I was waiting on them hand and foot making sure their cups were always full. When the party was in full swing, my wife and I were too preoccupied. Sadly, we had extra refreshments and snacks in the refrigerator and pantry, but because we were so busy, we didn’t get a chance to replenish supplies. I underestimated my ability and free time to wait on guests.

To avoid his situation the future, just leave your snacks and refreshments wherever possible so that they can help themselves. Your supplies will do no good hidden in the back of the refrigerator or stashed in the pantry. Plus, you have more important things to do than serve chips and drinks.

In-Laws Manpower

If your in-laws are available, make sure to get all hands on deck. Mine came over a day early to help prepare some of the food, clean, watch and take care of Baby Buck. You can never get enough good help.

Defer Photography

I found the party to be eerily similar to my wedding. However, can you imagine the bride and groom taking pictures?  Serving, introducing, mingling, playing games, and cutting cake is a full time gig.  We should have asked someone to be our photographer for the day.  We missed taking pictures of all the guests with the baby of honor and the baby game prize winners.  We were too distracted with thinking of questions, asking them, and tracking winners.

Near the end of the party, savvy party goers requested pictures with the birthday boy. This photo op should have been taken of all the party guests because Baby Buck was one of the main attractions. There were times when he was taking a nap and not available. Be aware you only have a limited time to snap photos of everyone happy and awake.

Home Cooking

If you know your way around the kitchen, there’s no substituting cooking for your guests. They’ll appreciate the extra TLC and you going the extra mile especially if the food tastes delicious.

Costco Picture Printing

One of the biggest hits of the party were Costco printed thank you cards. We selected a particularly cute picture of Baby Buck, added a little thank you note, and printed them at Costco. Make sure you go early because people love pictures and you don’t need the extra stress waiting in line to print as time is winding down.

Share the Wealth

My office mates are great as they always share food with each other. After the guests went home, we discovered we had way too much food and cake. Rather than waste it, I brought the goodies to work. Everyone wins, Kumbaya!

Final Thoughts

Kids are messy. No matter what you do, they will find a way to leave their mark. Just roll with it and clean it up as best you can. We had some stains in the carpet from cake or chocolate. Thankfully we dabbed the stains with water and got most of the color out.

I also have a bad habit of replaying moments where I could have been funnier, wittier, or more charming. I guess I wanted to give the best performance possible and make sure all my guests had a good time. I also vented to a friend that I was worried that my guests from different times and places wouldn’t get along. He made a great point saying if they were my friends and I invited them, most likely they would have many things in common and would get along just fine.

There I go being a control freak again. Bad Buck! What’s done is done. I can’t turn back time. I need to only worry about the things I can control. Finally, trust that your hard work will pay off. Remember to breathe, relax, and have fun!

Do you have any party hosting tips you’d like to share?

Stay Inspired!

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3 Responses

  1. Arlee Bird says:

    If I compare the A to Z Challenge to a party–and it is kind of–get lots of help. Without the great team I’ve put together in the past years I would have never been as successful as we’ve been. Having help makes things so much easier when you’re planning an event.

  1. April 10, 2013

    […] Party Hosting Tips – Not necessarily a guide to saving money (not that every post has to do so), but Buck Inspire provides a pretty good guide of how to have a party without blowing your mind getting it ready. […]

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