Thursday, May 23, 2013

Hosting Made Simple

It's ok to keep things simple when hosting an event.

I have a habit of overextending myself sometimes. Which is why, in the middle of the busiest and final weeks of the college semester, I decided to repaint my basement, volunteer for a local event's publicity committee, and host a 30th birthday party for my husband.

What was I thinking!

Fortunately, I have become rather adept at managing times of crisis. One of the newer lessons that I've learned is that you absolutely do not have to do everything yourself.

Another important lessons to party planning is to start planning early! At the beginning stages of organizing my husband's party, I realized that having an in-home gathering might be impractical, considering the paint fumes wafting up my cellar stairs and the stacks of research papers waiting to be graded that were lining my dining room table. So, rather than attempting to cook a homemade dinner for 20 guests in the midst of this chaos, I made group reservations at a local restaurant. I made my reservations more than a month in advance, which gave me enough time to send invitations and iron out other details (like who pays?).

The next step was for me to invite guests. This is an extension of the party planning principle of planning early. Email invitations are instantaneous, and they can save you time and money. Although paper invitations are oh-so-cute and enjoyable, they also require additional expense and, unfortunately, additional time to make and send. I wanted to get my invitations out as early as possible so that I would have time to confirm a final head count with the restaurant and other vendors, so I opted for email invitations.

Once dinner was planned, thanks to the good people at The Eagles Nest, all that was left for me to plan was dessert. I honestly thought about baking and icing 30 homemade cupcakes for my husband's birthday. However, in addition to the extra time and storage space that they would require (I was willing to sacrifice both), it was important for me to consider my own limitations. I am a fabulous cook, but I. Can't. Bake. Cupcakes. And so, I realized, it's ok to order dessert. While I would have loved to make homemade birthday cupcakes for my husband, I knew a more successful and delicious option would be for me to order them from a professional bakery. Thanks to Macklin's, I was able to provide a beautiful cupcake cake for the party, decorated with three of my husband's favorite things: our pets!

Ultimately, my husband's 30th birthday was a happy and successful occasion. I am glad that I was able to plan, and most importantly enjoy, celebrating with friends and family because I didn't try to do everything myself. The success of this celebration is due to the fact that I did not try to do it all. I utilized local resources to keep things simple, classy, and memorable. So even if the cupcakes weren't homemade, I am happy to report that my husband still had a wonderful celebration in his honor.

The above photo was taken by my sister of me holding my store-bought birthday cupcakes.

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