If I can muddle through May without becoming a sobbing mess, it will be a miracle. Personal changes, an 18th birthday, a graduation party and an actual commencement might do me in. I digress, though, because these are the feelings I have in my head, and what I actually do on the outside is get things done. It’s time to push my sentimental feelings aside to when the house is actually empty and plan, plan, plan!
When you mention the word “party,” you’ve said the right thing. I like to party and I give a good party—you heard me. Wheels start turning in my head for ideas, food, and preparation and I can’t wait for it to all come together. Most of it doesn’t happen until the week before because we all know that I work better under a tight deadline. Yes, I’m a last minute puller-together, and boy, is it a rush.
I’ve planned two graduation parties that went off without a hitch, too many birthday parties to count, and numerous proms. I wish I could say we just give regular birthday parties, but that would be lying. We’ve done bonfires, piñatas Mexican-style, enchiladas for 50, quesadillas for 100, dances which included dancing on picnic tables, and last year we enclosed our patio/garage and held a teen rave replete with lasers and DJ. In fact, over the years most of our parties included a DJ and music for the kids to dance. What is a party without music?
None of these parties were expensive, because to have fun doesn’t mean spending lots of money. We used our own music or downloaded what we didn’t have, the DJs were friends who knew how to DJ, and it costs nothing to have a fire and make your backyard a space that kids want to spend time in. For my son’s 17th party/rave, we enclosed the garage and patio with tarps, as George is a wizard in that area. The effect was so cool and the kids had a blast, and the upside? I found glitter from the dance hiding in random places outside, which made me smile.
I always tell people when you buy supplies for a party that less is more. Buy white everything: plates, cups, napkins, and silverware. It is more cost-effective than color and no one sees a difference. Focus your splashes of color in fabric purchased for the tables—I get mine at the local fabric store for pennies—or in balloons strewn about the yard. These add eye-catching color without buying expensive banners and décor. For the piñatas, I always bought little trinkets to add to the candy, like fake bugs and dinosaurs, little pots of gooey slime and fun, yet unexpected things the dollar stores could provide. Be unexpected and that’s what the kids will remember—not what fancy-colored plates they ate off of and threw away.
My initial plans for my final graduation party are in full swing. When you read this it will be two weeks until go time, and I’m sure I will be in go-mode tracking down food, supplies, and those unexpected little twists that make a party enjoyable and different. Leave your anxiety in the closet and don’t sweat the little things. Remember, it’s not how much you spend—it’s what they will remember and feel that counts.
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