Yes, the big party is over. No, I am not recuperated yet. No, I had no alcohol, but I still had an after-party hangover!
It was a fun way to bring in my 70th year and my 7th decade of life, but it was still a lot of work. There are some things I would have done differently, but all things considered, it was an awesome party.
Below are some tips on throwing a milestone birthday party.
TIP NUMBER ONE: PLAN ON SOME NO-SHOWS
Don’t plan on everyone you invited to show up. A good rule of thumb is one-third of the invites will be at the party. Throw in some snow the day before and it will add even more to that no-show list. It doesn’t mean they don’t like you, it just means life happened. So get over it.
TIP NUMBER TWO: RELAX AND ENJOY
Relax. Try to release some of your “have to be in control” instincts. I had an agenda for the party – it did not work. I advise you to just go with the flow. It was a two-hour party and boy did the time go quickly. Don’t try to pack too much into that two-hour slot. Also, don’t be afraid to enlist some help. I had help with the serving and the cleanup and it worked out just fine. Allow more time than you think you will need to set up the party. And be sure to allow an hour before the party starts to get dressed in your party clothes!
TIP NUMBER THREE: GET THOSE IMPORTANT PHOTOS EARLY
Be sure to take a group photo early because some leave early and you won’t be able to have them in the picture. Maybe do it even before the cake cutting. Put it first on the things-to-do list. It is tricky since some arrive late and some leave early. My group photo had some guests missing but it turned out great and I now have a memory of most that came.
TIP NUMBER FOUR: EXPECT GIFTS EVEN IF YOU SAY NO TO THEM
Realize that even though you specify “NO GIFTS, NO CARDS” on your invitation, some will bring a gift and a card anyway. There are just some friends that are gift-givers and must give you a gift or at least a card. They mean well, so don’t be upset with them. Accept what is given to you graciously and leave it at that. At least when you specify no gifts you will receive fewer and that is a good thing. I liked the gifts that were given to me! At this stage in my life, which I call Act 3, I am trying to get rid of things, not accumulate more! So less is more when it comes to gifts.
TIP NUMBER FIVE: WORD OF WARNING
I rented a party room for my party. I would strongly advise not to use glitter or confetti because of the messy clean-up required! Also, send food home with your guests. Have some zip lock bags handy for this. And don’t use sparkle candles. It could result in disaster. In my case, the “7” sparkle candle started sparkling big time and caught the cloth flower that was on top of the cake on fire. My cousin took care of it as soon as I captured the blaze on camera – ha!
I hope these tips will help you when planning your next party. And don’t forget to celebrate every new candle on your cake!