Hosting a social gathering can be a rewarding experience, one which leaves guests feeling happy they followed through with the rsvp process.
Last year alone, I attended 7 showers, and hosted 2 of these. They were great success.
Here’s a few suggestions to avoid the common party pitfalls which can trip up even the most well-intentioned host.
1. Music for everyone. I have some friends who only play hair metal at their party, and while a song by Ratt is ok in moderation, listening to the entire album blasting followed by Seether’s new screamer is just no fun. I end up overdoing it on the alcohol just to make it through the night, then end up challenging people to arm wrestle me, shortly before passing out. That’s why it’s important to really think about a decent mix of music at your shindig.
2. AMBIANCE: The MOST important element of all is to make everyone feel comfortable. An uncomfortable guest is an unsocial guest. So make sure there’s LOTS of space, relaxing lighting, comfortable seating (especially if it’s a bridal shower or baby shower where people are gonna be sitting through gift opening, etc) , etc. SET THE MOOD. If you can do this right, that’s 80% of your party right there.
3. “BYOB”: This 4 letter word is a big no-no. Getting to the bottom of an invitation to what looks like an awesome party, and then seeing “BYOB” , is the sexual equivalent of losing an erection. When I see BYOB, I wonder, Why bother? Why don’t I go pick up a six pack and sit in my own living room for a few hours? Hosting a party comes with certain obligations, and providing ample alcoholic refreshments is one of them. Don’t give me that “well I don’t know what everyone drinks” crap. If that’s all that’s holding you back from picking up a few 24 packs of miller light, simply include a line in the invitation like “Proudly serving Miller Light, Arbor Mist, and Jose Cuervo.” This is much nicer to read than those bastardly 4 letters, and ensures a higher turnout. Trust me.
4. Invitations: E-vites are the big thing right now, but sending invites via regular mail is more memorable.
Once upon a time, a woman got engaged. Her friends, ever so happy for her, decided to throw a ‘gathering’ in her honor. They wrote up many to-do lists, set up a circle of fold up chairs, served fruit and yogurt, stocked the fridge with diet soda, bought a cake and started the tradition of what was to become one of the most stiff, unbearable social gatherings ever: The bridal shower.
Who amongst us truly enjoys any party with the word “shower” involved?
Well that’s because if there’s one thing women do wrong, it’s the ‘shower.’ We have settled for something that could be much, much more.
1.) No “fun” in “structure”: Going through the motions of the stereotypical “shower” involves keeping on top of time allotments for gift opening, games, and eating. I say, to hell with that and the mother of the bride too. Because the mothers are the ones that hold on to these sorts of excruciating traditions. So as the ‘host’ of these functions, do it your way, in a way the bride will love, and the guests will leave happy too.
2.) The opening of the gifts is probably the most mind-numbing of shower activities. Throw your weight around by keeping chatter in between gifts down to a minimum. Guests do not need or probably want to know why Susan bought beige linens instead of periwinkle, and these sort of conversational detours can quickly turn a boring 30 minutes into an excruciating hour and a half.
3.) Gift bags: Yes Yes YES. Candles, soaps, and stationary are just a few of the items one could include in a simple gesture to thank guests for coming out.
Showers are cool because it is one of the few times for just ‘the girls.’ No need to make it into something resembling a stuffy tea party or AA meeting.
Think outside the box.
Your turn– Social gatherings: what’s your pet peeve?