Turn of Events: 6 Tips for Dealing When Event Plans Fail


 Happy Saturday, guys!

This week seems to have flown by.  Last Friday was my baby's first birthday, and we've had friends and family staying with up until today.  Whew!  I really enjoy hosting people but I always feel like lose contact with the outside world when I do.  Maybe that's just the sign of a good visit. :)

The Bean's first birthday was...eventful.  We had far fewer people than we anticipated, so we had
LOTS of food.  We also had planned to have it outdoors at a nearby lake, and I had all of these games, decorations and plans for the tables and two marquees.  What I didn't expect was gale force winds when we got there - lol.  The best laid plans of mice and moms...

The truth is, I've never had an event that has gone exactly the way I wanted it to.  Food has burned or fallen; weather hasn't cooperated; decorations, outfits, arrangements, crafts haven't turned out properly and had to be scrapped last minute, my loving husband has put a stake through his foot the day of... basically, anything that could go wrong, has.  So, when something goes pear-shaped, what's a girl to do?

EG's 6 Tips for Dealing with Event Fails

1. Give yourself a minute to be frustrated, then regroup and move on.  Although I'm not in most things, I'm very type A when it comes to entertaining.  I put a lot of thought and effort into preparations and I want everything to be perfect.   But, when the proverbial poo does hit the fan (thankfully that has yet to be an actual problem at one of my events), I take a minute to let myself get frustrated or annoyed, I vent about it to someone that I'm close to (yay, good friends!) and then I do my best to let it go and work with the circumstances. 

2.  Prioritize - truthfully and practically.  Yeah, sure, you can say "that everyone has a great time" is the top priority.  But practically speaking, what do you feel brings about those results?  Is it a killer decor?  Lots of food?  Really impressive food?  Music?  Games?  A good space to sit and chat?  Once you've figured that out, focus on making those top pieces happen and let the others go.

For the Bee's party, the wind was the major issue.  It meant that I couldn't put up the marquees or the decorations.  This was tremendously frustrating as I'd spent time on them.  But the truth was, they weren't really important.  Instead, feeding the guests was far more essential to me.  So, the main task became trying to get the food out and anchored. 

3.  Recruit backup.  I tend to be a flying-solo kinda gal when it comes to planning and executing a party (at least for the big stuff).  But even I know my limits.  Forget your pride and obsessive-compulsive tendencies, and grab a friend to help you get things back on track.

After about an hour at A's birthday party, the wind was, if anything, worse.  I absolutely hated to do it, but I finally made the call to pack everything up and move the party back to my apartment.  My amazing best friend, husband and family cheerfully hauled platters of sandwiches, presents and unused decorations to their cars for transport.  And when we got home?  They just as cheerfully bustled around with me making my apartment pink and froofy for the birthday girl (who thought the whole day was just grand!).

4.  Remember that most guests won't know the difference.  So, you painstakingly made a gorgeous cake sure to wow the masses and then proceeded to drop it on the floor twenty minutes before the party.  After a few creative expletives, have a friend grab some store bought cupcakes and do your best to forget it.  The guests can't miss what they didn't know was coming.

5. Work with it.  Some of the best event details I've seen have come from people making the most of something gone wrong.

When a special effect intended for our bathroom didn't come together well one Halloween, I scrapped it last minute.  Instead, I anchored two black lights, threw a highlighter in the tank of my toilet, and added left over glow sticks to every surface.  I was super bummed at my half-hearted decor, but it wound up being the hit of the party and people had a blast getting pictures in there all night  (because, who DOESN'T want a picture in the loo...?). 

One of the cutest wedding shoots I've seen occurred when it happened to pour on the big day and the bride and groom grabbed an umbrella, borrowed some sneakers and went for a jaunt in the puddles. 

Girl scout cookies out of girl scouts, my friends.

6.   Laugh about it.  Sometimes there's just no way around it - things just bombed.  But epic fails make great stories and life is far too ridiculous not to laugh at.  

The Bee's birthday didn't quite turn out the way I'd dreamt, but it certainly was memorable.  And, hey, on the upside, the bar for her second birthday has been set comfortably low!

I'd love to hear from you!  Do you have any amazing party failures?  How did you handle it at the time?  Is there anything you wish you'd done differently or advice that you can offer? 

Have a fab week guys!  Happy planning!

Party Tip #317: as long as a party includes cupcakes, it's a success.

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  1. I love how your "comfortably low bar" still looks like a high jump to me... Hosting Memorial Day this upcoming weekend (for the second/third time) and dreading it greatly...

    1. Ha! I appreciate the compliment. What do you dread about it? The prep? The food? The decor? (All of the above?)

  2. Prep and food and clean up. You're crazy if you think I care about the decor! I'm not anywhere near EG levels of entertaining...

    But before they come there's a week of trying to clean the house. This would probably be easier if we cleaned regularly but honestly, I think the only time we dust and vacuum is before guests come over. Maybe we just need to throw more parties to clean more regularly!

    Then there's the prep like deciding a menu and shopping for everything. Last year the food didn't fit in our fridge. This year we plugged in the extra one in the basement!

    Then there's the day of work. I'm not a confident griller, but it's my party so I have to fake it. Clean the grill (oh crap! Just remembered our grill brush broke... Thank goodness for Amazon Prime!), make the good, clean it AGAIN. Plus making all the sides and apps and condiments...

    Finally the dreaded clean up after. Dishes, food spills (if any), and more dishes...

    I miss the days when I was young and adults did everything and I could just go and eat and relax! How easy I had it!!!

    1. Lol, yes, it was nice to have everything taken care of. Personally, it's the actual hosting that I find intimidating. I love the getting ready portion of the party and I don't even mind the clean up. But knowing that I'll have to play host and chat and be visible is very overwhelming to me. I hope your party went well despite your nerves!


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