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Swell Hospitality

For the Hesitant Hostess

For the Hesitant Hostess

Parties... I love parties: Friendsgiving, Easter egg hunts, Taco Bell run after the Christmas Eve service... Seriously, I come up with a reason to celebrate even the smallest thing.

My family laughs at me because I send an invitation for everything. I always want to have everyone at all of our parties, even if that means inviting 65 people to our son's 1st birthday which, thanks to the Georgia "ice" storm, only 40 people showed up for. I heard a quote the other day that described me perfectly-
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"I love to throw parties but they give me so much anxiety."
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Winter themed lumberjack flannel first birthday party
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There, I said it... my pretty invitations, Pinterest decor, and full table of food and drinks puts me on edge until about mid party (or a few glasses of wine, whichever comes first). So you're probably wondering why I keep torturing myself by throwing these parties. Fellowship- I love the relationships that form at these parties, whether they are because of a common interest or something totally bizarre. But I have found that the best way to keep relationships thriving is to make an effort with anyone you want to keep in your life.
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Family and friend first birthday party
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I have thrown a girls Friendsgiving party for the past 5 years (I'll post about this come closer to Thanksgiving). But needless to say, after the first year of cooking everything, I decide to make it potluck, which ending up working out much better. This year, I decided to host an annual Easter Egg Hunt for the kids. Why do I decide to make things "annual" instead of waiting until I see if they actually succeed!?!
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Yes, this party stressed me out, but it was a blast! My poor sister, who moved home from South Korea the week before and is staying with us, was in deep helping me prepare. Flashbacks of "Bossy Kaylen" from our childhood quickly appeared, but I quickly apologized for a snappy attitude. 
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Thanks to the Georgia heat, the treats in the eggs were melted by hunting time. We even waited to put them out for that exact reason, but it didn't seem to help. My dog ate a cupcake (and some cookies, fruit, and candy), one kid had a gulp from my Dad's beer, and one of our guests had to rush home because her dogs escaped from her house. Needless to say, we all slept hard that night. On the other hand, I wrestled my son in the bounce house and he laughed so hard the entire time. Those giggles were worth every bit of anxiety I had before the party started. 
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First birthday party high chair boy decor
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--For the Hesitant Hostess with the Mostess--

If you enjoy hosting parties but you get uneasy before the big show, here are a few tips I've found to help me:
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1. Breathe... it's the memories that matter, not the wording on the invitation
2. When people offer to help, let them (I am bad about this)
3. You don't have to invite everyone- let the guest list aline with the party theme
4. Invite a few people over early to help you set up (this is my mom and husband 100% of the time)
5. Give your set-up crew specific tasks- they are there to help
6. Live in the moment and enjoy yourself! 
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We asked the other Swell Mamas for their entertaining tips and here are some good ones: 
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"If you have time, pick out a theme a few months in advance so you can start finding decor in random places even on a tight budget. I often shop at Homegoods and find something I love to build my theme around. I also started laying out dishes and serveware a week in advance to get a better idea of where things will go and what else I need to borrow or buy to round out the theme. This makes a huge difference in reducing my "to do" list and eliminating last minute errands."
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"Invest in some "party bins" to store leftover decor after hosting a party or shower. Join online party decor exchanges so you are not starting from scratch if you can find them in your area. And...spend the majority of your budget on good food and drink because that's what makes the party!"
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"Pinterest is my best friend! I spend hours looking for theme ideas and inspiration before hosting a party/event. And since I am not crafty, I plan ahead so I can order decor from Etsy or other sites!"
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"Always prep food the night BEFORE! I love using yard clippings for arrangements. Azaleas, camellias, magnolias are all native plants here in the South that provide beautiful blooms. Utilizing what you are growing in your own backyard adds a relaxed vibe to your event. Even if few plants are blooming, you can rely on greenery such as nandina foliage and berries in winter. Sometimes I grab an inexpensive bouquet from the store and break it up into several arrangements with greenery to make it go further."
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Food + Drink
"These are the most important for me! I always try to consider my guests' preferences to make sure I have something for everyone. If certain friends don't drink alcohol, make sure you have a fun option for them besides water so they also feel as if they are celebrating. If vegetarians are in the mix, offer them a meat free option that is also filling."
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"And lastly, I always make a spreadsheet for an event. I keep track of decor, menu, what needs to be bought, made or done. This proves helpful as a honey-do list for my husband. I can just print out the spreadsheet so both of us can see what is left to be done or create a quick shopping list. Be sure to print out any recipes pulled off Pinterest. It saves a lot of time prepping so you don't have to keep looking up the recipe online."
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"I make sure to welcome guests at the door and offer a drink. It's really important that people feel noticed and welcome from the beginning!"
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    This contribution is from our Swell Mama Kaylen!

    Mom Blogger Kaylen


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