With our 6th birthday here at Twin Cities Mom Collective on the horizon, we are talking all things celebration this week! Join us right here as we commemorate this incredible, inspiring and thriving community of moms in the Twin Cities.
It’s Twin Cities Mom Collective’s birthday month! And I, for one, am down to celebrate it all month long.There’s nothing like a good party and, in my opinion, there’s nothing like HOSTING a great party. I seriously love to host: holidays, showers, The Masters, the Super Bowl, and of course, birthdays! If there’s a reason to celebrate (which there always is), I’m on it!
I had a large group over for a holiday gathering right before Christmas. My friend asked me, “Isn’t this totally overwhelming for you?” My response was simply, “No way, I love doing this! I just make it really easy on myself.”
And that’s the key, make it super simple. You should have only two goals for a great party: Make sure your guests have a great time, and make sure you can enjoy it too.
Know Your Audience
Planning for a fellow mom can be tough. You need to understand what phase of life she and the other guests are in. Does she have a baby who won’t take a bottle and can’t be away from her for more than a couple hours? Does she like to be home to help with a bedtime routine? Is she desperately exhausted and not going to make it past 8pm? Is she ready to take a night off and let loose? Everyone handles the phases of motherhood differently, so make sure you’re thoughtful about what phase she’s in. Pick a time that works for her whether that be brunch, happy hour, dinner, or late night drinks.
Pick a Meaningful Theme
I’m not talking about unicorns or princesses here like you’re planning for some five year old. I’m saying pick a general theme to center your food and drink selection around. My old roommate just brought a group of us together to celebrate her birthday with a sushi-making night, just like when we lived together. You may have celebrated many a taco Tuesday with your bestie and that might be the route you choose. Cheese and wine may be more your friendship’s style, or maybe mimosas and brunch. Whatever your special thing has been, stick with it! It’s always fun to give a nod to the way things used to be pre-kids.
Set the Menu (or make a reservation)
More of an organizer and less of a hostess? No problem! Make a reservation somewhere fabulous and organize transportation. Maybe you gals want to whoop it up – consider making it a full on girls’ night and getting a hotel somewhere near your favorite bar scene.
If you’re the hostess with the mostest type, now’s where you plan a menu that looks elaborate but is really easy to execute. Think dishes that you can prep ahead of time. This may be a charcuterie board where everything is cut up the morning or day before and all you need to do is assemble before guests arrive. It may be a soup and salad bar. A make-ahead egg bake and fruit and yogurt bar. Or one of my favorites, a taco bar. Instant pots and slow cookers are your friend – prep things ahead of time so all you need to do is pop it in the oven to reheat it when guests arrive. Oh, and don’t forget a signature drink/cocktail and dessert!
Maybe making all the food is totally overwhelming to you or you’re looking for a way to get everyone involved. Then my old roommate’s idea of a DIY sushi* night (*insert whatever food is appealing to your guest of honor) is the ticket. A make your own flatbread night would be great for this type of thing too! All you need to do is acquire the ingredients and tools (or make a reservation for a cooking class), and then all of your guests can grab a drink and have a fun time pitching in!
This may be the most important tip for a successful party: DO EVERYTHING YOU CAN BEFORE THE DAY OF. Seriously. Anything and everything you can possibly do before hand, just do it. Clean the house, set the table, chop/prep ingredients, lay out serving-ware (consider options that make clean-up a breeze like compostable plates/silverware), plan the music, set-up a photo station, get guest rooms ready if people are crashing… all of it.
The day of the party you just want to be taking care of some finishing touches, setting out food and drinks (bar cart style so guests can grab their own drinks), and enjoying time with your guests.
Just don’t sweat it. When push comes to shove, remember what it’s all about – celebrating your friend. If you’re a stressed out hostess, everyone else is going to feel uncomfortable too. Plan ahead, let go of things that don’t come together how you planned, and just focus on the guest of honor and making her feel well-loved. She won’t remember the fancy decorative details, or that the meal was over-done, but she will remember the belly-laughs and the feeling of someone else taking care of her for a change.