Forty three people. In a 1650 sq. Ft house. What was I thinking inviting so many people to the graduation party? Well, I’ll tell you, and while I’m at it, I’m going to make the case for hosting a party of your own.
I was thinking about my Mom and Dad. My sisters and brother. Matt’s Mom and Dad. His brother. All of our nieces and nephews. In-laws, aunts, uncles and cousins.
And how our people show up for each other.
Knowing that, I wanted to make space for them.
So I did.
[This post contains affiliate links to my favorite party resource, Minted]
Tip: Spread the chores out over the course of a week or two so that you’re not rushing around at the last minute.
On the day of the party, I placed vases of Hannah’s favorite flower on all the tables and made labels for the tea; unsweet and sweet.
While Matt grilled, I set up a self-serve buffet complete with paper plates and plastic cups. (It pains me to use paper and plastic when I’m hosting. In fact, I never do. But this was the most practical solution all the way around and it turned out to be more than just fine.)
The doorbell rang.
Tip: When hosting a lot of people, have an out-of-the way space for personal belongings like a bedroom or office.
We greeted our family members, took their purses and invited them inside to celebrate our graduate.
I added some special touches with a trip down memory lane including photos of Hannah throughout her life, many with the people who were at the party, and a memory jar to record favorite memories or words of encouragement. There was also a special space set aside to put gifts and cards, and a table with copies of Hannah’s senior photos for guests to take as a party favor.
After dinner, I took a moment to share a few thoughts about my daughter; how courageous and kindhearted and compassionate she is. Then, I invited my family to gather around Hannah and pray for her.
We said amen and dove into the cookie cake.
There was more visiting and laughter and celebrating. Then, after a few hours, people started leaving; some of them had long distance drives ahead or hotels to check into.
After saying good-bye one last time, we threw away half-drank bottles of water and empty cups and plates full of cookie crumbs, washed the few dishes we did use, and put away the leftovers.
Then, we sat down in the living room together as Hannah opened her gifts and read the cards from her memory jar, one by one. Some made her smile, some made her laugh, and some made her cry.
Everything turned out better than we’d hoped, and I learned a few things about throwing a party.
5 Tips Every Hostess Needs to Know
- It’s not about you – It’s about your guests. And, one thing I know for sure is they do not care what your house looks like, the type of dishes you serve food on, or what you’re wearing. What matters most is how you make them feel.
- Size doesn’t matter – You do not need a big house to throw a party. For the most part, the traffic flow worked out really well. We didn’t even end up using the overflow seating.
- You can delegate – Let others help, delegating what you can, (Hannah even helped prepare for her party) and hire what you cannot do. We paid someone to mow the yard, and since this was such a special occasion, I wanted the invitations to not only be pretty, but to set the mood for the party. So, I ordered the invitations from, Minted. And if I’d had the budget for it, I would have hired a photographer.
- It’s FUN!– My Aunt Marilyn gave me some excellent advice and that is this: Focus on the party. Not home projects. Not work. Just focus on planning the party. So, I did. And because of that, it was much easier to enjoy our guests. Which is why I didn’t take some of the photo opportunities I meant to capture; I was busy mixing and mingling and celebrating.
- You get to spend time with your people and create new memories. Community is essential to creating a home and life you love, so whether you host a party or not, (I really hope you do) find time for your people.
And with that, I rest my case.
See you in class,