When I'm enjoying myself in planning a party, I can't help but remember my less glorious days being a perfectionist, throwing a party.
Oh my, they were incredible parties. Every detail was in place. And I was irritable, rushed, stressed, and more concerned about unimportant details rather than if my kids or the guests were enjoying themselves.
Fast forward years later, many kids/learning experiences later, and I'm happy to say that I've learned many lessons that 1) allow me to continue to entertain because I truly love it and 2) do so with enjoyment, peace, and being fully present.
3 Ways to Still Throw an Awesome Party (When You're a Recovering Perfectionist)...
1. Decide THE most important aspect of the party and ENJOY putting all of your energy/work into that ONE aspect, and only that.
For my twins 7th birthday recently, I decided I would only focus my fullest energy on the tea party portion of the fairy party: their cakes, simple finger food, and simple decorations.
That meant enjoying putting my time and creative juices towards the table. Not on games. Not a clever "fairy craft". Not unnecessary decorations, unnecessary favors, or any other "distractions" away from my ONE most important work I chose.
So the twins' cakes (the most time consuming party prep) would take centerpiece to the table decor. Along with simple + free wild flowers, tree blossoms, and my beloved wooden disks turned into cake platters.
Simple + free.
I enjoyed putting all of my energy towards the table (i.e. fairy finger food, 2 cakes, light decorations, + one homemade favor--lace crowns).
Uncomplicated Fairy food:
Pixie Dust Popcorn (got the idea from Pinterest)
Vegetable + homemade ranch dip tray
Cheddar + Turkey skewers
Mom's famous cheese ball + crackers
When you are overcoming being a perfectionist, it is quite enjoyable to have one detail to really put your heart and work into. NO OTHER DISTRACTIONS or tasks to get your hands on.
You can make the details as special as you'd like based on your time and planning skills.
You can feel confident in your ONE aspect of the party prep because you can decide how detailed it is knowing that that is where all of your party energy is going. And to nothing else.
Which leads to number 2...
2. Delegate the "other" aspects of the party to others, specifically, your kids, a good friend, or spouse.
A tradition I have for throwing parties is really involving my kids.
-It takes the pressure off of me to "control" everything at the party--something a recovering perfectionist needs to consciously avoid
-Let's my kids rise to the occasion and get creative--and THEY can own it
-Gives me the deserved time to watch, participate, and ENJOY the other aspects of the party.
-It helps me practice "letting go" and knowing that things can still go great without me having to run the show, all the time.
During the twins' fairy party, I turned all of the serving of the fairy food to my oldest two daughters and their friend. They took on the role of fairy servers, carried out trays of finger foods, offered seconds, and took care of the fairies during their "tea".
The servers loved it! The little fairy guests loved it! And I could stand back and ENJOY. My work was finished. I could relax knowing someone else was confidently taking over.
My kids were also in charge of helping set up AND running the games.
My oldest daughter was given the job of making and running the "Pin the Crown on the Fairy" game. The guests had so much fun with her game she created! She made the poster, painted it, found the blindfold that morning, and RAN the game with 7 little fairies.
The other game, musical chairs, was run by a good friend. My husband's job of having "fairy music" ready was all set and so were the chairs. I watched the games for a bit and began preparing at the table for cutting the cake.
Relaxed. Fully present. And not running around.
3. Plan well, be PREPARED, and know that you will have to be FLEXIBLE with something. If you're prepared with that notion than you won't take yourself or the details of the party so seriously if something changes.
The more simple my parties are, the more PREPARED I am with those simple plans, the better my parties flow. And thankfully, because I focus on the ONE most important aspect of my party and delegate everything else, I handle mishaps, weather changes, etc., so much better.
Now that I have 5 things on my mind during a party instead of 150 I can easily problem solve and be FLEXIBLE in the moment when something arrises. It's an incredible change for me.
Being flexible because I'm not overwhelmed has made all the difference in how PRESENT I now am during parties.
The biggest lesson this recovering perfectionist has learned from throwing parties is to use my precious time before + during the party where it would be most meaningful for my family and friends. To know what "special" looks like to that person/group of people.
There will always be millions of ideas and parties on Pinterest that will make you feel less than adequate in the attempt to make every detail of your party "perfect" but none of that matters.
Memories, love, time, and living in the moment during these special occasions are what make YOUR party a sign of your love for the people you carefully plan them for.
Go out + live boldly!