When you haven’t seen your sister for ten months, and then you have an opportunity to be together for a few days, you want to keep things low-key and also fully celebrational. Fully love by actively ignoring any stressy feels. When they pop up, tell them, “Hi. It’s good to see you but I’m a little busy right now. I’d love to meet up with you when I’m finished.” And in this you wait them out because stressy feels are very impatient and often run along to something else rather quickly. You love the people that she loves, you always offer another cup of coffee, and you try not to be stingy with your time.
When your sister, who you haven’t seen in ten months, is due to have a child soon, you throw her a party because as much as you celebrate this little guy, you want to offer the chance for others to ooh and ahh over his life, too. You want to make sure that you don’t get too plan-y about it the way you always do in a way that can tend to suck the fun out of it. You have to plan around your obsessive nature to over-plan about these things. It’s almost silly, right?
If I may toot my own horn just a tiny bit about the whole thing, I threw a lovely baby shower. Here’s the reason that I feel comfortable bragging on myself about it—it’s all a little tongue-in-cheek because I truly didn’t do much at all. That was the beauty of it all.
Allow me to offer you insight on how to throw a low-stress party. Now, I can’t promise that this will always work for you the way it did for me but, you know, thoughts and prayers and the whole nine. There are three main steps that I created and followed when creating this event.
Find a location: Because most of the people that we were inviting to the shower were all from the same nearby town, I decided that I wouldn’t make anyone drive to my house for the event. Not having this in my home probably cut the stress levels by about 70%, to be honest.
One of the most gorgeous spaces in Hutchinson, KS is Bluebird Books on South Main Street and I knew they had a back room with chairs and tables that would make a super fun, come-and-go vibe. So this was the first place that I wanted to check out—numero uno on my list. I was willing to spend some money but I didn’t want to blow my whole budget on a location—after all, we would need decorations, food and presents, too! Well… without getting too brass tacks about it, suffice it to say that the room rental for what we needed was well below budget. Because of that, I decided to keep all of our business in the store. Not only did this keep things super easy on my end, but I got to use my dollars to support a very cool, local, woman owned business. Also, because this place is so beautifully designed and decorated, there was no way I could have possibly added decorations.
There’s a café attached to Bluebird that we used to take care of our treats. We weren’t planning on too many people so we asked for two different things that didn’t involve any plates or forks—lemon bars (my personal favorite) and these luxe peanut butter brownie bars covered in chocolate. I also ordered coffee and water for everyone to drink. Melanie went above and beyond—she made up a lovely table for the treats and beverages and was super easy to work with.
Send out some low-key invitations: Look, low key doesn’t mean that they have to be lame. I discovered this very cool site called Paperless Press and I was able to send out the most gorgeous e-invitations! Because of the design that I chose, I did have to pay about $6 but you can easily send out some incredible invites completely free. This site is also great because it makes it easy to link a gift registry, manages your RSVP list, and lets guests leave comments on the wall. It also prompted you to send out and RSVP reminder if you wanted to. It was all around very helpful!
I don’t get paid for you clicking on that link or anything—I just really liked it. I’m sure that there are other places that send inexpensive e-vites, too. I have a friend who used Minted for her e-vites and has always had some really good ones.
And thirdly and most importantly, do your very best to mind your own business: this is hard for me because I’m a natural born peacekeeper and a helper. I make everyone’s business my business and if someone isn’t having the time of their very life, I make that my responsibility. But it’s not my responsibility. If there’s guest drama. If someone wishes we had different snacks. If someone looks a little bit bored… these things are not me-problems. One of the greatest and most lasting things that therapy has taught me is that other people’s feelings are not my responsibility. So while peacekeeping and helping are my default states—those personality attributes can sometimes suck the fun out of events for me. Even events that I’m simply attending. I want everyone to have a full drink and not a care in the world. But I can really only help with half of that. Accepting this and laying down the idea of perfection in every area is key to not only enjoying yourself but putting out a calm-vibe to everyone else in attendance.
Like I said, it was very simple and low-key but it still felt so, so special. I really believe that things can be easy and special at the same time. It takes just as much energy to craft an ordinary email as it does to enter in the details of a beautiful e-vite, for example. In the same way, it takes just as much effort to make a box of macaroni and cheese as it does to make rigatoni and pesto—it looks a little bit fancier, it feels a little more special, but it’s just as easy. This is something that I love to keep in mind when I want something to be exceptional but I don’t really have the time or energy to go nuts.
What are some areas where you make a point to act efficiently while still keeping things just a little extra?