Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Party fit for a princess

If you ask me, birthdays are a big deal. Until I had kids, my birthday was my favorite day. Now my favorite day is celebrating and reminiscing about the day of my children’s birth.  Since Lily was born each year has been celebrated with elaborate parties. I laugh at myself when I think about her first birthday party. At age one I hosted the event at a bounce house place and invited all of our family and close friends. Her theme was hearts and her cupcakes looked like ice-cream cones with icing whipped way high in pink and white.

Age two I decided to go cheap and hosted her party at Chick-Fil-A. Her theme that year was Dora the Explorer and the kids and parents all said it was one of the best kid parties they had attended.

When Lily turned three we decided to have a big party and invite her entire class which was about 20 kids.  I planned Lily’s party months in advance. I ordered pre-printed invitations, bought her a special outfit to wear- complete with bows, and created special candy party favors for each child attending.

Lily turned four this past February and my husband and I decided that in lieu of a party we would take a family trip to Disneyland where Lily could meet her idols, the Disney princesses. As Lily’s birthday approached, I could NOT get her to understand that she was not having a party with her friends. At the last hour (okay, okay, two weeks before feels like the last hour for me) my husband and I decided to host a princess tea for Lily and her classmates in our home.

This party was funny on multiple fronts. For one, I had always said I wouldn’t host a kid party in my home and two; this was my attempt to be economical since we continued on with our plans to go to Disneyland- haha! To say I went a little overboard with Lily’s tea party would be an understatement. I cleared out my entire formal dining room. I covered the walls in princess castle wallscapes, I rented miniature tables and chairs complete with formal linen covers and miniature china tea sets.

My husband and I spent hours every night after the kids went to bed making tissue paper pompoms. We made ten total all in shades of pink which hung from the ceiling.  At the party I served tea sandwiches, crudités, cupcakes and tea cookies as well as pink punch and iced cinnamon apple tea.

At this point I should remind you, this was my daughter's FOURTH birthday, not sixteenth.  The party was fit for a princess and my daughter and her school friends all had a wonderful time.

I have to admit that I love planning and executing a good party but there’s one thing that I don’t enjoy that comes along with party hosting: party etiquette or the lack thereof.  I was raised to RSVP if the invitee requests it. I’m amazed at the people that simply don’t respond and I’m stunned at the people who don’t respond and then show up anyway.  I’m also not in tuned to etiquette when it comes to siblings.   In my opinion when you host a party you place the name of those invited on the invitation envelope. If your invite says Betsy then only Betsy is invited. If it says Betsy and family then you all attend. This can lead to social awkwardness. The host might have to pay per person at your party venue. There may not be enough space or seating or party favors or enough food for heaven’s sake.  I appreciate the parent who calls and asks if she can bring the sibling, at least she asked and at least I can plan for that.  Last but not least, thank you cards. I was raised to send a thank you card and if my child receives a gift from you, you should get one.

Okay, I’ll get off my soap box now; I have a party to plan.

Mindy Seals works in the information technology division at Texas Health Resources and is balancing work, married life and raising two kids.

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