First, a debutante ball at the Plaza...
Two weekends later in Charleston: an over-the-top four day birthday party! Guests flew in from Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago, Texas, Arkansa, Alabama, New York; in other words, everywhere, because everyone loves the birthday girl. She defines Girl Power. A four day party means guests make a commitment of time, energy, dress, and money but the rewards can be life-changing — making new friends, connecting with old ones, witnessing new ways of partying, and having four days of fierce, fabulous fun.
Party One: Thursday was the kick-off at a restaurant with swinging jazz band and three long tables for dinner. We got to know each other with the warmest welcome possible by birthday girl and husband. The vibe was very — We’ve got all weekend! An important element of any party is looking forward, but when the looking forward part starts on night one of four, that’s extra special.
Party Two: Friday night was a party split in half. A bifurcated party is brilliant, a superior & innovative way to force the maximum number of people to connect. The party was zoned for men outside by the pool, women inside the house. The birthday girls instructions were, “Ladies, tell a little about yourselves, what you do, and be brief.” 40 women opened up and we listened intently. In less than four hours, fortified with food and cocktails, we had spilled our secrets and shared our souls, cheered on by cheerleader in charge, the birthday girl herself.
Party Three: During the day, we took boat rides for a look at our beautiful city from the water. Then we all went to change in accordance with night time directions to wear white for a dance at the house. The party was around the pool, the band at one end, the bar at the other, line dancing all around. And the real tear jerker? When a guest took the mike and proposed to his love...
(My only regret was that I left too early. Why did I do that?)
Party Four: On Sunday morning, we went to a gospel brunch at new Charleston restaurant Blue Note. Now the focus shifted to the men since this was also Father’s Day. Goodbye’s were said, selfies taken, plans made for next meetings.
What all these different parties had in common were hosts who are masters at making unforgettable events, connections, celebrations, and making sure everyone around them feels welcome & joyful. My take away? I have the greatest friends in the world and it is never too late to add more deep friendships to a life. In fact, you must. It’s what makes life worth living.
Fancy parties and comfort food go together. The food brings the fanciness down a few notches and gives people a feeling of social ease.
Document your parties, but not with cell phones! If guests are taking photos, they are not enjoying the minute-by-minute fun that is happening all around. Hire a photographer (or even a niece) because we all know the photos bring pleasure for the rest of our lives.
Mix ages, professions, styles — just mix! More brains working together make smarter decisions; more personalities at parties mean extra energy, excitement, entertainment...
Follow your instincts & be bold. There is no reason not to follow your heart, honor your creativity, and explore new ideas.
Three or four days is a super party plan; a commitment, sure, but a life memory. A several days-long party is a gift of joy spread out over time, with opportunity to make real conversations, new friends, enjoy a mini vacation. In addition, there is the built-in anticipation…
Often overlooked but equally important as the anticipation beforehand are the memories afterwards. To maximize the before and after impact, send invitations (way ahead for more days of something delightful to look forward to) and then send photos afterwards, even in a holiday card months later!
At a four day party, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask guests to pick up their own checks when ordering from a restaurant menu. In fact, it’s a good idea. At the four day birthday bash guests paid their own tabs at the bookend events, Thursday night and Sunday brunch. Friday and Saturday were held at the host’s house so everything there was covered, of course.