Thursday, October 1, 2015

Take My Advice: Don't Throw Long-Distance Parties

Back in June, I threw a bridal shower for my sister. In my head, it was going to be perfect! I had made a big grocery list and had asked my dad to pick up ingredients. I was going to make a beautiful brunch spread, with baked brie and hash browns and fruit dip and blintzes. I would have plenty of time, since I was flying in at a reasonable time the night before!

So why on earth did my dad and I end up at Panera Bread 45 minutes before the start of the shower?

I was all set to arrive in Texas around 8 p.m. We were at cruising altitude, we would be landing in Dallas in about 20 minutes when the pilot announced that DFW airport was not accepting any flights due to a lightining storm. Instead we would be re-routed to Houston, and would head to Dallas when it was safe to do so.

(As a fun little aside, I should probably add that at the time, I hadn't seen Matt in about a week. He was in Dallas for a conference, and I had stayed in Virginia. I texted him to let him know I was going to Houston. Turns out he was at the same Houston airport waiting for his own connection! And I couldn't even get off the plane to say hi!)

Anyway, so by the time I landed in Dallas and managed to get to a different terminal so that I could get transportation out of the airport, it was 10:30 or 11 at night. Too late to do much besides mix fruit dip and prep things for the next morning.

So the morning of the shower, I delegated like a champ. I had my mom on the blintzes station, Rachel making deviled eggs, and I got the brie and fruit and hash browns going. When there was a spare 10 minutes, I took the world's fastest shower and got dressed, only to come downstairs and realize that I had forgotten to put the brie in a ramekin, and so it had melted all over the baking sheet. The crepes for the blintzes were sticking to the pan and tearing, so we couldn't put filling in them. The hash browns were not frying up like they were supposed to. We were going to have no food at this shower, besides the croissants and pies my dad had picked up at Costco! (But thankfully, I guess, there would be mimosas, so maybe people would forget their hunger?)

He said we should suck it up and order some pizzas, but the invitations had said it was going to be an elegant brunch, and I'm stubborn. So we rushed out to Panera Bread, leaving the kitchen a disaster, and ordered a whole bunch of breakfast sandwiches sliced into quarters. We arrived at my aunt's house — with the few remaining food items we'd been able to make work — with barely any time to set up, but my aunt and cousin are awesome and helped me get everything done at the absolute eleventh hour.

The mimosas helped too.

And the party was really fun! No one was the wiser about the disastrous morning. Because Rachel and her friends studied fashion design in school, we played the toilet-paper wedding dress game, and I had asked her fiancé some cute questions about their relationship so we could play the Newlywed Game. I got to see a lot of family members whom I don't see often enough, and had a great time.

Yes, this is what my aunt's house looks like all year round. Complete with terrifying Christmas butler statue.

In my thank-you card, Rachel told me it was perfect just the way it was. :)

But I've learned my lesson. Next time I throw a party, I'm having it catered!

What are some lessons you've learned while party planning?

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