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When Good Events Go Bad...

How to handle unexpected complications and mishaps.

It never fails. You plan and prepare, make check lists, buy more than you need far in advance....and yet, something goes wrong.

  • The weatherman forecast a perfect day for your outdoor party, but you wake up to stormy weather.

  • Less than half of your reserved guests actually make it to the party.

  • The bakery loses your order, and none of the baked goods for your dessert table are ready for pick-up.

  • The double-sided tape for your photo booth isn't sticky enough.

These are just a sampling of the things that I've experienced in my decades of helping put parties together; the last of those just happening as recently as last Saturday.

When planning a party, I suggest you keep three things in mind...

1 - Always have a Plan B...

Okay, maybe not "always", but, figure out the aspects of your party that are your "must haves" and focus on having backup plans specifically for those details.

As an example, if you have an outdoor event planned, have a backup in case of inclement weather. Do you have enough room at your location to go indoors? Could you pick up a tent to provide shade and protection from rain?

Or, perhaps you simply MUST have catering from a specific restaurant. Call them the day before to ensure that they have your order ready to complete and that the details are correct for the day, time, quantities, and pick-up name.

Don't try to create a "Plan B" for every possible scenario, or you'll probably become so overwhelmed that something else will definitely fall through the cracks.

2 - Expect the Unexpected...

In one sense, this is exactly what you must do when preparing your back-up plans; you must ask yourself "How can this go wrong?", and then prepare yourself for those possibilities.

On the other hand, this also means accepting that you will not be able to anticipate every little thing that can (or will) go wrong. Referring back to my list of examples, I could not have foretold that only ten of my 25 RSVP'd guests would actually be in attendance, nor was there much I could have done to have changed that outcome. There wasn't much I could have done to have prevented the bakery from losing my order after I called to confirm the day before, either.

In those days, I still stressed myself out striving for 100% complete and utter perfection when it came to my parties, so such set-backs would make me miserable. That was when I finally came to learn the third trick of party planning...

3 - Go with the Flow...

When all is said and done and set-up is underway...go with the flow. At this point, you've done all you can do. If you have a backup plan, utilize it. If this happens to be a factor you did not plan a backup for, work it out as efficiently as possible and move on.

This may sound like horrible advice coming from a professional, but allow me to explain.

At a recent party, I was preparing a photo area (as I've done numerous times before), however, I purchased different double-sided tape than I usually do. Try as I might, the balloons simply would not stick using this tape so, I quickly realized I had some leftover ribbon and worked out a series of knots to hold the balloons onto the backdrop as I had intended.

Did the photo area look exactly as I had originally intended it to? No, it didn't.

Did the guests know that? Did the hostess notice anything amiss? No, and no.

What's more, I know I did my very best in that situation, so I no longer beat myself up for what I used to deem as "imperfections" and now, I make the most of the experience and learn from it.

After all, aren't parties supposed to be about joy, laughter, togetherness and everlasting memories? I'm as much a fan of pomp and circumstance as the next guy but, when it gets down to it...if you're not enjoying your party, YOU'RE NOT DOING IT RIGHT!

So, remember:

  1. Have a backup plan for the party details that are most important to you;

  2. Expect the unexpected; then

  3. Do your best, and go with the flow!

Now go out there, plan your next party, and don't forget to contact Events With A Twist for your entertainment and decorating needs!

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