It’s hard to believe, but my husband and I were both born in the 70s, 1978 to be exact. If you do the math, you know what this year holds for both of us. While my numbers won’t turn for several more months (I’m remaining in 30s bliss as long as I can), I had the opportunity to plan an epic party for my husband earlier this year. Only there were some major obstacles. Parties, in particular large parties stress me out. Planning parties that stress me out stress me out even more. But, as my husband is an attention-loving extrovert, I knew a well-thought out, big party was a way to show him how much he was loved. However, in the process, I knew I had to get over myself and my fears of large parties and planning large events.
Over the years I have watched my husband co-found and lead a very successful drug and alcohol rehabilitation center, called Set Free Alaska. He is a phenomenal leader. I think without realizing it, I was taking notes all the while. Because, something he does really well, and one reason Set Free is so successful is he delegates and releases his staff to do what they are gifted in. Micro-managing is not his style. He recognizes the strengths in others (which very well may not be his own strengths) and uses them to build a great team. All the while, he has been imparting the heartbeat and culture of the organization so that unity in operations is withheld in every decision and operation.
So as I thought about planning a big, classy 40th birthday party for my husband, I implemented his leading model in my party-planning strategy. I had done this while leading events, like retreats at our church, but would still be stressed out for other things, like birthday parties. I decided in order to do this party well, I would give my vision for the event, do what brings me life and what is easy for me, and then delegate the rest to people who are good at those things and enjoy them. It seems so simple, and yet, I can think of so many events and things in life where I was completely stressed out doing things that were out of my element, all for the sake of not wanting to bother other people or getting things exactly how I wanted it. Sounds like a ball of fun, right?
Here are a couple of questions to ask yourself as you lead or plan an event:
When it comes to a specific event, or leading, what brings me life and joy? (It may be different leading a retreat say than planning a big birthday or anniversary party).
For me, in the context of this party, I knew that was mainly one thing. Décor. I love decorating! I love coming up with creative out of the box themes and setting an underlying ambiance and mood sometimes without people even noticing it. We’re talking, no balloons or streamers here.
What stresses and freaks me out about leading or planning an event?
For me, in the context of this party, I realized this was a lot. The invitations (the masses of people, ha), the food (cooking makes me grumpy, true story), entertainment (yeah, not even gonna go there), researching and planning a venue (it’s just all overwhelming to me).
So, rather than doing a grandiose party all on my own and being stressed out and miserable for me and my family for weeks. I delegated all the things that I knew would stress me out. And you know what??!! It worked! I told the other ladies helping me (our moms and a dear family friend) that I envisioned a classy event with good food, and it turned out amazing.
The evening was wonderful, even as an introvert with about 40 people in my home, I knew it was everything it should have been to celebrate and honor my husband. It was beautiful (in a masculine sort of way), it was intimate with sharing the depths of relationship, we had amazing food (from sausage stuffed mushrooms to bacon wrapped dates, and the me-made desserts), and it was fun all around (thanks to my brother’s poetry skills).
I did what I do best. I set the ambiance and tone with the table décor. My husband is a bit infatuated with the look of an English library, so that was my inspiration. I found the black and white striped ribbon (I used double sided Scotch tape to adhere it to the tablecloth) and little flower bouquet at Michael and the rest were all hodgepodge of thrifted items I had.
In the entryway I set up this vignette. I dry brushed a thrifted frame with some antique gold acrylic paint and then used black foam board to create a quick and easy chalkboard!
I used the assets of our beautiful home to accentuate the décor. Perhaps no one noticed this, but the black and white and silver tied in with the ever-evolving built ins, showcasing all things black, white, silver and old books. It’s hard to find masculine party themes that don’t center around drinking or sports. But my friends, here is inspiration, it can be done!
I encourage you, next time something is on the horizon that is daunting or stressing you out. Look at it with the opportunity to use your strengths and the strengths of others around you.
It may not look 100% how you pictured it, but it may just be better. And you will be better for it, able to enjoy the process and the product all the more.
Once again, thanks for stopping,