When I told you that I was hosting a game party this weekend, some of you asked for details. This is that post. (If you're not interested in all the details, feel free to click away! My feelings won't be hurt! Remember, my response to requests for details usually leans toward TMI. )
In early February, I had talked with a few friends about getting together to play games, but so many Friday nights were already filled for one or another of us that we looked ahead to March.
I chose March 21, the first full day of spring, and decided to let SPRING be our theme. I went to PicMonkey to design a simple invitation and sent it out to my guests via a Facebook group message. I suppose that is a very "21st century" way of inviting. Do you prefer a traditional handwritten invitation, or does an e-invite suffice?
Of course, I did not even notice until this afternoon that I had a typo in the invite! "Diinner?" Really? Yikes!
As the day of the party drew nearer, I got a wee bit nervous. One thing that I have learned about hospitality is that it is easier the more you do it...and it had been a while since I had hosted a party for anyone other than family. So I kept reminding myself of the things that I had written in my 31-day series on hospitality. Things like this...
We must open our homes, and our lives, not to impress, but to bless.
If my intention is to impress, then I will fret over the menu and worry that I am not a fabulous cook.
If my intention is to impress, then I won't be able to invite them over until I get new living room furniture or have my carpet cleaned or move into a bigger house or have a collection of matching dishes.
If my intention is to impress, then I must wait until my schedule allows plenty of time to make my house perfectly clean and I must wait until my children are older and there are no messes.
But if my purpose for hospitality is to bless...oh my, well that sheds some new light on it, doesn't it?
If my intention is to bless, then I will be more concerned with making my guests feel welcome than with an appearance of perfection.
If my intention is to bless, then why would I worry if my toddler spills his milk or there are a few toys in the kitchen floor?
If my intention is to bless, then I will swallow my pride, ignore my worn furniture, and open my doors.
If my intention is to bless, then I will take the time to reach out, even in small ways, to make someone feel wanted and loved.
By the day of the party, I was in party mode, excited to spend the day preparing for my guests, and looking forward to an evening of fellowship!
Decorations were simple. (Almost.) Since "spring" was the theme, I sprang off the invite design and went with a green and pink color scheme. I've been on a tulip kick, so I purchased a bunch of variegated pink tulips for a table centerpiece. I put them in a large mason jar and the tied jar with some pink jute.
|photo by Bekah|
stole Kati's asked Kati if I could use her sweet little bird salt and pepper shakers for an extra spring touch on the table.
|photo by Kati|
I had planned to use some bright green paper napkins, but when we were setting the table, I kept feeling "pink." And then I decided that I needed to have some flowers to decorate the island (which is where we were placing the hors d'oeuvres), so Kati and I dashed off to the grocery store to make some last minute purchases. We quickly found some potted pink tulips for the island, but the store did not have any pink napkins. We went to two nearby pharmacies to hunt for pink napkins in their party goods departments. No luck. Home we came, resigned to use the green napkins. Then Bekah went to my linen cabinet and came out with a package of...yep, pink napkins. Sheesh.
|photo by Kati|
|photo by Bekah|
One of my challenges for this particular party was meeting a wide variety of dietary needs! "Indecision about the menu" is one of my recurring challenges to hospitality, but this one really had me stumped. I have Kati who is on a strictly fat-free regimen pre-surgery. Another guest is also pre-surgery and is totally changing her eating habits. Another gal is doing a month of Whole30, and another has already done the Whole30 and is eating very healthy and natural.
Hospitality is all about blessing and serving others, so I set out to find a way to have beautiful and yummy food to serve that would also meet the varied dietary requirements.
Appetizers. Since appetizers are optional, I used a little leeway here. I served baguette slices and the bacon jam that I had made earlier this week. We also had butterfly crackers and cream cheese and Red Onion, Lemon, and Caper Marmalade. If you're thinking that the marmalade sounds like an odd combination of flavors, let me assure you that the ladies raved about it more than the bacon jam! (Check out Potlicker Kitchen for an assortment of artisan jams and jellies.)
|photo by Bekah|
Main course. A salad bar! The perfect way to accomodate everyone! We set up a bowl of organic mixed greens and another of organic spinach. Then we had small bowls of salad fixin's. Tomatoes, cucumbers, broccoli. Sliced red onion, mushrooms, chick peas, black olives. Carrots, red pepper, shredded Parmesan, crumbled feta. Fat-free and regular croutons, bacon bits, sunflower seeds. A variety of dressings. Everyone found goodies to fill their plates!
Dessert. Again, variety was the key. I made a pound cake (no diet food there). One of my friends brought a large bowl of beautiful sliced fruit. We had fresh whipped cream and fat-free Cool Whip. Each lady could choose to eat cake or fruit or both, with or without topping.
Although the guests all know one another and keeping the conversation flowing is not an issue ~smile~, I decided to direct the conversation during dinner. I asked everyone to share something that they were looking forward to this spring. It was lots of fun to hear each lady's answer (gardening, new job, daughter's college graduation, running a half marathon, and so on). We all learned more about each other, and it was a good way to offer opportunity for the quieter guests to have the floor for a turn.
After dinner, we had dessert and coffee or tea. (We decided that games could wait until after dessert. You know the saying, "Life is uncertain; eat dessert first.")
It was such an enjoyable evening! Every time we host a gathering, we wonder why we don't do it more often.
Hospitality is worth overcoming all of the challenges.