Monday, August 11, 2014

A Dream Party How To

The Antonia room at Casa Munras hotel in Monterey
was the venue for last month's birthday dinner  

How to throw yourself a dream party for a milestone birthday or other major celebration?  Surely, each of us envisions a slightly different dream, but here’s how I visualized mine and created a real life version of this vision last month...

Consider your guest list and venue options.  In my situation, I needed to be cautious about my expenses, so I decided on a “girls only” gathering to limit the number of guests which allowed me to host the party at one of my favorite venues. 

Find a venue with a “feel good” ambience in which you are comfortable, relaxed and happy.  For me, it was the private dining room at a local hotel with a fireplace, plenty of windows and natural light and doors opening out to a patio.  I had enjoyed meetings and another 50th birthday party for a dear friend in this space.

Create a gathering filled with camaraderie.  A longtime dream of mine had been to gather together several women from different chapters of my life, a gathering I was certain would generate the comfortable, uplifting energy of sisterhood.

Choose activities or entertainment for your party that you and your guests will find inspiring and enjoyable.  Consider sharing one of your passions if you think it will be of interest to your guests.  For a yearly “girls weekend” tradition with a circle of local friends, I’m usually the coordinator of what we fondly call a bonding activity, so planning a similar sort of bonding activity for last month's party was my immediate thought.  With this idea in mind, I scheduled an afternoon SoulCollage® (one of my greatest passions!) workshop, and to guide our group, I hired a fellow facilitator and new friend I met during training earlier this year.  Guests were encouraged to “Celebrate Your Inner Party Girl,” celebrating a part of themselves that spontaneously came to mind.  It was an opportunity to share this creative, intuitive, insightful process that has been so powerful and beneficial in my own life.

Setting up for our SoulCollage(R) workshop
Whether it's an overall theme or simply an influence on the décor and mood you wish to create for your party, incorporate some of your favorites.  As shared in my previous posts, the "palette" for last month's celebration was inspired by my love for the sea.  I also wore a sea glass pendant during the afternoon's festivities.  The hotel provided centerpieces of floating roses from their own garden, and I was reminded of my newfound appreciation for these beautiful flowers, their sculptural petals, luminous colors and lovely fragrance. 

Sprinkle lightheartedness throughout your party alongside the deeply meaningful moments.  My “sprinkles” were humorous photos included in my laptop slide show, bringing my childhood stuffed panda, Angela, as a guest of honor, serving sangria during SoulCollage® and indulging in a just-for-fun wardrobe change between collaging and dining (as encouraged by my husband and daughter because I found very inexpensive outfits to wear!)  Tears of joy, gratitude and love flowed as freely as laughter and smiles.

Set the framework for your party and make adjustments as needed during the planning process, then let go, jump into the flow and just enjoy being in the moment on event day.  Because I settled on a "big girls only" celebration, I was concerned about excluding my dad, husband and daughter, so the best solution was to invite them to join us at dinnertime.      

Wrap your entire celebration in love, and fully immerse yourself in this love and the emotions and energies of the day.  Focusing on the immensity of love surrounding and infusing last month’s party was an amazing experience, one which will resonate within me in the days, months and years ahead.     

If you’re concerned that hosting a dream party would be frivolous, consider the possibility that instead of creating frivolity, you'll be creating a long lasting gift of wonderfully heartfelt memories for yourself and your guests.

How do you imagine your dream party?!