A friend suggested to me a while ago we have a baby shower but the idea didn't really appeal to me. While I'm sure it's common in a lot of families, it's not in mine. Shane and I much preferred the idea to get everyone we love together for a BBQ, males included unlike the traditional female-only baby shower.
So about a month ago, we made a list of people we would like to invite. It was a fairly similar list to our wedding invite list, minus those from afar. Its already been nearly 2 years since our beautiful wedding in Rhonda and Hanno's backyard, and we haven't seen some of our friends since then.
As we are on a tight budget at the moment with the baby on the way, we haven't been using our phones other than the occasional sms message. I would normally have called people to invite them to the BBQ, but I decided it would be cheaper and easier to send out an invite over Facebook and a few emails. Facebook is annoying in a lot of ways but its also the main way I keep in touch with friends, so it has its purpose there.
So I set up the invite and emails about a month ago, thinking it would give everyone a decent amount of time to set aside the date in their diaries, and also to RSVP to me. Unfortunately, I have discovered, one problem with Facebook is that invites can came across as impersonal, and also a lot of people don't go on Facebook regularly and might not have seen the invite at all. I did get a few RSVP's, but as we are coming into winter here, a lot of people have sick kids at the moment and told me they couldn't make it, at the last minute. Note to self, best to keep outdoor BBQ's and parties to the warmer months! And also, I've realised its always better to personally call people to invite them to something, or send a good old fashioned paper invite the snail mail way. I used to love sending mail, and I do still send cards, but not nearly often enough. I miss that and will strive to send more paper mail. :-) The problem for me was I didn't get enough RSVP's to know how many to cater for. I find catering for an unknown number quite stressful- I'd have hated to not have enough food, yet cant stand excessive waste either.
Another aspect of this BBQ that I have learnt a valuable lesson from, was the venue decision. A long time ago I had visited the beautiful Roma St Parklands, in the middle of Brisbane's city, and really liked it. Lots of BBQ areas, tables, trees, beautiful gardens, waterfalls, etc. It seemed to me to be a great location for this particular BBQ, as it is central to the Gold Coast, where we live, and to the Sunshine Coast- where Shane's parents and quite a few of our friends live. So Brisbane seemed like a good half-way meeting point.
I hadn't been there in years, and we didn't have time to get there in the week leading up to the BBQ to scope out the venue. So I was relying on a map to work out where we might be able to meet everyone. I also found out that it's not possible to book a BBQ area- they work a "first in, best dressed" policy. So we had planned to go early, grab a table and wait for people to arrive. When we arrived at the garden I was lucky to get a table- it was filling up rapidly, being a warm sunny Sunday. I then realised it would be tricky to let people know exactly where we were, especially if they didn't have a map with them. Also, my phone battery was about to cark it so I wouldn't have been able to talk to everyone on the phone, to explain where we were...
Panic slowly crept in and I had one of my fairly regular pregnancy-hormone-induced-crying-like-a-crazy-woman fits, poor Shane and Shane's parents who were unlucky enough to be there already to witness it. But of course all were lovely to me and I got over it quickly, luckily. Because then miraculously, my family arrived, and then some of our closest and beloved friends arrived too! It wasn't the big crowd I had invited originally, but I was thankful in the end as I had time to talk to everyone, and it was just SUCH a lovely day.
It turned out to be a beautiful BBQ, a very special day for us. But I learnt several valuable lessons there on party organising- firstly, DON'T while pregnant (Haha :-)), secondly- make sure the invites are personal and people know they are very much wanted there and not just 'one of the crowd'- and lastly, KNOW the venue well.
I'm not a party planner by nature, I find it very stressful but I shouldn't- I need to relax and just go with the flow... because even though it seems like a nightmare for me leading up to it, I always absolutely love it when the party gets going! I know a lot of you will be fabulous party planners- please send me links to blog posts of yours if you have written about it, especially on "how to not stress about it"! I need to work on this as I just love hosting parties, I'm just not very good at it yet...
P.s I've just realised I've kind of missed the point of "Wordless Wednesday"s- apologies :-)