Tying the Knot in a Meaningful and Memorable Way (Without Losing Our Savings or Sanity)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Not Getting Stressed Out by the Details

Ah. Life is finally starting to settle down in our humble abode.

Right after our wedding in July, we packed up our entire house (well, we did most of the packing before the wedding) and trekked from Denver to Houston to buy a house.

Then there were the mere three days of unpacking before our new jobs started.

Then there was the hurricane and the loss of power and internet for two weeks. And the two-hour lines at the gas stations.

And then our dog got hit by a car.

So, last night was our first real chance to throw a dinner party. Finally!

We love bringing together friends (and in this case neighbors-who-will-soon-be-friends) to deepen connection and build community. It's depressing, really, that we haven't been able to do it sooner.

Because it was our first event since the wedding, it gave me a chance to compare the wedding planning process to the dinner planning process.

Of course a wedding is not the same as a dinner party. Your friends and family often expend a lot of time and money to attend a wedding. And a wedding has the whole added dimension (and an important one at that!) of the public declaration of commitment.

But couples-to-be usually spend the bulk of their planning time on the dinner party elements of the wedding experience.

But somehow, planning a wedding often ends up being really really stressful, while throwing a dinner party isn't usually that stressful.

Matt and I ran through the grocery store (the hectic pace was to ensure that I made it to yoga on time), grabbing materials for guacamole, real mac-n-cheese, and our favorite chocolate cherry with ice-cream dessert (it was a potluck, so the rest was up to the guests).

I made it to yoga and decompressed for a nice solid hour. By the time I got home, we had an hour and fifteen minutes to make the macaroni and cheese, bake the chocolate cherry dessert, and pull together the guacamole. We also had to set up our portable table for more space (which I quickly covered with a pretty sheet since I used our real tablecloth for fabric a while back), set up the drink station (which I decided to beautify with a piece of fabric left over from the porch swing project), clean the house, set up the porch with chairs and music, and change out of my yoga clothes.

I realized we forgot to buy name tags and quickly solved the dilemma by cutting up some sticker paper I found in our craft basket. Voila! We we ready by the time the first guest arrived.

I think some of the difference between planning a dinner party and planning a wedding is the pressure we put on ourselves (and receive from the Wedding Industrial Complex, our friends and family, and society at large). Every little thing feels big when you're trying to plan the perfect day.

When you're planning a dinner party and just trying to pull together a fun event, it's easier to remember that the the little things really are little. It's not really a big deal. It's easier to maintain perspective about what is important and what's not.

Our guests seemed to have a wonderful time. They met new people (people they've lived alongside for years), socialized, smiled, laughed, drank good wine and ate a variety of tasty foods (from vegetarian chili to Swedish meatballs to homemade sugar cookies).

If you focus on the bigger, more important details of your wedding, your guests will absolutely have a good time. And, if you try to stay focused on the bigger, more important details, you won't be as stressed out and you'll be more likely to have a good time, too!

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