I think we've all been there. You have guests coming to your home in a matter of hours, and there's just one or two more things you want to cross of your list before they arrive. With DIYers, this sickness seems to be magnified. It's not just the "we need to vacuum" or "we need to run out to the store for ice." In our house at least, it tends to be items on our checklist like "we need to finish tiling the front vestibule" or "we need to landscape the backyard" all in a matter of a few hours.

Take this weekend for instance. Alex was sweet enough to once again agree to host a small get together to celebrate my birthday. Nothing fancy, just a few close neighbors coming over to hang out in the backyard, have a glass or two of wine, and enjoy the evening. On paper -- piece of cake. In reality -- it always causes me an inordinate amount of stress. 

I'm a total control freak, and when I entertain, I have every last detail planned out. I have my menu done days, if not weeks in advance, and I even go as far as to pre-set my table with my serving pieces, noting with post its where I'll set each dish. I color coordinate. I develop themes. In essence, I usually go way over the top, to a fault.

Here's a visual of the table I set for a small Valentine's Day dinner party I threw earlier this year. Yep, those are handmade paper cutouts of hearts hanging from the chandelier. Someone please stop me.

But this weekend Alex was in charge. Only six hours before guests were due to arrive, we had no menu. Not enough beer. And a backyard in desperate need of planting, mulching, watering and sweeping. So we set off for a frenzied trip to Target, Lowes, and Trader Joes to pick up the essentials. Here's a snapshot of our Target shopping cart, filled with our party essentials. Now at t-minus 5 hours until guests arrive.

Then over to Lowes for the backyard beautification items, including several bags of dirt and mulch that we needed to spread around the beds. T-minus 4.5 hours.

Then we quickly jetted to Trader Joe's for the final ingredients for a few recipes. Note to all: don't attempt to do a quick run through on Saturday afternoons. It's a mad house! T-minus 3.5 hours.

We arrived home with the car bursting at the seams, unloaded as quickly as we could, and then jumped to work, both inside and out.

I started out working in the garden mulching the beds and planting our herbs, but soon moved inside to start party prep. 

While Alex was outside working in the backyard, I was inside working on appetizers, cupcakes, and a toasted walnut, swiss cheese, and strawberry salad. T-minus 2.5 hours until guests arrive.

Alex was getting the yard into shape, but I swear it was looking worse each time I looked outside. T-minus 2 hours until party time.

Crunch time. I was inside decorating cupcakes, arranging food, and figuring out which drinks to serve.

And Alex was outside wrapping up the garden and setting up the table. Things were starting to fall into place, but it was all very last minute. Oh, and in true Alex fashion, 30 minutes before guests were due to arrive, he still hasn't showered. 

Somehow, we got it all done. While frantic and chaotic, everything on our list was actually completed. By the time the guests arrived, the food was out, drinks were ready to be served, and the yard looked great! However, this only means that the next time we entertain, we'll probably still leave things to the last minute once again.

All in all, we had a wonderful weekend, and our guests seemed to enjoy themselves. Are we the only crazy people out there that make frantic preparations before a party? Is anyone else trying to squeeze weekend-long projects into a few hours? Is this just poor planning? Preferred approach? Let us know what your process is.

Comments 8


5/2/2011 at 3:27 PM
My house is never cleaner than before a party. I also like to plan the menu days or weeks in advance. I'll even food prep the night before, if possible. The cleaning does tend to get done right before and I always tend to think of one more thing that I want to add like an hour before the party.
5/2/2011 at 7:34 PM
we all do it, and now there's a name. wendy's law.
I do like the idea of calling it Wendy's Law. I'm sure we'll be using it often during the run up to most of our entertaining related endeavors.
5/4/2011 at 3:39 PM
Loving your new site! The worst one was when Nick decided we should retile the bathroom at the lake house before everyone got there. Somehow in demoing the tile he smashed the toilet. The thought of 15 people and no toilet made us fly to HD so fast! I think Nick and Nash spent the weekend finishing the tile! Glad this isn't just our house.
Thanks Courtney! Oh my gosh, that sounds like an absolute nightmare, but I'm happy to hear you were able to get the facilities back in working order. That would have been a party to remember. :-) So glad we're not the only crazy people that equate guests with demolition!
Nicole Hayes
5/18/2011 at 2:26 AM
love reading these!
Old Town Home
5/18/2011 at 2:26 AM
Thanks Nicole! We're thrilled to know that someone is not only reading our posts, but also enjoying them. :-)
Katie Sawyer Boyle
5/18/2011 at 2:26 AM
note: wendy bakes her own birthday cupcakes. speaking of, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
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