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Does anyone else get this stressed out hosting party/bbq?

(18 Posts)
notamumyetbutoneday Fri 21-Aug-09 09:17:58

We are having our first bbq tomorrow- about 25 people.

Everyone keeps saying to me how I should just relax and enjoy the day but I am just so caught up in the planning of organisation of it all and I know tomorrow when everyone is there i will be running around making sure everyone has drinks etc instead of enjoying myself. DH will be doing the cooking etc so I don't need to worry about that, I just can't stop worrying about whether there will be enough food, whether people will enjoy themselves, etc.

Is it just me? Other friends seem to take this kind of thing totally in their stride whereas I have thought about nothing else for the last 2 weeks sad.

How do you all balance being a good hostess against not driving yourself crazy and actually enjoying yourself at your own party?

lljkk Fri 21-Aug-09 09:56:24

My mother used to have screaming fits at us kids -- she wanted more help from us -- when she was preparing for a party. The actual party I usually spent being bored by the adult drunks or having to stand by the door handing out nametags. Until I was 12 I honestly thought a party was the worst experience in the world (I didn't ever get invited to friends' parties).

A) you aren't alone in getting stressed, and
B) if you aren't making your children miserable in the process, you are doing better than some.

notamumyetbutoneday Fri 21-Aug-09 09:59:58

llijk- thats just it . i am sure I get this from my mother who is EXACTLY as you describe your own. I can see it happening with me and already see the effect its having on me and DH (no kids yet) and i really want to stop this before I turn into my mother go insane.

out of interest llijk if you have parties do you find yourself repeating the same patterns or if you have managed to avoid this, how did you do it?

stubbyfingers Fri 21-Aug-09 10:03:18

I get kind of stressed hosting these things, but it's only because I really want people to have enjoyed themselves so I'm working overtime making mental lists of how to make it work. Sound familiar?

I really want my guests to feel comfortable and well fed and watered etc so I think it's nice to make sure people always have a drink, that the music is right and that the mess is cleared up as we go along etc etc. I really think it just comes with the territory of hosting.

notamumyetbutoneday Fri 21-Aug-09 10:08:39

"Working overtime making mental lists"- Oh this is ringing so many bells!

Good to know Im not alone. DH has been so worried about me these last few days I have started to worry that Im a bit of a freak TBH.

randomtask Fri 21-Aug-09 10:10:40


I used to get stressed out by parties etc but have learnt the following:

1. Do as much as you can in advance-I've been known to prepare things then leave them in the fridge on baking trays/greaseproof paper/in tubs so they just need chucking in the oven/putting in a bowl. This means there's less last minute panic.

2. The simplest food is often the food people tell you is the nicest-I used to worry about doing 'posh' or 'impressive looking' food. Hated the stress, had migraines by the time people arrived, often they didn't eat it and I wondered why I bothered. Now I make simpler things that people like.

3. Put out a table with drinks on-yes offer people drinks, yes be the 'hostest' but if there's a table there and someone is thirsty (and you're stuck talking to someone) they will help themselves as they know you won't be insulted.

4. You always over cater as people always eat less 'out' than they would at home. I make sure I have food I can eat for lunch for the next few days. And have a little 'back up supply' in the fridge. You only learn from experience how much you need. Each time I have a party, I have less food left over.

5. If you are relaxed, so are your guests. If you rush around worrying if people have got drinks, if so and so can eat whatever you've made, etc, your guests feel rushed too. If you sit back with (even faking) a relaxed air, your guests will be relaxed.

6. Write a list of what needs doing and what food there is. I work from my list as otherwise I find food after the party that I forgot to put out.

7. All this comes with experience and after a year of being married/hosting parties for adults and children (I have a DSS), I'm finally being more relaxed.

Good luck, it will be fine!!

PrettyCandles Fri 21-Aug-09 10:15:06

You are not alone. At all. grinblush

I had a BBQ ont he last day of term. I was nauseated with anxiety and on the verge of tears almost all day until most of the guests had arrived. Whereupon I realised that

a) not only had I prepared plenty of food, but everyone had brought some, too, so nobody was starving
b) everyone had a glass of wine or juice in there hand, nobody was going thirsty
c) the BBQs were hot on time
d) not a single child was crying or left out
e) all the adults were talking to each other (no dhs sulking in corners or hiding behind the BBQ)
f) everyone was having fun
g) I was having fun.


notamumyetbutoneday Fri 21-Aug-09 10:16:40

Randomtask THANK YOU SO MUCH. your advice and words of wisdom brought a tear to my eye as I can tell you used to be just as I am now (well, ok, maybe not quite such a stresshead as me!)

That really is such excellent advice and I really appreciate it. Im printing it out now.

Thank you again. (wobbly smile)

notamumyetbutoneday Fri 21-Aug-09 10:18:17

Prettycandles thank you so much- feeling on the verge of tears is definitely familiar (I nearly burst into tears in Morrisons as they didnt have the specific burgers I wanted...)

I will let you know on Monday how it goes!!!

randomtask Fri 21-Aug-09 10:22:29

No seriously I was worse. DH is the most relaxed person which made me feel even more like a nutter.

At Christmas we had 17 people coming over before Midnight Mass and I had a week long plan for before to get everything right (including things that needed freezing then had to be put in my parents freezer as they didn't fit in mine). I got ill a week before Christmas and just about recovered on Christmas Eve. DH took DSS to the park and I ran about our tiny kitchen like a nutter. By the time my friends arrived I didn't drink as I felt too ill. But, they all enjoyed it and in some ways so did I as: if they're your real friends they won't care what you feed them as long as they're not hungry/thirsty.

So actually, I forgot the most important thing I learnt-if they're nice they'll enjoy it whatever (and in some cases help clear things away etc) and if they're not, don't invite them to your house!!

OhBling Fri 21-Aug-09 10:25:03

Apparently how you react to hosting parties has something to do with the kind of person you are in relation to friends and family.

I forget the details but I know that I'm the kind who lets everyone get into a room and then figure it out for themselves - I'm therefore relaxed hosting events. Other types are people who like to keep all their friends segregated and are uncomfortable hooking them up (DH) or the types who actively try to find connections between different groups (my sister).

But basically, you're probably the type that feels responsible for everyone else's enjoyment and therefore are stressed.

I second all the other good advice on here.

I would add that unless you have really horrible friends (which is unlikely) most people are really just happy to be invited and are happy to make an effort pouring their own drinks or helping with taking plates out etc. Let them and you'll find it more relaxing.

You're going to have a wonderful time - it's certainly the right weather for it!

lljkk Fri 21-Aug-09 10:31:35

I don't get stressed out about parties. I seem to have responded by being extra laid back, although I am a mega-planner by nature and would get tensed if I left anything any later than necessary.

People may walk away from my functions noting that the house had some grotty corners and the wine was so-so and the food was ordinary, but at least we all had a good time grin.

And I would NEVER expect DC to particularly help out; if I want a party, I do the work.

MmeLindt Fri 21-Aug-09 10:34:21

My advice is similar to Randoms.

The most important thing is to keep things simple, don't be shy of asking a friend to give you a hand, and put the drinks out so that everyone can help themselves.

We had a party recently and I put out a huge bucket thing with loads of crushed ice and all the wine/beer. We made a kind of a bar with the dresser from the kitchen (hauled it out to the garden) and had all the stuff in there that was needed (napkins, plates, glasses, cutlery etc)

Everyone just helped themselves. It was very relaxed.

MIAonline Fri 21-Aug-09 11:08:38

There has been some great advice on this thread.

I used to love doing parties and have realised it's because I didn't put any pressure on myself, but for some reason, as I have got older I put more pressure on myself for everything to be too perfect, but I love going to a party!

So my advice is to relax, most people love going to a party and are ready for a good time, the combination of food and alcohol drink cheers anyone up grin

notamumyetbutoneday Fri 21-Aug-09 12:07:34

You are all wonderful. You have made me feel so much better, I can't thank you enough. I will report back on Monday to let you know if I managed to be zen-like and calm throughout!

OhBling Fri 21-Aug-09 12:22:10

I also recommend one glass of wine before they arrive - not too many as you don't want to get plastered too quickly though!

notamumyetbutoneday Mon 24-Aug-09 09:00:32

The BBQ went really really well! Everyone seemed to have a really good time, me included!

OK, I was up at 7am on the saturday morning as I couldn't sleep there was so much running through my mind...but this meant all the prep was done by 10am so I could actually relax and enjoy myself. Everyone pitched in with the clearing up and none of my fears came to pass (unless you count being left with a breadbun mountain.)

OhBling Mon 24-Aug-09 10:16:41

Fantastic. I'm glad it went well! When's the next one? grin

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