|A. and her grandma|
1. Hosting is hard work. You might try to trick yourself into thinking it will be easy with statements like "Oh, we'll just have something small at the house". But here's the deal: A.) what starts out small never ends small and B.) hosting a party of any size is hard work. Maybe it's because I'm a perfectionist and borderline OCD but parties usually entail weeks of prep, followed by running around non-stop the day of the event.
2. Assign someone (other than yourself) to take pictures. As I learned, you'll be way too busy running around to properly document the event. Instead, enlist someone with a decent eye and the freedom/willingness to roam the party and capture the highlights.
3. Buy/make less food than you think you need. You never want to disappoint "Martha" by running out of food. But at the same time, how many days in a row can you eat the same leftovers
4. Distribute goody bags early. Some guests--e.g. parents with young kids on schedules--will leave the party early, even if it's a lunchtime affair. When they do, you'll be more focused on rushing over to say a quick goodbye than remembering to grab their goody bags.
5. Set an end time. Remember to give yourself enough time to clean and more importantly, to relax. Fortunately, because A.'s first birthday party was at noon, we had plenty of time afterwards to unwind. After all, hosting is hard work!
What other lessons have you learned from planning and hosting parties for your kids?