Hostesses With The Mostest > Entertaining and Hospitality

Re: Thoughts, please. For an 80th bday party. UPDATE #24

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jpcher:

--- Quote from: Mikayla on February 08, 2013, 12:35:24 PM ---I think a lot depends on Beth's personality and *how* she came up with the T-giving plan.  Was this by default, or does she have a specific reason why she wanted to avoid Christmas? 

--- End quote ---

I think the T-giving plan was brought up simply because MIL and all her children and grandchildren will be here (in Chicago) for T-giving weekend anyway. (It's a long standing tradition that Beth hosts.)

I get the feeling that Beth really wants to have the party here.

Margo:

--- Quote from: camlan on February 07, 2013, 11:27:43 AM ---No matter where the party is, some people are going to have to travel. No matter when the party is, someone is not going to be able to make it. I think you need to accept these things, and plan around them. I would make the guiding principle be what is easiest for MIL and what she would most likely want. Whoever is planning this is going to hear a lot of, "But X would be better for me and my family." It's good to have a stock response for this sort of thing, "Yes, I understand that. But this party is for MIL and this is what would work best for *her*."

Location: I'd make it the location that is easiest for MIL. St. Louis would be my first choice, with Chicago second, since she does visit there. St. Louis also wins because it seems like a lot of the "really want them there" people live there.

Guests: Make a list of the people who *have* to be there, the people you really want to be there, and everyone else. The date/time/location has to work for the first group of people. Everyone else, you have to be prepared to tell them how sorry you are that they won't be able to join you. You might have to practice hardening your heart on this one. But the larger the group, the more the planners have to make a plan and stick with it. Frequent changes will wreak havoc with all the other guests.

Timing: The week around Christmas seems best to me, because all the various college-aged relations (who are on the "must be there" list) will be off school. It's also far enough away that people can negotiate with their workplaces to arrange time off. And it is close to her actual birthday.

I'm with Cicero on not making this a complete surprise. Maybe tell her it's a special dinner out with some of the family, and surprise her with all the other guests. That's what we did for my father's 70th birthday. He thought it was dinner with the family, but we invited old college and Army buddies, all his siblings and their spouses and children, close friends--I think there were about 80 people.

We also asked everyone who was invited to contribute a story or photograph about Dad. We had a large scrapbook made up, with all the stories and pictures--he loved it. Several of the people invited who couldn't make the party were able to call him during the party--he heard from Army buddies he'd only exchanged Christmas cards with for the last 40 years.

--- End quote ---

I agree with all of this.

I wouldn't make it a surprise party, but I think that is a 'know your audience' thing. And if the party is a surprise, tell her you're taking her out to dinner at a nice restaurant, or to get pictures taken for all the family, or something else that she'd dress up for.

I'd find it odd to be invited to celebrate someone's birthday months away from the actual date, so I'd go for a date during the christmas period (which should allow the grandchildren who are in college to get there)

What would she like ?

When my grandmother turned 80, we had a big family party - her children, sons-in-law, grandchildren, and 2 or three 'honorary nieces'  - she didn't want anything big. It was a surprise in that she thought that two of her daughters and their families were going to be there - she thought she was seeing half of us one weekend and the other half the following weekend.

kudeebee:

--- Quote from: jpcher on February 08, 2013, 06:36:24 PM ---
--- Quote from: Mikayla on February 08, 2013, 12:35:24 PM ---I think a lot depends on Beth's personality and *how* she came up with the T-giving plan.  Was this by default, or does she have a specific reason why she wanted to avoid Christmas? 

--- End quote ---

I think the T-giving plan was brought up simply because MIL and all her children and grandchildren will be here (in Chicago) for T-giving weekend anyway. (It's a long standing tradition that Beth hosts.)

I get the feeling that Beth really wants to have the party here.

--- End quote ---

So, why not do the party at Tgving for the family and the friends in Chicago?  Could a smaller party be held in St. Louis in January for the family that is there?  Not all the children would need to come to that party.

Lindee:
For my MIL's 90th we had to travel to other nearby country but our children were unable to go (other side of the world, other country etc) but they each made short videos wishing her happy birthday and saying what they were up to and that went down very well. My brother in law put together a family photo slideshow of her early years and MIL really enjoyed adding an extra commentary as she recalled the circumstances of the photos.  BTW 90 lit candles melt into an inedible mess so it was lucky they were put on a "sacrificial cake" instead of the real one.

jpcher:
Just thought I'd update you all . . . with a bit of whine, oh yeah, it's spelled wine. ;)

A few other suggestions/ideas were thrown out in the past couple of months with nobody really coming together on one plan.

Beth talked to Favorite Cousin (FC) in St. Louis, in order to get ideas from the St. Louis clan. FC thought that doing something this summer would be way to early. Her comment made me laugh:

"You don't want to be wished a happy 80th birthday when you're still young! I know MIL would say 'I'm only 79-1/2! I'm not OLD yet! Don't rush me!' " This makes perfect sense to me.;D

FC said that she would gladly host a party next summer and threw out the idea of making it a party honoring all the 70+ yr. olds in the family (There are 4 people in their late 70's early 80's.) I think this is a great idea.

A party during Christmas week was nixed for several reasons. The main reason being that Beth and her DH spends T'giving with Beth's family and Christmas with DH's family, so Beth wouldn't be able to attend at that time. (What? You won't host a party that you can't attend? What's wrong with you?  >:D)



Beth sent out an e-mail a couple of days ago saying that she thought the best solution would be for the sibs/grandkids to take MIL out for dinner at an upscale restaurant on Saturday after T'giving. She said that she wouldn't be able to foot the bill for everybody and hoped that we would be able to pay for our own families along with chipping in for MIL.

Beth extended the invitation to boyfriends/girlfriends of the grandchildren (oh, and my date if I wish to bring one.) She asked for restaurant/menu preferences (seafood, steak, Chinese, etc.) and, again, specified her wish for a classy, dress up type of venue.

She doesn't plan on inviting anybody but the immediate family. Just "us" equals 14 people. Add in BF/GF's it could go up to 19 people.

In closing Beth said "I'm hoping this works for everybody. I'm really looking forward to all of us getting together for a special party to celebrate Mom's 80th bday. P.S. If anybody has any budgetary constrictions, please let me know. I'll plan accordingly."

Bob responded quickly saying "Sounds like a great plan. I'll even be willing to splurge for the 95th floor.* Don't know if Son1 will be there, he's enlisting soon."

Haven't heard back from Bill yet.

I have no problem with all of the above (except bold :-\ ).



Now here's where we get out our glass of wine and quietly sip while sending me good-thought vibes.

I responded "This sounds great. Just wondering why you're thinking about Saturday instead of Friday? Or are we not doing the Friday-after thing?**"

Beth: Yes. We're definitely doing the Friday-after at Niece(her daughter's) new house. She's sooo looking forward to hosting the whole family. I'm not going to take that away from her. She's already planning the meal.

Me: Oh. That's right. I forgot about Niece's plans. We'll be there with bells on! :P


Take a sip of whine wine.

So now there are 3 days of fancy feasting with huge quantities of delicious food. Don't get me wrong, I love these people, but can only tolerate them in small doses. Even DD#1 said "Wait. We have to see Aunt(Bill's wife) 3 days in a row?"  ::)



Another sip of wine.

All in all, do you think this sounds like a good plan for MIL's bday party?

Plus . . . please help me out of the "I really don't want to spend 3 days with these people" funk that I'm in. :-\




Another sip of wine.

Thank you in advance for any advice/wisdom/help/strength you'll be willing to offer.. ;D
 




*http://www.signatureroom.com/


**Tradition is a 2-day feast. T'giving dinner is hosted at Beth's and Friday-after is traded off between hosting at my home or Bill's home. In the past, I've hosted Bob and his 2 sons for the weekend, but they usually leave for home on Saturday. I haven't heard yet if Bob and sons will be expecting to stay with me, nor have I extended an invitation. I probably should, shouldn't I?

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