Home Event Planning Advice Planner Woes: What’s the Point of Planning for Ungrateful Guests?

Planner Woes: What’s the Point of Planning for Ungrateful Guests?

11 min read
Planner Woes: What's the Point of Planning?

Dear Star,

I’m an ametuer planner who loves to throw a good party. The other day, I was added to a new group chat and while looking for a phone number in the part of the chat I wasn’t privy to, I realized the other members of the chat, some friends and family my age, were talking about my parties.

It wasn’t flattering.

A cousin said that my parties made her uncomfortable because she always feels she should have worn something nicer or something better in line with the theme. A friend chimed in that she had come over to help me put together favors one evening and spent two hours working on what ended up in the trash or left behind before the party even wrapped. She added she would never do that again. Another friend opined she’s never been to a party of mine where she felt she could just sit and enjoy talking to people because I had so many activities and games planned.

I’m shocked. I’m horrified. Worse yet, no one in the group chat has realized that I have access to their conversation. I don’t know if I should approach this at all or just stop hosting parties all together.

No Party Left in Me

Dear NPLM,

I’m sorry you experienced this. I can see you put a lot of your passion into your parties and hearing that your gatherings aren’t the hit you want them to be can be very disheartening.

However, you have some options here.

It’s easy enough to think that these people are not your friends, don’t care about you, and will never understand you. Your hurt and angry is probably assuring you of this right away. But you have to remember that these are people and they don’t all have the same passion, values, and interests that you do.

Also, remember the purpose of a party is for the guests to enjoy themselves. It is a party for them, not the host. What you got, albeit in a blindsiding fashion, was feedback about your parties and ways you can improve your gatherings, since there seems to be an underlying level of unease surrounding them.

The first step to processing the feelings you’re dealing with is to remind yourself that these are your friends and family members. They love you and support you and do not wish you ill. They simply don’t agree with everything you do and that’s fine.

As difficult as it might be, look at this opportunity as one where you can learn and grow. Not a time to become bitter and resentful towards your loved ones.

Let’s look at each remark one by one for ways you can improve your parties and make your guests more comfortable:

Guests feel underdressed or out of place.

This remark could be coming from many different places. First of all, if your parties require fancy dress or elaborate costumes, consider people’s budgets. Maybe a once-a-year masquerade would be a appropriate, but asking guests to purchase special clothing or formal wear every few months is entirely too much of a drain on the wallet.

Also, make sure guests are aware of the dress code by putting it on the invitation. If this isn’t enough, you can always spread the word by telling a few people yourself and having them tell others. It might be a good idea to throw some simple jeans and a t-shirt parties as well. Just so people can come together and relax without worrying about heels or lipstick.

You put unseen and unappreciated work into your parties.

Honestly, this can be said about any gathering. Your guests will tend not to universally praise the color coordination of the table linens and remark on exactly how long it must have taken you to bake the three-layer dessert you’re serving. This is, unless you invite nothing but fellow party planners to your shindigs.

The details of a party are often invisible to the average guest and that’s to be expected. Not everyone has to notice every tiny detail you agonized over for days for it to be important to you. Let yourself enjoy the process of party planning, even the tedious favor wrapping, and maybe find someone else to help you if your friends find it too much of a chore. Not everyone was made to bundle favors for untold hours and that’s okay.

This might also be a time for you to evaluate your planning party. Are you including details that are unneeded or bog down the evening? Not everyone expects a favor bag when they go to a party. Maybe you could skip that next time. Cutting down on some of the little extras can help keep your budget under control as well as make your guests feel less inundated.

Too many games and activities, not enough time to chat.

When you’re throwing a party for people who all know each other well, there’s little need to fill all of their time up with scavenger hunts or party Bingo. Even when your guests are relative strangers, one ice breaker at the beginning is a great way to get your party started and then relax and attend to other details while everyone gets to know each other.

Parties can serve many purposes, but the most common is to provide a social outlet for all those in attendance. You can plan games if you wish and break them out if you look into your living room and see people staring at their shoes and talking about the price of chicken at the grocery store.

But if there is lively conversation, everyone has someone to talk to, and the party is on an even keel, just let people socialize and have a great time.

Although receiving negative comments about something we love and dedicate ourselves to can be devastating, it can also be a chance to see what isn’t working in our parties and decide to improve them for the comfort of our guests. While party planning can be an activity we do for personal fulfillment, you should never forget that without our guests, there wouldn’t be any parties at all.

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