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10/28/13

4 Tips For Making Community Happen

This weekend was the Pumpkin Decorating Party I planned for my little sister's cross country teammates.  Remember the DIY Eatable Party Invitations here?!  Our front room turned into an explosion of glitter, glue and mini cinnamon rolls.  I was actually super tired while the girls were there, but they stayed busy with glamming out their pumpkins and talking about their celebrity crushes.  Kids are just awesome like that.

Last week I blogged about the fall party I threw for local mamas.  Many of you shared how you want to plan something similar in your own communities, but feel nervous and vulnerable.  To be honest, I feel this way every time I host an event. 
I love planning parties and ways to bring friends together, but the same thing happens every time.  It's always just minutes before everyone is suppose to arrive and I feel butterflies inside.

What if the last minute preparations aren't completed in time?
What if everyone just stands around awkwardly?
What if we run out of things to talk about?
What if the food isn't good?
What if no one has fun?

Here are a few tips that have helped me as I strive to build community through get togethers and seasonal parties.
1// Have a party planning buddy
I have found it incredibly helpful to have a friend that can help me pull the last details together before guests arrive.  Take for example the recent fall party when Emmett decided to mess through his clothes and onto me just minutes before everyone was suppose to arrive.  My sweet friend, Jenisa, was the one to finished setting everything up while I ran home to change clothes.  She printed coloring sheets for the little kids and took our group photo.  She also helped me to connect with each of the party guests and kept conversations going.

2// Have a pretty spot
A beautiful party place makes everything better.  Even if it's simple decorations like a lace banner or chalkboard signs.  Don't forget that less is more, but nothing is never more.  Watch for a future post with more on this topic soon.

3// Plan a group activity
Just in case there is an awkward lull in the conversation, a group activity helps immensely.  Things like a simple craft, mani/pedis, or a walk around the neighborhood are perfect.  Conversations seem to flow easier when everyone is doing something together.

4// Allow yourself to let go of perfection
It's easy to put off chances to build community because we are waiting to do it perfectly.  Unfortunately perfection rarely happens.  Remember that simple is beautiful.  Remember that it's okay if your guests chat with you in the kitchen while you finish the meal.  Remember that relationship matter, not perfect decorations.

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What things help you as you build community, host parties or plan events?!  I'd love to learn from your experience!!

Happy Tuesday, friends!
xo

6 comments:

  1. The Hubs and I are planning a month long "marriage renewal" and then party at the end with our community (aka small group.) These people are the ones we really "do life" with, and we all decided we wanted/needed a reminder about why we do this thing called marriage. I got inspiration from your parties, and we're going to host a "relive your wedding day" party, except tweak some things like have a "guest boook" where the couple writes letters to each other, a communion table, prayer table, and a space to speak your vows again. The idea is that we get to get all dressed up and feel pretty again, but do it differently than we may have back then... I think it will be fun, but then I think about it and worry people will think I'm a weirdo!

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  2. I love this. you'd think that party planning or community building would be an innate skill, but sometimes you just need the practicality of a how-to.

    www.caitlinmfrost.wordpress.com

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  3. You're a natural hostess! You rock at making people feel welcome and included... which is all that we long for in life. :)

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  4. Thanks for the inspiration! I love that your community building!

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  5. What fabulous tips! I am working on building my community and your posts are so inspirational and motivating!

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  6. Thanks for the tips! I too often allow that fear to get in the way of building community. But I love community! I'm going to work on it, for sure! I feel a holiday party coming on... :)

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