Sometimes things (parties) don’t exactly turn out like you expect . . .

When I graduated from high school, Smitty and I had a joint party at my granny’s house. Before the ceremony, we twisted red and white streamers all over Granny’s deck. It was so festive. And then . . . it rained. So not only was my hair super frizzy for all the obligatory photos, but our decorations were ruined. (And Granny’s deck was pink. Apparently the ink from the red streamers ran.)

A couple years later I planned a big surprise party for my parents’ 25th anniversary. Which, for reasons that are better left un-blogged, made my mom mad. That was not a fun party.

At my wedding reception my new husband didn’t want to dance with me after our first dance, and almost every one of my college friends left early to go party at their hotel. And every single photo of Mark and me cutting the cake also featured our photographer’s wife, who was showing us how to cut perfectly proportioned pieces.

My first fundraising event was a huge success and hundreds of people attended, which you would think would be a great thing. Unless you know just how small our event space was and how loud, crowded and hot it would get in there before the night was over.

The next year, we planned accordingly and rented an enormous space – only to have a LOT fewer people show up. As a critical volunteer pointed out, it seemed like we were in an empty airplane hangar with all that extra space!

Hours before the surprise party I’d spent months planning for my husband’s 30th birthday, his dad brought a puppy to our house. For Mark. To keep. We then proceeded to have a rip-roaring, headache-inducing fight because We Did Not Need a Dog! I was tempted to call the whole thing (the party, that is) off, but instead managed to get him there on time with only slightly puffy eyes and a something-is-off smile to show for the fight.

Because I delivered Annalyn seven weeks early, one of my baby showers was held after she was born and just one day after I was released from the hospital. I hobbled in, wearing [basically] pajamas and glasses and slightly high on pain meds. And when one of my friends (who will remain nameless) arrived, she walked up, gave me a hug and said, “When are you due?” I said, “Ummmm . . . you didn’t get the email, then???”

At Annalyn’s third birthday party we reserved a shelter at the park. As we were frantically unloading the car with food and decorations, I noticed something colorful on one of the picnic tables. I walked over to see it and OH MY. It was graffiti. In the naked woman variety. (Thankfully I had kraft paper to cover the tables, but still. Ick.)

Then there was the time I invited 27 people to a party and only three showed up. (Three awesome people. But you understand my sadness, right?)

That’s just nine examples of parties or events not exactly going according to plan, despite my best control-freak perfectionist efforts. I’d like to say I handled every situation with calm and a sense of humor, but, well, that wouldn’t exactly be true.

Still, I’ve learned a lot from those events (and, *sigh*, more) – and I’ve written an ebook about it. Plan a Fabulous Party {without losing your mind} is part how-to and part manifesto, a guide to planning a party that not only delights your guests but also allows you to enjoy yourself throughout the process.

Sometimes things don’t go according to plan. Okay, let’s be real. A LOT of times, things don’t go according to plan! One of the things I recommend in my book is that you attempt to think ahead of any possible pitfalls. (Possible party pitfalls – say THAT five times fast!) But making a comprehensive list of potential disasters is impossible. Who knows what wrench will be thrown into your next event!

Short of predicting the future, the true key to avoiding party day meltdowns is to do a little bit of thinking ahead of time but be ready – even if just mentally – to handle the things that come up with style, not stress!

Plan a Fabulous Party addresses this and so much more – plus some of my brave, party-planning friends were kind enough to share their own party disasters with us! Today’s list of party flops is more than the training ground I endured (just for you, my friends!) in preparation for writing this book. It’s also an incomplete Top Ten Tuesday list – and I’d love to round it out with some help from you.

Have you ever planned a party that didn’t exactly turn out right?

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