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Planning a party like the professionals

Fried rice
Heidi Rice
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

It seems lately that we go to far too many funerals than weddings, so Husband-Head and I were very pleased when we got the news that some very dear friends of ours were getting married … to each other … and they were each single.

“How exciting!” I exclaimed to Husband-Head. “They finally found each other. Hey, let’s throw them an engagement party!”

Husband-Head, who has been good friends with the groom-to-be for nearly 20 years, looked a little doubtful.



“I have no problem throwing them a party, but I guess if I was a really good friend, I’d advise him not to do the marriage thing …” he said, his voice trailing off.

I punched Husband-Head in the arm.



We’ve always enjoyed entertaining and having some people over for dinner and cocktails, but it’s been quite a while since we’ve thrown a bash.

And when we finally worked out the guest list with the nuptial couple, it turned out that we were going to have a bash ” a big bash.

Which was fine with us. We love a good party, but there were a lot of details to work out to make sure everything was perfect for our friends.

We decided on a tropical beach party/luau theme for the party in keeping with their wedding theme.

“What should the invitations say?” I asked Husband-Head.

“Bring a swimsuit and a towel if you want to swim,” he instructed. “But adults only ” no kids. There will be no peeing or drowning in the pool.”

Fortunately at our age, very few friends have small children, but we just wanted to make sure.

Next was to figure out the time. We didn’t want to have it too early, because Mai Tai’s at 10 a.m. just don’t seem right and if we started at 7 p.m., everyone would go home to bed an hour later. We decided on 2 p.m.

After the invitations were sent out, we needed to put together a menu and decide on decorations.

“Seafood,” I said decidedly. “We definitely have to serve some seafood for a tropical party.”

Husband-Head about turned green. He HATES any kind of seafood, especially stuff like shrimp, which he insists should only be used for bait to catch other seafood.

In the end we decided to go with things like kabobs, fruit and teriyaki chicken and rum ” lots and lots of rum.

Then there were decorations.

“Are you going to wear a coconut bra and a grass skirt?” Husband-Head asked hopefully.

In your rum-filled dreams …

Although I’ve never thrown a party for 70 people before, in the midst of all the planning, something seemed vaguely familiar.

“I kinda feel like Franck, the wedding planner,” I told Husband-Head, referring to the 1991 movie “Father of the Bride.” “All we’re missing are the geese for out front.”

Then I thought of what it took to hold parties throughout the different stages of one’s lifetime.

– Kids ” Balloons, cake, a game of pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey.

– Teenagers ” An illicit keg of beer, marijuana and loud music at someone’s house whose parents were gone.

– College ” A (sometimes) legal keg of beer, marijuana and loud music at someone’s fraternity house.

– Young adults ” A credit card to pay for the liquor, a 2-1 ratio of women to men, a hot tub and drugs that will keep you up until 9 a.m.

– Middle age ” Caviar, expensive vodka, a high-end stereo and guests that leave by 9 p.m.

– Old age ” A laxative, a glass of Port, adult diapers and guests who don’t die in your house.

But the good part about holding a big party is that it makes your husband do all kinds of chores that he’s had on the back burner for months ” if not years.

So far, Husband-Head has made at least two trips to the dump and spent hours cleaning up stuff in the back yard that he has always pretended did not exist.

“This is cool,” I said approvingly, watching him work. “Maybe we should have a party for our 14th wedding anniversary coming up.”

And he thought I didn’t hear him mutter under his breath his standard phrase that “murderers don’t get this long …”

Heidi Rice is a staff reporter for the Post Independent. Her column runs every Friday. Visit her website at http://www.heidirice.com.


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