Chances are, my wedding won’t be the best party I go to next year. It can’t compete with the Evaline Halloween party, as seen in such unread old-media as SPIN and Pittsburgh Magazine.
The Evaline Halloween is what all parties want to be when they grow up. Everyone who goes has a great time, and everyone who doesn’t hears, “Man, you shoulda been there!” from everyone who went.
My wedding will not be as fun or as cool as the Evaline, and I am resigned to this. If you want to host a wedding, or any party, that is cool like this, well, here’s what must be done:
1. Be insane. This will let you come up with great ideas for the party, but more importantly will allow you to go through with them.
2. Make sure you have a bunch of insane friends, friends-of-friends, and other associates. Make sure these people have useful skills: you’ll need artists, carpenters, electricians, bouncers, organizational wizards, scavengers, crap-haulers, and more. Make sure these people will donate these skills to your party cause for free.
3. Be heavily insured and frighteningly optimistic about avoiding liability despite providing a bunch of young drunk people access to homemade roller coasters, secret passageways built out of discarded playground materials, and three-dimensional Twister boards built on a 45-degree angle.
[I painted the Twister room. It was a really fun project, but seriously messed with my sense of balance.]
If that sounds out of your league, well, that’s why I’m resigned to my wedding not being as cool as the Evaline. But in watching the Evaline come together this year, I did learn a few things about party-planning that I can apply to my wedding, even if it’s going to be an elegant dinner instead of a wacky house party:
1. The Party Gods secretly require tributes of planning, organization, and hard work.
2. Reuse will save your party as well as the planet. I think the only thing that’s new at the Evaline is the booze and grub. (And frankly I’m not sure about the grub.) Everything else was pulled off a curb or cheaply purchased from some unsuspecting fool at a yard sale or on Craigslist. This bubble wrap room, for example, probably contains a few hundred dollars’ worth of bubble wrap. We sourced it from three people on Craigslist, one who gave away six garbage bags she found being thrown away at a medical center.
There is free/dirt cheap cool stuff all around you, just find it and figure out how it can help your party (Dance floor decor? Ingredients for DIY favors? Photobooth props?).
3. People who are being shown a good time will forgive a lot (NOTE: being shown a good time may or may not be synonymous with being liquored up). For example, Collin and I worked the hot dog stand. The owner of the Evaline has some kind of philosophical stance against ketchup on hot dogs. I must have said, “I’m sorry, there is no ketchup” a few hundred times in my three-hour shift. But no one was rude about it. Additionally, there were no veggie dogs, but we offered vegetarians grilled buns with cheese sauce, which were a huge hit. (Collin’s theory is that the buns were getting hot dog grease on them when grilled, which is what had the vegetarians so ravenous. My theory is that drunk people love whatever food you hand them). It may be that wedding guests have higher expectations/enjoy bitching more. Either way, while I don’t advise purposefully avoiding catering to your guests (if I ever work the hot dog stand again, I’ll be smuggling in some ketchup), just know that when things go wrong, and they will, you can relax. Fun is resilient.
Photo Credits: All photos by Louis Stein (our wedding photographer), except the Twister Room shot and the crowd shot at the beginning of the post, by Annie Lawry, with Photoshopping of Dubious Quality by me, designed to obscure the faces of the innocent.