Hosting a party for the Big Game last weekend brought into harsh relief one my biggest anxieties about my wedding: that I will come down with an acute case of Harried Hostess Syndrome.
Harried Hostess Syndrome, also known as “Can I Get You Anything?”itis, is a condition wherein a hostess of a party becomes maniacally obsessed with the well-being of her guests. Symptoms include high anxiety about no one having a good time and increasingly desperate efforts to correct this perceived guest-dissatisfaction. Effects range from buying three times more food than is necessary to plying guests with alcohol to the point that an entire fleet of cabs must be summoned at the party’s end. In the most severe cases of Harried Hostess Syndrome, there is a high risk of conga lines and other mandatory-participation group dances.
I had a frightening bout of HHS when I threw my party last Sunday, even though it was just 20 people in my living room watching a football game. I need to start working now on strategies to combat coming down with HHS on my wedding day if I’m going to be able to relax enough to enjoy it. I certainly don’t want to turn to my guests halfway through the ceremony and say, “Is everyone doing all right? Is the temperature comfortable for everyone? Does anyone need their drink topped off?”
But I know it will be hard to psych myself into believing I am a guest of honor instead of the host at my wedding. Even though in the invitation-wording-as-secret-code-for-who-is-paying sense of hosting, Collin and I are the hosts “along with our families,” I feel the mostest-hostess because so much of the wedding will be the product of my planning, my decisions, my efforts. I’m the one who chose our venue, so if our guests hate being there, it is my fault. I’m the one who decided “no flowers, no cake, no favors,” so if our guests miss those things, I’m the one to blame.
So how do I escape this neurotic mental trap so I can fully enjoy my wedding? Here’s the strategy I’ve come up with:
1. Deflect. No matter how much of my own time, stress, and money I’ve put into my wedding, when the day comes, I’m going to imagine it as a party thrown for me and Collin. I’ll be sincerely, profoundly, and outwardly grateful to his parents, our families, our friends, our vendors, everyone who is making the day come together through their efforts. This will distract me from worrying about how everything I set up is working out, with the added bonus of making me a gracious bride!
2. Deny. Words are powerful. I’m going to trick my brain into feeling like a happy, relaxed guest instead of a Harried Hostess by telling my guests, “I’m so happy you could share this day with us,” instead of “Thank you so much for coming.” That’s hostess talk and I’ll have none of that!
3. Delegate. Members of my Bridal Hootenanny (that’s like a bridal party, but bigger and more unwieldy), I’m putting you on notice: it is your job, not mine, to make sure people are having fun. This will primarily involve filling the dance floor whenever it thins out, so be sure to limber up during the cocktail hour.
4. Dance. If I’m having enough fun, I’ll be too distracted to worry that anyone else maybe isn’t. More importantly, I believe that my happiness will infect the crowd and make our wedding a good time for all. And the best way I know how to stop worrying and be happy is shake a tail feather.
So that’s my four-part strategy for avoiding the burden of Harried Hostess Syndrome at my wedding: deflect hosting respect, deny hosting status, delegate hosting duties, and dance my ass off.
Anyone else worried about feeling like a stressed-out hostess at her own wedding? Do you have any other ideas for how to shake off the symptoms of Harried Hostess Syndrome?