A Day to Remember by Margaret Hart
This past weekend was very full with family and friends. Saturday was a wonderful day; it was my son’s First Holy Communion. It might sound a little cliché, but the sky was blue, the birds were singing, the weather was warm, and Daffodils were in bloom. It was a beautiful spring morning — and somewhat rare given the weather so far this season in the northeast. We had family and good friends share the ceremony with us at church, and join us afterward at a celebratory luncheon. Everyone had a great time.
I always stress out a little when I’m planning an event, no matter whether it’s small or large — and this one was no exception. What I didn’t worry about was the actual ceremony; it was well organized, with preparatory retreats and a rehearsal before the big day. I knew my son was ready, and would do well. During the ceremony, he read, and sang. He was wonderful. What I did sweat about was whether everything would go well with the luncheon afterward, and if everyone would enjoy themselves. I don’t know whether it’s a blessing or a curse, but I am a “Plan it well in advance” kind of person versus “It’s a week away, I still have time,” kind of person. I pour over the details. When making big decisions, I like to look at all my options, or at least the top three, and then make the best choice. I love planning, making lists, getting things settled and organized, and then when I think I’m finished, I will think of something else.
Early on in my professional career, I was lucky enough to work for companies that sponsored and hosted various types of events ranging from hospitality tents at the US Open, to the very first MTV Video Music Awards, to an event celebrating the “CEO of the Year.” I was always organized, but working on these events I learned the true meaning of organization and thinking outside the box, before that expression became trendy. I learned what it takes to plan for and run a successful event.
Over the years, I’ve come to understand that combining my organizational skills with my creative side gives me great pleasure. Friends always compliment me on my creativity and my ideas, and I’m known to be the mom who goes the extra mile when it comes to party planning. So for his First Holy Communion I wanted to do something really special for my son. Even though I knew we would be a small group, I decided to plan a luncheon at the fancy restaurant where my husband and I hosted our wedding rehearsal dinner many years ago. It’s in a nice location, on the water, with beautiful views, and known for its delicious Italian food, and great service.
About a month and half before the event (which was actually a little late for First Communion weekend), I met with the banquet manager to book a room. We discussed the table setting, linens (white tablecloths with light blue napkins to go with my blue color scheme), and preliminary menu. I worked with a balloon artist who created beautiful centerpieces; my son’s favorite was an angel with a blue halo, holding a sign that read: “God Bless Ethan.” From the go-to bakery in town, I ordered the signature cake with whipped cream and fresh strawberries, and had it baked in the shape of a cross and decorated in white and blue. I also ordered my son’s favorite “death by chocolate” cake. Both were a huge hit. (Extra time on the treadmill this week!)
As a final touch, I gave each guest a custom favor bag that my son and I picked out together. He helped me select books about love and kindness for the kids, and a small book of “heavenly humor” for the adults. We also picked out Angel bookmarks we found online. I wanted a favor that people could keep as a remembrance of my son’s special day.
The day was wonderful from start to finish. The ceremony was the important part, but I also wanted the party afterward to be enjoyed by everyone. When our family and guests walked in the room, they remarked right away about the balloons, especially the angel. They loved the food, and the cakes, and had a wonderful time. When the luncheon was over and all the plates had been cleared, no one was in a rush to leave. Everyone was just enjoying relaxing and talking; the kids were having a ball laughing and giggling. My son was so happy. He celebrated his special day with his best friend and his family, and he will have great memories. It was one of those days when everything turned out so nicely. Just right. It was definitely a day to remember.