Somestimes, you just have to create your own occasion! This weekend, we traveled to Madison, Wisconsin for a fabulous formal cocktail party!
How often do you look at the nice clothes in your closet, the fancy china in your cabinet, and think to yourself: I should use this more often?
When I was growing up, once a year, we would get out the fine china and eat a fancy meal (Christmas, usually). When Alex and I got married, I remember picking out our fine china and insisting that it be dishwasher safe, to encourage us to use it. I had grandiose dreams of using our fine china once a month (I’ve since gotten more realistic). But I did insist that we use it for our Valentine’s Day meal, we use it at Thanksgiving, and we’ve used it here and there at other times over the years.
I am a comfy person. My wardrobe consists of workout clothes, jeans, and thermals during the winter, and workout clothes, shorts, and t-shirts during the summer (with the odd maxi dress). I don’t wear much makeup. I have a closetful of nice clothes that I never wear–the remaining dregs of my “office dreams.” I always respect people who put effort into their appearance beyond mascara, but that hasn’t been me for a long time.
And yet, I can’t get rid of my pretty dresses. My blazers. My fancy shoes. There is a part of me that believes that one day I will use them again. Part of me that wants to get fancy (or, my version of fancy). To put on my own fine china. To make life a special occasion, somehow.
I loved what this weekend’s February Formal represented, what it accomplished:
We got up early, got our run in, then packed up our car, picked up two cousins, and drove the 2+ hours to Madison for a party that easily could have been accomplished in casual style, with jeans and sweaters, with a few platters of food and with everyone bringing in a bottle of wine or a 6 pack of beer. That could have revolved around a sporting event.
Instead, it was an event that necessitated action: put on your fancy dress and heels, your suit and jacket. Look others in the eyes and have a conversation.
I often feel like I lock up within myself at parties. But I felt free, and it wasn’t just booze or anonymity, or the excellent company (which truly was excellent). Often, formal parties feel so stuffy and stilted that you almost feel like you can’t engage and expose yourself, nor do you want to; instead, this party nurtured connection based on its scale, and also the depth of detail our cousins went into.
They created all of the food–from the roasted veggie skewers to the chocolate shortbread layer cake to the shrimp to the charcuterie plate. They hired a bartender (who happened to be someone they knew and had worked with during his schooling (not in mixology, but in science), but they created the drinks.
They held a fancy cocktail party, with fancy drinkware, serving dishes, and crafted cocktails, in their cozy bungalow living room, with paper party plates.
Formality, with a sense of humor and a touch of real life. Suspension of time with a healthy dose of reality.
Did I mention that they, as a family, are as casual as Alex and I? That their “perfect vacation” is one where 75% of it is spent outdoors being active?
You guys know that I’m all in favor of taking matters into your own hands. I’m a big believer that you have to empower yourself, you have to be in the driver’s seat. Sometimes, you have to create your occasion.I dare you to create your own occasion like @suzlyfe! #sweatpink Click To Tweet
Put on real clothes and eat off your fancy china for the night. Better yet, invite a few friends over, and ask that they do the same. If you aren’t the best cook, maybe ask that they bring a dish. Keep the TV off and find a way to actually connect with your friends, your neighbors, again. It doesn’t take much, it doesn’t have to cost much. But if you were to do it once, twice a year…
What difference could creating your occasion make?
When was the last non-holiday or wedding time that you used your fine china, or got really dressed up?
Linking up with Amanda for Thinking out Loud!