Gregory's birthday is on July 4th along with our Nation's. This will be the fourth year that we have had an immediate world party inviting everyone we know and giving them automatic permission to bring guests. Usually thirty to forty people show up for appetizers, dinner, fireworks and birthday cake.
I am known for the style in which I throw a party. I like it to be set up ahead of time, organized, and self-serve so I can mingle with the guests. To this end the appetizer station is set before the guests arrive, all the dinner buffet items are in a row on the back counter or saran wrapped and in the refrigerator ready go. I have been known to place a red flashing arrow at the beginning of the buffet signaling the direction of flow. Next to the glasses and ice bucket, I post a sign listing available drinks and where they are located: on counter, in refrigerator, in ice chest on balcony.
The cake is on display in another corner of the counter island with small plates and forks standing by. By the front door there is a schedule of events and a menu. In the T.V. room there is a slide show running of a recent vacation or pictures of G or myself growing up depending on the event.
While friends and family enjoy our parties and anticipate the next (July 4th, Fall Fest, Christmas, etc) they also like to make fun of how well organized I am. So to them I propose the following new approach.
When the guests arrive they will receive a laminated card listing the drinks, menu, and events of the evening. A chip will be embedded in the card which will confirm their arrival time as they pass through the entry hall and activate a place for them on the next event's party list.
As they pass the appetizer or drink station the card will announce the options and silently notify me by cell phone if any of the food is running low. If the guest feels the need to use the rest room and it is already busy, the chip will automatically put them on a wait list and the card's LEDS will flash when the rest room is available.
On passing the gift table, the card will note if a gift is left and record its weight. It will also photograph and tag the gift with the giver's name for future reference when it will automatically generate a thank you note e-mail.
At the end of the party the card may be inserted in the reader at the computer located by front door to give the attendee an opportunity to take a survey regarding how they enjoyed the party, if the rest rooms were clean and in order, if their meal was ample and hot, if the dessert was to their liking and will ask for any suggestions for future parties. By taking the survey, the guest will be moved closer to the top of the next party invitation list as well as receive a 10% discount on their parking fees.
"We appreciate your holding and appologize for any inconvenience you may have encountered. There are no cashiers in the lobby. Please take your ticket with you and pay at the machines in the lobby before exiting. One moment please. Please wait. We are encountering technological difficulties and are working to correct them. We thank you for your patience."