Archive for April 23rd, 2007

Cinderella, Your Clock Is Ticking

Monday, April 23rd, 2007

Whenever Cinderella is a guest at a royal ball, she has a royal ball. There’s just one problem: at midnight, her husband always turns into a pumpkin. In fact, he starts sprouting leaves about 11:15.

Whether they think about it consciously or not, your guests have an internal clock. And it’s ticking. For many of them, the alarm will go off after three to four hours. They will begin to get restless, start eyeing the door, and go through the litany of non-verbal cues designed to signal their significant other that “it’s time to go.” You’ll notice them standing with their arms folded, bodies rocking from foot to foot, faces set in a long-suffering grimace. Your other guests will notice them, too. In fact, everyone, with the exception of their spouse, will get the message.

There are two things you should know about this phenomenon:
1. It’s not directed against you personally.
2. You do it, too. (Remember your mate’s last class/family/bowling team reunion?)

However, as host, you should be alert to such behavior. If someone other than chronically- grumpy old Uncle Harold starts acting the same way, you may need to adjust your timeline.

Brides, for instance, frequently base their weddings on a six hour schedule. Hour One is the ceremony, Two is for cocktails, Three is dinner time, Four is for cake and toasts, Five is dancing and the bouquet/garter toss, and Six is more dancing while the bride changes into her travel ensemble. Unfortunately, in the real world, adhering to this timeline means that several guests will be gone before the cake is even cut. And the departure of the bride and groom will take place before less than half the invited guests.

Flexibility on your part is one solution to the problem. Re-set your own inner clock to Guest Standard Time. (You don’t want them to be bored, do you?) Pace your event so that it fits the majority of your guests (neither Uncle Harold nor your night owl friends of “The Wild Bunch,” but somewhere in between.)

Best advice: Uncle Harold doing his “go home” Macarena is not a criticism of your party – it’s just old Uncle Harold. But if that dance catches on, be careful, Cinderella – it’s pumpkin time.