On Friday I was not glued to the television and the latest royal wedding. I did have it on in the background as I packed to go away for the weekend. Princess Eugenie, the bride, described last Friday’s wedding as a ‘family wedding’. Seriously? 850 guests – 250 more than Prince Harry’s wedding a few months ago – is hardly a family wedding in my opinion. Do this newly wedded couple have this many friends and family that mean so much to them? I didn’t dwell on it too much as I was off to my own party, a friend’s 60th and it was this event that finally got me thinking about the art of social events and friendship.
The party I attended was much more intimate than the royal wedding – 50 in total. The family part were the children and their partners – more about them later. The whole weekend made me celebrate not only my friend’s 60th birthday but also friendship and happy times spent with loved ones.
The arrival of a party invitation, whether by post or email, is always welcomed as there is too much bad news in the world. At this particular party I knew quite a few guests but I had not seen many for some years. However we all picked up as if we had only seen each other the week before. That is true friendship.
Time in this modern world is in short supply and our friends are scattered worldwide. Bringing them together to celebrate any special event in one’s life is a true blessing. However wonderful the venue, delicious the food or frequency of the flow of alcohol, the only way that a party works is the right mix of guests. It is these guests and their warmth that creates the true ambience that makes for the lasting memories.
The guests may all be different but each of them is a piece in the puzzle of the person that we are there to honour. Each guest has contributed a memory to this person’s life. That is how it should be. Too often when preparing a guest list we feel we have to invite certain people for so many different and irrelevant reasons. As one of the guests said it should just be ‘Great Mates’ who are invited.
At the age of 60 we should know who our true friends are and there is no need to invite to impress. Some of the guests may be relatively new to the friend’s list, as this list is constantly evolving due to so many factors. We love people who we have already, we move home and lose touch, we gain transient friends due to certain events. A classic example is the parents of our children’s school friends. At the time they were integral to our lives but time moves on and our paths separate; however if the friendship is a good one it will survive. We leave school with maybe 20 friends but we probably only maintain a handful of them. We gain…we shed. It is a constant ebb and flow.
One major difference now to then is that it is so much easier to keep in touch with many more friends. I personally have re-found friends from my past through Facebook. The other difference is that this generation of children enjoy socialising with their parents and friends. Age now has no barriers. There is not such a generation gap. In my day I would have done anything to avoid a party given by my parents. The invitation would have been accompanied by a three-line whip and the party would have been fairly dull.
The hosts’ children, their partners and some of their own closest friends were all at the party. Each and every one of them was heard to say that it had just been ‘the best weekend’, as they departed back to London on the Sunday.
My friend’s daughters were heavily involved with the organisation and worked hard to make the party a success. At the dinner they were all spread out amongst the older guests and were entertaining and engaging. No guest was disappointed to be sitting next to one of the young. The young inject so much enthusiasm and positivity into one’s life. They partied until they dropped, there was no turning into a pumpkin or retiring at midnight. They danced and sang, they laughed and loved. The hostess said they were her best friends too. It was a wonderful mix of ages and a joyous occasion all round.
With celebrity lives celebrated in every medium, it was heart-warming to enjoy a truly family event. It must be even more challenging as a celebrity to maintain true friendship. Friendship cannot be bought, it is always a work in progress and it has to be appreciated. Most importantly friendship must be celebrated whenever we can and through these celebrations wonderful memories are made.
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