The friends we sought out were so hospitable to us unexpected guests. They invited us in, offered us beer, and we had a nice impromptu evening watching the kids yell "bouncy ball!" as they beamed each other in the head with an inflatable basketball (by the way, the kiddo is a pretty persistent door-knocker... world, watch out when it's Girl Scout cookie time in a few years!). I initially felt really rude knocking on their door - as if we were an intrusion into their evening plans (which we probably were). But they let us in anyway, and for that we're grateful.
My point with this story is that hospitality doesn't always have to be planned. It's more of a mindset - a willingness to engage with other people, and to take steps to make them feel comfortable and at ease. I often forget that lesson, and I buy into the modern-day perspective that hospitality = big parties with color-coded themes, favors, and entertainment. Truth be told, there's a lot of good on both ends of the hospitality spectrum, whether it's dropping in on a neighbor for a cuppa Joe or a lavish wedding for 400 guests.
That said, I still like planning parties. And if you're anything like me, you love a good party planning tool. I'm going to develop one of my own someday soon, and I'll give it away to you here. But first things first - I have to figure out what I think is helpful and necessary in a party planner. Even though I throw lots of parties, I don't currently have a system. So, I've done some research. Without further adieu, I offer you a printable party planner roundup. This is some of the best that's out there right now. I hope you will find some of it useful if you have a big event coming up in your life. Just don't forget (I'm talking to myself here too) that there are always opportunities for micro events every day. Don't be afraid to knock on your friend's door.
In no particular order: