When I finally admitted to myself that I indeed wanted a launch party for my book, I gave my party planner (aka my mom) a budget to fit into. I’d read that launch parties can easily become expensive, and usually don’t result in many book sales. Since my mom was not only decorating the event but was also the primary financial sponsor, I didn’t want to waste my hardworking mother’s money. While I wanted the event to be special, I didn’t want to go over the top and end up financially stressed because of it.
And then wineageddon happened.
I decided I wanted wine at the event, and since over 60 people had RSVPed, I calculated that we needed 30 bottles of wine (Here’s the wine math I did: 2 hours x 60 people = 120 drinks divided by 4 drinks per bottle = 30 bottles). My mom insisted that we just buy 15, and I grudgingly agreed. After all, wine wasn’t even in our original budget, so 15 bottles would just have to do. The party was in the early evening so it wasn’t like we were dragging people away from cocktail-soaked glamorous parties to come celebrate with me.
The afternoon before the event, I was talking to my mom on the phone, and she said, “You know, I was thinking that we could go get more wine. We haven’t hit our budget limit yet.”
“Yay! I’m headed to the grocery store anyway,” I said gleefully, and hightailed it to Sprouts, my neighborhood grocery store. I felt elated as I filled my cart with 15 more bottles of wine. Now with 30 bottles of wine, we were sure to have enough for our guests to enjoy for the duration of the event.
My mom, dad, and I carefully set up the event. One of my main concerns was strategically placing the bar so that it would be easy for people to get their drinks, as I’ve impatiently waited in long open bar lines before. I’d even gone through the trouble of tracking down a family friend who was licensed to serve alcohol so that we were legally compliant and everything. My wine bar was going to be awesome!
As you can probably already tell, I was overly concerned about this wine situation. Rather than remembering that people were coming to celebrate with me, I was starting to latch onto the idea that people were excited about free day drinking. I don’t blame myself too much for thinking this, since Austin’s world renown festival and party culture can make nearly any party without free alcohol feel like a waste of time.
To my great surprise, my launch party guests did not drink all 30 bottles of wine. In fact, they drank TWO bottles of wine. No, not two bottles of wine per person—two bottles of wine throughout the entire event, and that’s probably because they felt bad that no one was going to the bar.
I was astounded at the lack of interest in drinking at my party but I was also one of the people who passed on the wine. Besides the fact that the event was in the outdoor Texas heat and at 5 pm, there was a much more appealing alternative: filtered infused water from Aquasana.
My close friends (or anyone who I’ve had over for dinner) know how much I love infused water, so when Aquasana showed up during launch party setup time with not only filtered water but also large clear containers full of ice cold water and fruit, I couldn’t wait to try out the different combinations! My favorite was lime + mint, and my sister’s was the cucumber one because, “It tastes like it wants to be watermelon, but then it’s like, ‘Heeeey! I’m just cucumber.’” (My sister and I talk a lot alike.)
So basically people drank a lot of good-for-them fruit-infused water and left the wine untouched. As much as I wanted to be indignant and embarrassed, I was secretly very happy. I felt like I had learned a very important lesson: Sometimes “enough” is too much.
In my obsession to have enough wine, I had gone out and bought way too much. I was putting my focus in the wrong place. I needed to make sure I was well prepared for my reading, for Q&A, and for engaging with my fans and friends. They weren’t there for the free drinks; they were there to celebrate with me.
Thankfully, Sprouts accepted the excess wine back—especially since most of it had never even been taken out of the bag they put it in for me! The next time I find myself wanting to overcompensate for something, I will stop and ask myself, “Is this a 30-bottles-of-wine situation? Am I focusing on the right thing right now?” It’s important that I start remembering that I’m always provided for and always have enough, because scaling back from “too much” won’t always be as easy as sheepishly showing up to my local grocery store with a cartful of wine, a receipt, and an apology.
Do you have an experience of “enough” actually being too much? Tell me about it!
P.S. Want to see the photos from the launch party? Check them out here!