Spring has sprung and summer is right around the corner; which means party season is officially here! Barbeques, poolside fun, sangrias, sitting around the fire, and dancing—throwing spring/summer time get-together’s has to be one of my all-time favorite things to do.
The most important step in planning the perfect party is choosing your theme. The theme sets the tone for the entire party; invitations, decorations, music played, and food choices all center on the theme. For example, you wouldn’t serve tacos at a tea party; instead it should be something more fitting such as finger sandwiches and macaroons. All other elements that go into party planning should follow the theme in order to achieve cohesion. Be sure to pick something that will appeal to the demographic of the guests, and also something that you enjoy—if you like the theme then you will have more fun planning it!
---Next, pick the location. Being a Seattleite I am accustomed to rain almost 9 months out of the year, so as soon as those grey clouds clear and there is a hint of sunshine I am outside! Nothing brings more joy than spending the day soaking up some rays while having a good time with your closest friends. Whether you rent out a venue to throw your bash or simply have it in your own backyard, I am a huge fan of throwing an outdoor fiesta. But of course, make sure the location fits with your theme.---
Now that the foundation of the party is established, it is time to pick the guest list. Is this an after hours party with coworkers? A child’s birthday party? Maybe a Saturday evening get together with close friends. Either way, before you choose the semantics of the party, such as appetizers, activities, and decorations, you want to figure out the demographic you are appealing to.
Once that is narrowed down, you can choose to either create the menu or can pick out your decorations! As a personal preference, I am going to start with the decorations. First, pick a color scheme to match your theme: Mediterranean—deep sky or cornflower blue with white: crisp and clean colors. Garden party—shades of pink, baby blue, reds: think flowers. Etc.
After that, create the layout of the party before you get specific with the decorations. I like to have separate sections for the drinks, food, and desserts. Try pairing different shaped tables for each one. Perhaps a round table for the drinks or have a bar, a long rectangular table for the food, and then a smaller square table for the desserts. Where will the guests be sitting? At a long banquet style table? A plethora of mini tables? Or not sitting at all and rather a standing social event where guests are free to roam about the different social circles?
With the framework in mind, now it’s time to decorate! Tablecloths are a must. I am also a big advocator for tiered silver serving dishes—it allows guests to have full view of the options, and they’re very popular right now. Also, don’t forget to label foods and drinks if there is more than one option—you never know who has a food allergy. As for the decorations, make sure you stay with your theme and color scheme. Some universal decorations that can be used at almost any get together are paper pom-poms, flowers, decorative banners, and it’s become easier and easier to find a site with printable packages for most themed parties (party hack for those of us who aren’t super crafty or are watching our pennies!)
And now for my favorite part…FOOD AND DRINKS! Establishing a menu really makes or breaks the organization of the party. As I have stated throughout this guide: Be sure to follow the theme. See how important this element is now? An upscale taco bar for a Cinco De Mayo party or Gyros and Mediterranean salad for a Greek party. What about dessert? Create a rock solid menu with a few options whether you are serving it to them or it’s buffet style. Pro tip: if you are making the food, be sure the prep the meal and have it set up before guests get there so you are able to enjoy the fun as well!
Drinks are the first things most people go for when they arrive at the party—make them the talk of the gathering! I am a fan of having white and red sangria available for guests. Sangria is something you are able to make in bulk and won’t have to worry about constantly refilling peoples drinks. Put the sangria in a drink dispenser and allow people to serve themselves, as heavily or scarcely, as they prefer. Always have water as an option as well. Making it fruit or mint infused is always a hit.
MY perfect spring party:
Location: Bellevue Botanical Gardens
Theme: Garden party
Guest list: my girl friends. Around 10-12 people
Decorations: not much—let the nature be the artist!
One long table with a white doily tablecloth
Short vases with bouquets of peonies as center pieces
Proper table settings on floral dishwear
Small dessert table
Food: garden salad
Finger cucumber sandwiches
Chicken skewers on a bed of kale and seasonal vegetables
Macaroons on a tiered silver-serving tray
Red velvet cake
Cookies with bags next to it so guests can take them to go
Drinks: Sangria—red and white
MY perfect summer party:
Location: my backyard
Theme: Mexican fiesta!
Guest list: a mix of friends. Approximately 30-50 people.
Decorations: bright, vibrant colors such as yellow, blue, green, red, pink, orange, etc.
Separate tables for the food, drinks, and desserts.
Multi-colored linen tablecloths
Frayed banners on the edge of each table
A few chairs for people to sit in, and tall tables where people can stand and talk
Piñata—as decoration. There will be no hitting it and candy popping out.
A fiesta music station on my Pandora iPhone app
Food: street taco and burrito bar
Refried beans topped with cotija cheese
Salsa and chips
Corona and lime
Mint and strawberry infused water
See you next Friday for another stylish, glamourous and phenomenal “Color Me There” post~Tony Vincente