Archive of ‘entertaining’ category

A Beautiful Pink Mother’s Day Brunch

As we all gear up for Mother’s Day, I started reminiscing about the ways my sister and I tried to honor our mom on this special day.  We would make her breakfast in bed and try to get her anything she wanted.  I’m sure all she really wanted was to sleep in and just chill or spend the day alone at a spa.  However, if you are hosting your mom and grandma this year, here is a  beautiful, pink brunch for Mother’s Day.

A special Pretty in Pink Mother's Day celebration.

Check out this gorgeous Mother's Day table in pink, white and rose gold.

This glam tablescape is set in pink and rose gold for a special Mother's Day celebration.

I asked you guys on Facebook how you spend your Mother’s Day. Lots of you based your gift around flowers. Planting flowers, trees, and fixing up flower beds for your mother was a reoccurring trend.  Also there were other family traditions like strawberry picking and going to the beach that made that day extra special. No matter how you spend your day, being with your mom and spending the day as a family is the key.  Here is a pink Mother’s Day table that works for this day, but can be used for any special day or party.

Pretty in pink tablescape set for a Mother's Day celebration.

You know I love black and white, but when I throw in an accent color it is usually blush pink.  When I use pink, rose gold is just a perfect metallic to compliment that color. I also used that color combo one Christmas. You can check that out here if you missed it.  I got my inspiration for this table from Monique Lhuillier’s Pottery Barn collection.  I already had the Emma dinner collection plates from Pottery Barn.  I love them.  Having a classic set of white dishes allows you to accent your place setting with any color when you’re hosting a dinner party.

Celebrate your mother this Mother's Day with this gorgeous pink and rose gold tablescape.

The pink floral salad plates are from Target’s Opal House line.  I will be using these plates in my outdoor kitchen reveal in a couple of weeks.  I am so excited to share that post with you. You won’t want to miss that one!

Pretty in pink tablescape set for a Mother's Day celebration.

The wine glasses and the gorgeous blush Linen Hemstitch Napkins are both from Pottery Barn.  

Pretty in pink tablescape set for a Mother's Day celebration.

If you are a Mother, I wish you a very happy Mother’s Day.  I hope you get a little rest and relaxation on Sunday.  Have a great day doing whatever traditions your family does to honor you on this special day.

Yours Truly,

Jenn

A Special Graduation Celebration

My daughter has just finished her first year of college and I’m reminiscing about her graduation party as I post these pictures.  I wanted to do this last year, but if you are going through this now, you know how busy and stressful senior year and everything that goes along with it can be.  I will warn you that I was VERY emotional for about 4 months prior to the graduation.  I guess the preparing and anticipation really got to me.  Going through old pictures, hearing the songs that would play, and buying things for college just really made me a mess.  However, I did not cry on graduation.  So there is hope for those of you that are feeling very weepy out there. Get it all out now so you can enjoy that day and share it with your family and friends.  That day was truly special and I felt I was present in the important moments of the day.  I hope these tips will help you have a great experience too.

Planning an amazing party for my daughter who was an honor graduate at her 2017 high school graduation.

Our family was so proud of my daughter at her 2017 high school graduation.

Gorgeous white flowers for a high school graduation party.

Black and white color palette for my daughter's high school graduation party.

Tips for Throwing A Grad Party

  1.  Listen to your child.  They know what kind of celebration best suits them.  I am very over the top when I throw a party and my daughter is the exact opposite.  She would be happy putting out a Chick-fil-A tray and having a couple friends over.  I wanted to be able to mingle with everyone so I did have it catered, but I did do it low key like she asked.  We didn’t do a DJ or other party extras that I would normally do.  We had close friends and family and I think she was a lot happier.
  2. Don’t have it on the same day as graudation. One of the best things we did was have it the next day.  Some people even had it the weekend before, but we had lots of family in from out of town so this didn’t work for us.  Graduation day was so busy and hectic that we wanted to enjoy that and my daughter wanted to attend her friend’s parties too. This also gave me the day to pick up flowers, balloons and other last minute items.
  3. Delegate if you can.  People really do like to help.  If you can and feel comfortable, designate people to pick up the cake, balloons, and flowers.  This will really save you time while you are doing last minute things at the house.
  4. Set up the party in an Open House format. This type of get together allows people to come and stay as long or as little as they want.  We knew Saturdays in June were valuable family time so we wanted there to be little pressure.  A lot more people popped since we had this type of party. I know at least five people that came by and stayed about 15 minutes to let her know they cared and brought her a gift.  However, they had other parties they had to attend or their child had games that day.
  5. Do the extra pictures you want several days before.  I don’t know about you guys or how your graduations are held, but our city does them all in one location at the local college. They give you time for one high school and then get yours out and the next high school is literally scheduled right behind you. You know all the cute pictures you see on Pinterest that you noted that you wanted to do like throwing up your cap or of you and your family doing something staged? I suggest you stage these at your house a couple days before.  Do your hair and make up and get a couple good ones knocked out that you really want.  Then you will have time to actually look at them and see if you got some good ones.  Then do other ones quickly on the real day and that’s all you will need.Black, white, and teal wreaths for my daughter's high school graduation.

Black, teal and white backdrop for my daughter's high school graduation party.

I hope this day is all that you and your child imagined.  It can be a really good experience if everyone keeps their cool.  The more you plan in advance the better it will turn out.  Remember it is a day for all of you, but you want it to be special for your child.  I hope it turns out wonderful!

Yours Truly,

Jenn

How to Host a Cookie Exchange

The holidays can be so busy with the hustle and bustle of decorating, shopping, wrapping, and family obligations that sometimes I wish I had a little time to enjoy seeing close friends during the holidays. What better way than to get some baking done while enjoying a little “girl’s night”  With your closest buds. To read about ways to deal with December without going crazy, check out that post.  Here are some logistics on how to host a cookie exchange and the things I like to include when I’m hosting.

Host an amazing cookie exchange for your friends at Christmas. yourstrulyjenn.com

INVITES

I have found inviting 5-7 people makes for enough cookies for everyone, but a small enough group to make it an intimate gathering.  I found some really cute invites on Etsy and Evite that could possibly match your theme.  As you know I don’t do anything without a theme in mind.  Keep in close contact with your guests.  RSVPs are a must for each person to know how many cookies to bring.  Each person will also need to tell you what cookie they are bringing so there aren’t any duplicates.

PROCEDURES

Let your guests know the amount of people to bake for and how much for each person.  Usually the rule of thumb is to bring 6-12 cookies per person attending and 12 cookies for tasting. You will also want each guest to write out or print a recipe card for each guest.  As a hostess, you should have extra cards out for guests that may have forgotten to bring their recipes.  This helps just in case there is someone who has food sensitivities or dietary restrictions.  I always try to make a clean eating cookie so there is a healthy option.

Host an amazing cookie exchange for your friends at Christmas. yourstrulyjenn.com

DISPLAYS

Setting up the tasting table is always my favorite part.  Anything dealing with decor really gets my creative juices flowing.   You will want to have cake stands, trays, platters, and apothecary jars of varying heights and sizes.  Then you can bring in colors of linens that go with your theme. Adding small details to your table with give it the look you are going for.

Make sure you have supplies like: bags, tins, boxes, labels, scissors, hole punch, twine, cellophane, baggies, ribbon, and paper plates for guests to pack their cookies to take home.  You can find tons of this stuff at the Dollar Store or on sale after Christmas.

Host an amazing cookie exchange for your friends at Christmas. yourstrulyjenn.com

BEVERAGES AND FOOD

You will also want to have a beverage station with plenty of options for your guests.  After talking all evening and tasting lots of cookies, your guests will be plenty thirsty.  I like to have coffee, tea, water, soda, wine, and milk.   I also like to put out other appetizers like a veggie tray, fruit, and something else savory to balance out the sweet.

Host an amazing cookie exchange for your friends at Christmas. yourstrulyjenn.com

Don’t forget as a thank you favor you could give out little cookie cutter favors, or whisks and spatulas.  It just adds a nice touch for your guests.  Having a holiday play list going throughout the party is also a nice touch.  I hope you are having a wonderful December.

Yours Truly,

Jenn

Winter White New Year’s Eve Celebration

Are you hosting a New Year’s Eve celebration this year or are you going out?  We usually don’t do much on this night.  We usually stay in with our kids and ring in the New year in our jammies watching the Dick Clark Rocking New Year’s special.  However, I do like to take down my Christmas table and set it up for New Year’s. I knew from the start I wanted my table to be all white. We always do a midnight toast to ring in the new year and I love to set goals and get pumped up for the year ahead.

I have to say I love my table this year.  I kept the greenery from my Christmas table which you can see here if you missed it.  I love using some of the same materials from other tablescapes.  It makes setting up the next one that much easier. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel.  You can make things look beautiful without having to own a china store.

Silver and white New Year's Eve tablescape 2017

One of my goals this year is to try my hand at flower arranging.  I figured why not try to make the NYE flowers for this tablescape.  I wanted to use all white flowers which were harder to find then I thought.  I had to go to four different grocery stores to find enough flowers for what I needed, but it was worth it in the end. I was so nervous that I would waste all the money I just spent on those gorgeous flowers. In the end, I was happy with my first attempt.  I have a long way to go, but you have to start somewhere.  What new things are you going to try in 2017?  I would love to hear them.

Plates and champagne flutes from Homegoods

I love this silver and winter white combination.  The crystal candle holders are from Crate and Barrel.  The plate and champagne flutes are a Home Goods purchase.

You can use the same greenery you used at Christmas for your winter decor. @yourstrulyjenn.com

As you saw in the Christmas post, I used the same greenery, white artificial flowers, as well as the same chargers.  However, this table took on a completely different look.

This is my first attempt at flower arranging www.yourstrulyjenn.com

I set out my artificial flowers and greenery in advance and then put out the fresh flowers right before my event.  I always try to use some kind of fresh materials. Please leave me a comment below and let me know what your goals are for 2017.  If you are going out on NYE please be safe and drive carefully.

Yours Truly,

Jenn

Tips for Stress Free Holiday Entertaining

I love to entertain especially around the holidays.  With all the decorating, shopping, and events to attend; it can be quite overwhelming to prepare your home for a party.  I have come across several things that have helped me over the years and I wanted to share these tips with you.  I always say work hard, but work smart.  You don’t have to reinvent the wheel.  I hope something in this post will be new to you so you can implement it this holiday season.

Holiday entertaining doesn't have to be stressful. Here are some tips to help you entertain. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

Tips for stress free entertaining

  • SET THE TABLE DAYS IN ADVANCE–  Wash up all your dishes and arrange your table several days before your party.  This way you can see if you have everything you need and if your vision will turn out the way you “think” it will. Use a faux center piece and then add fresh flowers or other pieces at the very end so they keep their luster.
  • IF YOU CAN, HAVE YOUR PARTY CATERED- This is the best investment you will spend.  You will be able to mingle at your party instead of filling food trays.  Also most caterers will have items that you can rent from them like linens, tables, and decor.  This makes everything so simple for you.  They also have servers so it really takes the work off of you during the party.
  • USE WHITE DISHES- If you don’t have white dishes that is what you need to invest in.  Having white china and everyday dishes has really helped me when coming up with tablescape ideas during different seasons.  I have been able to change my themes easily because I have a neutral background. I can change out placemats, napkins, and centerpieces while adding pops of color to match my themes.
  • USE CANDLELIGHT TO CREATE BEAUTIFUL AMBIANCE- I love using candles on my tables for added light and to create a beautiful atmosphere.  I have a ton of candles.  I have the tapered kind for my crystal holders, but I also have the battery operated candles that are so easy to use.  They can be turned on by remote and are great for seasonal decorating.
  • CHECK YOUR BATHROOMS DURING THE MIDDLE OF YOUR PARTY- I always go through the restrooms in my home to make sure the bathroom is working properly and is clean.  I empty the trash, make sure the toilet is clean and working properly, and I check to make sure there is enough soap, toilet paper, and guest towels.   It’s also important to empty the trash.  This doesn’t take long, but is noticed if you don’t do this.
  • USE SOME KIND OF CHRISTMAS SCENT IN YOUR HOME- if you don’t have a real tree it’s always cool to have the scent of a real tree in your home.  Candles are an easy way to make your home smell great.  I like the pine smell, but I’m obsessed with my home smelling like I’ve baked all day.  Anything by Bath and Body Works that has vanilla bean in it will smell fabulous.  I love Merry Cookie and Gingerbread Latte for the holidays.
  • HAVE A FABULOUS PARTING GIFT FOR YOUR GUESTS- It’s always nice to give your guests a token of your appreciation for coming out to your party.  It takes effort to get all dressed up and leave your busy schedule so something special when you leave a party is a great idea.  It doesn’t have to be anything big.  Something just to say, “thanks for coming out.”
  • HAVE A BARTENDER ON HAND OR MAKE SIGNATURE DRINKS BEFOREHAND- This one is similar to having a caterer.  You don’t want to be behind the bar mixing up signature drinks all night.  Hiring a bartender makes sense so you don’t have to be watching the drinks all evening.  This will take a lot of stress off you.
  • HAVE SEVERAL DESIGNATED PLACES FOR TRASH- Check on trash often.  You don’t want the trash overflowing.  Especially if your party is inside your home.  I like to put several trash cans out in major locations so they are easy to find and are near the “go to” areas.
  • WATCH THE TEMPERATURE- Most people want to have a roaring fire going for ambiance, but lots of people are wearing velvet outfits for Christmas parties.  I actually turn on the AC at these kinds of parties.  There are so many people placed in a couple of rooms and it can get quite warm.  It’s the worst to be warm at someone’s home.  Think about this ahead of time and how you will handle this.

What kinds of things have you learned from hosting your own parties?  I’m sure you have several tricks up your sleeve that you’re willing to share with us.  Leave a comment below if you have a great tip to share. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!

Yours Truly,

Jenn

 

A Rose Gold Thanksgiving Tablescape

I can’t believe we are already in mid November.  I love November for many reasons.  It’s my birthday month, Thanksgiving is near and Christmas stuff starts showing up in stores. But the thing I like most about a blogger’s November is I get to see so many holiday home tours from my favorite sources of inspiration. I didn’t do a fall tour this year, but I would love for you to check out last year’s tour. This year my Thanksgiving tablescape revolves around rose gold metallics. I am obsessed with rose gold.  I wear it whenever I can and I am using it in my home decor as much as possible.  You are going to see it in most of my holiday decorating themes for the rest of the year.  I truly believe that you should use the things that make you happy in your home.  We know that fashion dictates trends in home and color trends. I think your home decor should reflect your style.  I try to change up one of my trees each year to incorporate colors that I’m excited about.

A Rose Gold Thanksgiving Tablescape by www.yourstrulyjenn.com

I also try to decorate my tables to match my tree’s theme and color palette. My tip to you is to get a set of white dishes and serving pieces.  Even my fine china is a classic cream color with just a simple band of gold trim.  This makes it so much easier to change your themes depending on the seasons and your changing style.  Then you can add pizzazz or pops of color with dinner napkins, placemats, and table runners.

I love the copper leaves I found at Michaels craft. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

My copper mugs from Target and and Copper hammered chargers from Wayfair were key pieces to pull off this rose gold look.  These are very inexpensive pieces that really set the tone for the look I was going for.

A mixture of faux pumpkins finish off this looks. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

Dough bowls come in handy for so many reasons.  I actually use this smaller one for my husband’s stuff in our mudroom.  He keeps his keys and wallet and other important things from his pockets in here. I have several, but this one is the perfect size for a centerpiece for this table.  They are so popular that you can find them in almost any catalog.  This one came from Ballard Designs.

img_7203 The fall colored foliage gives the table a fresh look. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

I picked up some dusty miller, fall foliage, and pomegranates at my local grocery store to help finish off my centerpiece.  I love using natural materials in my tablescapes when I can.  The velvet pumpkins I found on clearance at Target.

Adding pomegranates to the mix really finished off this look.

This tablescape is so different from anything I’ve done before.  I hope you liked it.  I’m going to use some of these items to create my Christmas table.  I really believe you should reuse what you can and shop your home before spending money on specialty seasonal dishes.

I love these fall colors together. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

I would love to connect with you.  Check out my Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook.  I share frequently on these platforms and you can keep up with me.  Thanks for stopping by.

Yours Truly,

Jenn

Labor Day Last Summer Hurrah

I’ve been enjoying all your back to school photos on my social media, but my kids don’t go back to school until the day after Labor Day.  We are milking every bit of this summer vacation for all it’s worth.  We just got back from a relaxing week long vacation at Hilton Head.  We met my husband’s family there and rented a house together for the week.  It was such a great way to spend our last summer hurrah.  My kids parasailed, paddle boarded, swam, relaxed and ate a ton of amazing food.  It was nice to have a relaxing beach week before getting back into schedules, waking up early, and homework. We also got to enjoy some much needed family time before everyone is going in a hundred different directions.  This year I’m going to have a senior and a freshmen.  This is going to be one CRAZY and EMOTIONAL year for me.

Labor Day Last Summer Hurrah www.yourstrulyjenn.com

I look at September as my New Year. I like to set goals for myself and organize everything. My favorite thing of all is buying office and school supplies. I just love new supplies. If they’re miniature that’s even better. My office will be the most organized and stocked in September. I am going to have this one last outdoor tablescape for Labor Day weekend and then my posts are going to start shifting to prepare for fall. Since it’s right around the corner, I’m kind of looking forward to sweaters, football, boots, and cozy fires.

Black, white, and chartreuse green outdoor tablescape. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

My theme for this year’s outdoor furniture was black and white and I accented with pops of color through my accessories such as pillows, umbrellas, tablescapes, and dishes. Having the black and white theme made it easy for me to add any color I wanted to match different holidays or themes.

Black and white Market umbrellas and Frontgate Balengia chaise lounges. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

Whether you have started school or are about to start, I hope you can enjoy your three day weekend with your closest friends and family. Do the things that make you happy and inspire you. If your kids start school on Tuesday, September 6th like mine do, I hope you have an amazing day.

Pops of chartreuse green pillows and monogrammed dinner napkins complete this outdoor look. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

 Yours Truly,

Jenn

My Favorite Finds of the Week

I can’t believe we are halfway through the summer.  There are so many things I still want to do with my kids.  I love to see fall clothing in the stores, but I literally cringe when I see the school supplies.  I’m not ready for that yet.  I haven’t done a favorite’s list in quite a while because I have been focusing on my book chatter reviews.  I have several things I want to share with you guys.  I want to give a shout out to my Son’s basketball team the Virginia Marlins.  They had a great run at the National tournament this past weekend.  They came in 2nd place in their bracket. It was an honor just to be invited to that tournament. As you can imagine, I have no voice left and I’m worn out so let’s just get started with this list of faves.

My boys at the 2016 National basketball tournament in Hampton VA. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

If you’re looking for a new store to shop for your teen you have to check out Amazing Lace.  My daughter has ordered some clothes from there and she had really good luck with their stuff.

Looking for a healthy snack? Check out Chobani Flips. There are 13 flavors that crush the worst cravings.  If you want some ideas on how to use Chobani at your next party, check out my Entertaining with Chobani flips post.

I looked way too long for pillows for my back yard without much luck. Then I found Elemenopillows on Etsy. They have a great supply of colors and patterns for indoor and outdoor pillows and pillow covers.

We are redoing our back yard this year and purchased new Balencia bronze chaise lounges and cushions from Frontgate. They are so comfortable and they look amazing around the pool. If you want to check out the mood board that I used to start this project, I would love for you to check out my Florida Room Challenge post.

We are redoing our back yard and I love using black and white as the main color scheme. These chaise lounges from Frontgate are my favorite new purchase. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

 

Check out these Pineapple Party Plates from Anthropologie.  They are only $6 and can be used for so many occasions.

I was so thrilled to find the exact bedding I envisioned from Crane and Company.  I was able to snag it for a great price to complete decorating my room.

Fixate cookbook by Autumn Calabrese is a great way to start off the 21 day Fix.  I finished the  program and have been eating clean for about 3 months now.  I love it.  This cookbook will help you with meal ideas so you don’t get bored from eating the same things over and over.

Do you have any new stores or items that you have discovered recently?  I would love to hear about them.  I’m always on the look out for new products and stores to check out.  You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.  I would love to be friends.

Yours Truly,

Jenn

 

Entertaining with Chobani Flips

The summer is heating up and if you’re like me you don’t want to stay cooped up in the house.  We just had a big Fourth of July party, but I would love to have some smaller more intimate get togethers. If you want some summertime party ideas, I have just the cool refreshing treat to keep your guests happy.  I have been eating healthier these days and so has my family. I have found that there are certain desserts that are super healthy without sacrificing the taste.  Have you ever thought of using Chobani Flips at a party? Why not use what you already love to make yourself look like an entertaining rockstar?

Entertaining using Chobani Flips in your treats. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

Chobani has 13 amazing Flip flavors. These Flips are all the craze with adults and kids.  The yogurt is on one side paired with great combinations on the other side.  Then you just flip these incredible ingredients in the yogurt and you have a pairing that is healthy and will crush any craving you have. Think of some classic pairs like Mac and Cheese, Peanut butter and Jelly and hamburgers and fries.  Soon you will become very familiar with all of Chobani’s new Flip pairings. THEY ARE THAT GOOD GUYS.

Using fruit in your yogurt is a healthy addition. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

I used their flow chart to see what category of Flips I would like most. I fell in the sweet N sweet category. Use the chart below to figure out what path leads to your flavor soulmate.  This is just a guide to help you with some of your first choices when trying Chobani. I’m obsessed with the Salted Caramel Crunch flip. Eating this actually gave me the idea to create a parfait bar. I love the way bars are set up so you can personalize your own dessert and make it exactly how you want it.  They are perfect for showers, Mother’s Day gatherings, and brunch.

Chobani Flavor Soulmate Chart www.yourstrulyjenn.com

A Chobani Flip parfait bar is actually quite easy to set up.  I got these adorable dessert glasses on clearance at Pier 1.  They make this simple dessert look so fancy.  Your guests will think you’ve been slaving in the kitchen all day setting up this bar. The great thing about Chobani Yogurt is you can use it year round. So this bar can be used for any type of gathering. Bar set ups bring your guests together while they make their parfaits and it’s a great way to mingle with everyone you’ve invited. Making sure I speak to every guest is just as important to me as having the right food at my party.

Try the Salted Caramel Crunch. It's my favorite. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

Seasonal fruits make great toppings for bars. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

Summer is an amazing time to put together your bar because there are so many seasonal options. Of Course you will start with your favorite Chobani Flips and then whatever toppings you think would make great combinations. I love to use granola, fruit, nuts, and anything else I can think of.

A parfait bar makes for a great dessert at a party. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

On your next shopping trip try a Flip flavor that you think you would love.  My favorite one is only 190 calories and is packed with pretzels, chocolate, and praline pecans.  There aren’t many snacks for that caloric amount where you get to savor sweet and salty treats like that.

Yours Truly,

Jenn

 

 

How to Start Planning A Big Party

My husband and I entertain quite often, but our big party every year is the 4th Of July.  We really get into the fireworks and have it catered so I can mingle and enjoy our guests.  It takes a lot to pull off having large numbers of people at your home, but there are key points to planning any party that can keep you on task and organized prior to the big day.

Secure All your Vendors

The first thing I do is secure all my vendors (DJ, caterer, party rentals etc….).  I have done this for so long now.  I just go back to my party notebook from last year and see what worked out and what I would like to change.  Actually most of the companies call me now and say, “Are you having your party and should we secure this date for you?”  It’s actually kind of nice when you do an annual party and you use amazing people.  You take care of them and they take care of you.  I’ve had the same DJ and caterer for 4 years now. Getting someone you’re comfortable with really helps take that part of the entertaining off of me.  I like to roam around and greet everyone and feel like part of the party.  If I’m constantly refilling food dishes then I really can’t  be with my guests the way I like to.  I just say the word and choose my theme and we work on a menu together to create the right feel for the party.

Here are some pictures from last years’ party!!

Sailboat from 4th of JULY 2015 party

The menu is something I spend extra time getting it just right.  I feel like the food really sets the tone for your party.  You want to have food for adults, but items the kids would enjoy as well.  I also have some “old favorites” that are requested every year like the mini funnel cakes and fried oreos that I have to have or I would have some very disappointed guests. If you are in the Hampton Roads area and are looking for an amazing caterer check out Chesapeake Bay Catering.

If you can’t have your event catered here are some tips to think about when planning your food set up.

  •  Keep your menu items simple.  You don’t want to spend your entire time in the kitchen.
  • Think about the food prep and how to keep it cold/hot.  Your food can be the most amazing dish, if it is supposed to be hot then you want it to stay hot for the guests.
  • Try to prep as much food prior to the party as you can.  This will help you save a lot of time the day of your party when you’re running around finishing last minute details.

Dessert and drink station 2015

Once I have all my vendors locked down and know for sure the party is going to be happening on a specific date then I work on invitations.  I still like to use evite. They have the free ones still as an option, but they also provide a premium version if you want something with a little more pizzazz. For this fourth, I was able to find a free one I liked.  Then you just gather your guests’ list and start emailing your evite out. The evite keeps a tally of who has replied to your party and who still needs to respond.  I like this because it gives you a place to look at a quick glance for a head count.  I like to send out my 4th of July evites a month in advance because it is a holiday.  However, I don’t expect the RSVP until a week before because people are still making their holiday weekend plans. Some people already know they will be out of town and I have found those people tend to go ahead and let you know that immediately.  This always helps me get a head count to give my caterer as an estimate.

Love using layered tiers to put my food out so everything can be at different heights.

For the 4th of July we always do fireworks at the end of the party, but I think you need to have some kind of entertainment set up whether it is structured games, a pool, water games so people have something to do.  I like to keep a loose timeline for the way I want the party flow.  These are some of the things I like to include in my party timeline.

Sailboat and food- 4th 2015

Party Timeline

6:15 Dinner is starting to come out

7:00 first structured game

7:30 DJ run songs to get crowd going

7:45 dessert and candy station go out

8:00 structured game

9:15 Fireworks

That kind of gives you a look into how I would run my outdoor party.  Of course any inflatables or water games would be going on simultaneously.  I hope this gives you a little peek into how I plan my parties.  If you have any tips or ideas on party planning I would love to hear them.  Leave me a comment below and I will get back to you.

Yours Truly,

Jenn

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