Inspiration Thursdays…Creative Ways to Label Food at a Party

Beyond the Essentials Event Blog - Creative Ways to Label Food at a PartyAs the host of a party, we deserve to have a good time too! But as someone commented on my recent post regarding hiring a bartender, sometimes our enjoyment is boggled down with serving our guests and answering a slew of questions, including, ” what is this? ” and ” what does this have in it?”.

When hosting an event in your home, usually you are familiar with the likes, dislikes and allergies of your guest list. If I have a guest who is allergic to a particular food item, when greeting them I tell them what on the menu was created with them in mind, and what items they should stay away from. There are usually only one or two guests with severe allergies, so it isn’t a major inconvenience on your part.

On the other hand, ” what is this?” will be asked by everyone. Here are a few creative (and fun) ways to label food for your guests. Continue reading


Inspiration Thursdays – Wine Theme Edition

Beyond the Essentials Event Blog Wine Themed Event Inspiration

I’ve been brainstorming ideas for a wine themed event that I think would be perfect for a girl’s night in, birthday party or a romantic dinner party for couples. For this Inspiration Thursday post, I’ve decided to share a few of my ideas.

I hope to fully implement these ideas into a great event, but until then…be inspired!



Continue reading

Inspiration Thursdays…Holiday Decorating

I received a request to do a post on holiday decorations. So I’m taking us on a brief detour from the cookie party planning to show you some of my favorite holiday decorating ideas. These ideas will be great to use for any holiday gathering or to just get your home into the holiday spirit!

Beyond the Essentials Blog - Holiday Decorating
I love great banister decorations! This design can easily be created to fit your own personal taste by choosing coordinating ornaments and ribbon. If you don’t want the nature feel, you can remove the branches all together, or spray paint them to match your color scheme. Not to mention these look very easy to assemble! (Photo:

Beyond the Essentials Blog - Holiday Decorating
These spray painted styrofoam balls are the perfect decoration for a large window or to front porch. (Photo:

Beyond the Essentials Blog - Holiday Decorating

I must admit, the refrigerator is always a decorating dilemma for me. I don’t want to take away the comforting feel of the home, but I also want the home to be presentable. These ornament magnets are a great way to keep your home looking like a home and festive at the same time. (Photo:

Beyond the Essentials Blog - Holiday Decorating
It never fails, there are always leftover ornaments. Grab a vase, drop in the ornaments, and that easily you have a festive and easy table centerpiece.

Beyond the Essentials Blog - Holiday Decorating

This decorating idea opened up so many ideas for personalizing the home with holiday decorating. Merry Christmas, the family last name, the possibilities are endless! You can also use individual ornaments to serve as identifying initials for hanging stockings. (Photo:

Happy Holiday Decorating!

Let’s Plan Together – A Cookie Exchange Party Pt. 2

Second stop on our planning journey: Food and Beverage

When hosting an event, such as a Cookie Exchange Party, your menu can be quite hard to decide. There will be plenty of cookies to satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth, but you want to make sure they aren’t too full to enjoy them. I found that it’s best to serve your guests a light menu, but provide enough food that they can snack as much as they’d like. Timing is also a keep factor. My party is held at 7pm which is prime dinner time for most people, so I like to have a substantial menu for guests to enjoy. However, pushing it back to 8pm moves it to post dinner time. This now provides you with the option for an extremely light menu (read: cheese and crackers) or no menu at all.

Bonus: When deciding on the timing of your event, consider your guest list and your budget. For example: my guest list includes parents and attending children, so I have my events earlier so they can still attend and not have to stay out late. And someone with a limited budget will most likely choose the later time to avoid a costly menu.

This year I’ve decided on a Dip Bar. I absolutely love stations, bars and buffets! Variety is a key to life and I love providing people with delicious choices to choose from. So, there will be six dips for everyone to indulge in with tortillas, crackers and bread. I’ve made sure to have a balance between spicy, veggie and meat filled dips to please everyone’s tastes. Please don’t be fooled, with the right dips, you can definitely get delightfully fooled from a variety of dips.

The six tips on the Dip Bar menu are:

Chorizo and Cheese Dip

BBQ Chicken Dip (as opposed to a Buffalo Chicken Dip, since I already had the Chorizo Dip)

Hoagie Dip

I interrupt this post for an important message: This dip is one of the best dips I have ever had. If you close your eyes and eat, you would swear you were eating an authentic Italian hoagie. Now back to our regularly scheduled post.

The Classic Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Roasted Red Pepper Dip

Meatball Dip

For the Bar…

This is where I have decided to tone it down than it has been in the past. In the two previous years, I’ve opened the full bar for guests to choose the drink of their choice and I’ve done signature drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic.

This year I’m going festive, yet simple. There will be a limited bar menu of wine, beer, soda and juice options and a Mimosa Punch. I always like to have something new, so that the “ regulars “ don’t get bored, so enter Mimosa Punch.

To see more of my Cookie Party inspiration and ideas check out my Pinterest Board here.


Next Stop: Layout – How to Maximize Comfort and Conversation

I’d love to hear from you! What are your thoughts on the Dip Bar and Bar Menu? Leave a comment with any suggestions and feedback!

Inspiration Thursday – Accentuating the Cake Table

Let’s face it, one of the biggest highlights of any celebration is the cake. There are the surprising gender reveal baby shower cakes, memorable birthday cakes and romantic wedding cakes. Everyone wants a delicious, beautiful cake and a cake like that deserves to be a show stopper. There are some great inexpensive and creative ideas to accentuate your cake table. Just one of these ideas is sure to give your cake center stage at your next celebration event.

Go all out with the linen. This is the time to go for that over the top, sparkled, ruffled or patterned linen.

Create the spotlight. Whether it’s candlelight, a spotlight or lighting under the table, give your cake the shine it deserves.

Create an illusion. This is one of the most elegant cake table design I’ve seen implemented recently. You can use flowers or another theme element.

Pick a great pedestal. Set the right stage for your cake with creative cake stands.

Add a backdrop. If we’re setting the stage and lighting the stage we should add the perfect stage backdrop. Cute backdrops with streamers and balloons are perfect for children birthday cakes and make for great pictures.

What’s the best cake table feature you’ve seen? Leave a comment and share!