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

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Hosting an Upscale Cookout

The weather is warmer, spring is officially here and it is time for cookouts! Cookouts  are always a great way to catch up with friends and family in a relaxing and casual setting. As a host, of course the great part of a cookout is the low maintenance in the planning and execution of it all. However, while it is a low maintenance event, there’s always room to scale it up, make it a cookout that stands out among the many we will all be attending this season.

No matter the occasion, graduations, Father’s day, birthday or just a get together with friends and family you can turn your cookout into a upscale yet casual event!

When planning your next cookout, keep these simple enhancement techniques in mind:

Presentation, Presentation, Presentation

Keep food cold and decorative using planters.

Keep food cold and decorative using planters.

Continue reading

Bathrooms…The Forgotten Space

Bathrooms always seem to be left off the list of spaces to decorate when planning events. Whether at home or in a venue, the bathroom is an important place to pay attention to. Think about the relaxing feeling you get when you step into a four star hotel restroom. Soft music playing, pleasant scent, luxurious soaps. That’s the feeling you should aim to give your guests.

Make sure it smells good. To keep a very consistent pleasant scent in the restroom, place a lit fragrant candle in a corner. Make sure to keep the candle away from any corners or spaces that might accidentally cause a fire. If you’re hosting in a venue, make sure to see if it is against their policies.

Bring in some life. Everyone loves a fresh bouquet of flowers. Place a nice fresh bouquet on the vanity for a pleasant surprise to guests. If you’re hosting in a venue, be sure to put them in the men and women’s bathroom. Men are special guests too.

Light the way. When entertaining at home, it’s always a good idea to keep your bathroom identifiable. If you don’t have multiple forms of lighting in your bathroom, consider getting a few of the battery operated tea lights to provide a soft light in the bathroom. Having the bathroom lit up with the door open will avoid lost guests wandering into random closets and private bedrooms.

White. The color of hospitality. People tend to associate the color white with hospitality. This is why you always find white fluffy robes and towels in hotels. Bring the feeling of hospitality to your guests with nice white towels in the bathroom. They don’t necessarily have to use them, but a nice basket of white hand towels along with nice paper napkins to dry their hands off will make a great difference. Again, this is a nice addition to venue restrooms, if they don’t already provide additional décor.

Go the extra mile. If you have a small iPod deck or radio, have some light music playing. It’s easy to hide it behind a basket or stick in the corner. This is sure to add a wow factor for your guests.

The Essentials. Everyone needs a little refresher. Create a basket with a few essentials they may need throughout your event. Include items such as, Shout Wipes, mints, feminine hygiene products, bobby pins, body spray, first aid kits, lint roller and anything else you can think of.

Also, when entertaining at home, keep additional supplies out in the open. Have a small basket with additional rolls of toilet paper, napkins and even soap and lotion, so that you aren’t stuck refilling them in the middle of your event.

The moral of the story? When planning an event remember to think about your guests entire experience. From the moment they, to the moment they leave and all the wonderful moments in between.

The Seasons are Changing…Let’s Prepare for Fall

Trust me, I am the first person to hold on to Summer until the last and final day on the calendar. But I’m taking this opportunity to give you a peek into what you can expect from Beyond the Essentials this fall and help you prepare for your own fall events and parties.

Changing Seasons Tip: Now is the time to buy all of the summer party supplies and decor. The end of the season is the time to take advantage of the sales and clearance. Just don’t forget to use them next summer!

Fall is the time for pumpkins, apples, leaves and sweatshirt Sundays. This season you can look forward to blog posts helping you plan out your Octoberfests, Football Sunday Parties, Halloween Parties, Campfire Gatherings and my favorite of them all, Thanksgiving.

We’ll enjoy recipes and ideas for comfort food, pumpkin and apple baked treats and delicious warm beverages.

I’m looking forward to a new season of event inspiration, I hope you are too.

So, please don’t rush and miss out on our final days of summer! But during these brisk evenings, start getting excited about all the fun Fall will bring!

Entertaining at Home…Preparing for Attending Kids

It’ll happen at least once, you have your adult get-together planned out. Wine glasses, cocktail menu and your best plate set all ready to go. A few days before, you get a call from your best friend asking if it’s okay for her to bring her daughter. Oh No, You weren’t really planning on entertaining children. Don’t panic, just take action with the below tips and you will still have the great get-together just as you planned!

Have kid friendly foods and drinks. Even if there is only one child attending your event, a good host(ess) always has accommodating food and drink for the little ones present. It can be as simple as chicken fingers and tater tots with some apple juice.

Bonus: Make sure you have plastic/paper utensils for the children, to avoid any accidents.

Have the appropriate space for “ baby tending “. Depending on the age of the child, it’s important to have some space in a private area for any baby tending that may need to be done. It can be your bedroom or a spare bedroom, but it should be clean and have a comfortable flat space for any diaper changes, or naps.

Prepare activities. Most parents will bring toys for their child to play with, but in case they don’t purchase some for them. If you’re expecting a group of kids you can gather some coloring books and crayons or an friendly board game. If you’re a host who doesn’t have kids, it would be worth it to just invest in a few small child friendly toys for when the babysitter cancels on your guest at the last-minute.

Relax. We all know with children comes surprises and accidents. If you’re worried about any breakable items, store them away and relax. If some of your guests have to leave early due to children bed times, it’s okay, relax. Enjoy the entertainment that children always bring to a party.

Do you have any tips for entertaining with children? Leave a comment and share.

Entertaining at Home…What to Invest In

So you want to start entertaining at home? Trust me, it’s not as time consuming or complicated as one might expect. One of the first steps to entertaining at home and giving your guests a great experience is making sure you have all the right supplies. Here are a few key items to invest in to make entertaining easier on you.

1. Serving Platters and Bowls. Let’s face it, when we’re rushing to welcome guests, the kitchen is the last place we try to keep clean. What’s the key to keeping your guests out of our messy kitchen and in the living area enjoying themselves?  The key is serving all of your delicious dishes all at once on serving platters. Yes, I know it adds to the dishes to be cleaned at the end of the night, but your guests will appreciate the effort.

Another great thing about investing in serving plates and dishes is that you don’t have to have a color theme or keep with a prominent theme in your home. Don’t get hung up on having to have matching serving ware, you can certainly get away with an eclectic variety. (Photo: Crateandbarrel.com)

2. Cocktail Glasses. Start with the essential wine glasses and then add martini and margarita glasses to your collection. For the obvious reasons, cocktail glasses allow you to serve your guests cocktails in their appropriate glasses. Cocktails glasses aren’t just used for drinks though, you can use them to serve a variety of dishes and desserts. (Photo:thebakingbeauties.com)

3. Serving Utensils. Make life easier for you and your guests by having the appropriate utensils for each dish being served. Key items to look out for: a large slotted spoon, large fork, large spoon, and tongs. Having the appropriate utensils along with their corresponding dish, eliminates you running to and from the kitchen, trying to find a fork or spoon for serving.

4. Pitchers and/or Beverage Containers. When you entertain at home, it should be entertaining for you and your guests. The best way to enjoy yourself as a host is to limit the amount of work you have to do. Such as telling people what you have to offer them to drink or getting up to show them where they can find the lemonade in the refrigerator. Pitchers and beverage containers allow you to keep all of your beverage offerings out and available. With a few creative ice ideas, you don’t have to worry about keeping them cold either. (Photo: marthastewartweddings.com)

You don’t have to rush out and purchase all of these at once, just pass through the home goods section the next time you’re out shopping and see what you find!