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


If you’re going to do…A ” Dry ” Reception

You don’t always need a cocktail or beer to have a good time. Many people opt to have dry receptions for their weddings, corporate events, and especially at baby showers (we don’t want the mom-to-be to feel left out). If you’re going to do a dry reception there are some creative and easy ways to bring some wow to an otherwise dry reception.

Make it fun. A dry reception is the perfect opportunity to think outside the wine glass! Go nostalgic with root beer or coke floats. Go young and fun with milkshakes. Go seasonal with lemonade and iced tea. As long as it fits with the theme or has an element of wow, got for it! (Photo:

Make it sparkle. Who doesn’t love a sparkling, bubbly drink? Sparkling cider and sparkling water are great to add to a nice fruit juice and gives the same effect of a sparkling cocktail. Make sure to serve them in a wine or champagne glass and top it off with a slice of lemon. Perfection!

Have a ” mocktail ” instead. A mocktail is a cocktail that doesn’t contain alcohol, but is just as delicious and fancy as a cocktail. Mocktails are perfect for ladies events, such as a girls night in  or evening baby shower. They let us enjoy the cute and girly drink we all love to enjoy on those nights out.  Check this out for 10 delicious mocktail recipes.

Please join me in raising your sparkling mocktails! Cheers!

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.

Leaving a Lasting Impression

When planning an event, our goal is always for our guests to have a terrific experience. From the moment they receive an invitation, down to the last cupcake being eaten. But what about those few moments at the door, when everyone is mentioning how great of a time they had? Don’t miss this last opportunity to give your guests a great send off and a great lasting impression.

Here are a few ways to leave your guests with a great last impression from your event:

Hangover Gift Bags

Hangover Gift Bags are perfect for a wedding, bachelor/ette party or birthday party. Put together a to-go package with some must have hangover items: (Photo:

– Advil/Tylenol
– Bottle of Gatorade or Powerade
– Bottle of Water
– Eye Mask for the ladies
– Gift Card to Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks or Wawa

Photo Link

Instead of having your guests check Facebook the next day (and risk being tagged in some unflattering photos), upload all of your photos to an online album and encourage them to do the same. Everyone will be able to view the photos and pick which ones they would like to keep for their own personal albums. You can make a small card with the link printed on it, or you can shoot all of your guests an email or text with the link right after your event. (Photo:

Hot Beverage Bar (for the cooler months)

It can be hot cocoa, coffee or tea, set up a hot beverage station for your guests to enjoy on their way out. Make it nice and simple, remember they’re on their way out. Bonus: Make sure you provide to-go cups with the lids.

A few simple extras to have at the station:

Hot Cocoa: cinnamon sticks, marshmallows, whipped cream and peppermints
Coffee: flavored sugars, creams and syrups
Tea: flavored sugars, lemons and cream

To Go Beverage (for the warmer months)

Did you make a great lemonade or iced tea for your outdoor gathering? Instead of having your guests just raving about it on their way out, give them a to-go cup, complete with straws to enjoy on their ride home.

What’s the best lasting impression you’ve had from an event? Leave a comment and let me know!

Entertaining at Home – Easy Ideas that Impress your Guests

When we’re entertaining at home, our guests aren’t always expecting a grand and elaborate event. The reason we entertain at home is because we want to make our guests feel welcomed, we don’t want them to feel like one of many. So don’t stress yourself trying to impress your guests. There are a lot of easy and simple ways to impress your guests while entertaining at home. This post will focus on a simple idea, that will definitely impress your guests this summer.

Ice. And I’m not talking about Ice Sculptures.

Here are a few ways to seriously impress your guests and deliciously cool them down at your next summer get together:

Coffee Ice
Having a summer brunch? Instead of regular hot coffee, cool everyone down with iced coffee. Give your guests that extra jolt with coffee ice cubes. Simply freeze cooled down coffee in an ice tray and serve.

Want to go the extra mile? Serve your iced coffee with flavored creams and sugars! (Photo:

Vanilla Ice
This ice recipe is great for children and adults, vanilla ice. Vanilla ice will go great with Coca Cola or Pepsi, you can even serve it with the iced coffee. (Photo and Recipe:

Fruit Ice
To impress on looks and taste, simply drop a few pieces of small fruit or mint into the ice trays and serve. This ice can go well with pretty much any beverage you’re serving, soda, lemonade, iced tea. (Photo and Recipe:

Lemonade Ice
Speaking of iced tea, who doesn’t love a good Arnold Palmer? Drop a few cubes of lemonade ice in a cold glass of iced tea and its a simple and easy twist on the classic drink. (Photo and Recipe:

Don’t let the summer heat melt your summer get together plans. Cool down your guests with these cool ice ideas!  

Say Cheese! Photo Booth Fun

Who doesn’t love a photo booth?! It’s a joy for guests and hosts alike.

There are so many creative ideas you can apply to your photo booth. Check them out and see which one makes you want to say Cheese!

Don’t forget the Props

Props are one of the best ideas to implement into your photo booth. For one, they’re fun but they also allow your guests to embrace the theme of your event, the more creative the better. Props are also good for the shy guests in the crowd; you can’t help but do silly things when you have a red nose on your face. (Photo:

Some Prop Ideas:
– Baby Shower: Rattles, Baby Bottles, Bibs, fun things for guest to throw on and use.
– Mustache and Bowtie Parties: Let’s see..Mustaches and Bowties 🙂 You can do quick and easy cutouts of mustaches and bowties and have guests become the proper gentleman in seconds.
– Bridal Shower: Veils, big fake diamond rings or even ring pops. What lady doesn’t want to feel like a bride, even if only for a few clicks?
– White Boards/Chalk Boards. Want to know what you’re guests are really thinking? Grab a white board, some markers and a camera. Lets your guests express themselves. They might surprise you!

Photo Booth vs. Backdrop and Sets

There are so many photo booth vendors available that you can rent from. They’ll bring the classic photo booth in and have someone on hand to help out your guests as they enjoy the fun.  I love the idea of photo booths over backdrops, because guests usually feel more comfortable acting silly when they are behind a curtain instead of onlookers. (Photo:




You can set up a backdrop or set. Backdrops and Sets serve as the inspiration of your guests’ poses and photos. They are also a great way to have the theme or purpose of your event come through for others who might view the pictures later. For corporate events you could have a banner with your company logo or event name used as the backdrop. Or for a Housewarming party you could do a cute house set, such as the one pictured below. (Photo:

With both the backdrop and sets don’t forget to hire or recruit to volunteer, a great photographer. They should be fun, energetic, patient and most importantly great at taking photos. Especially candid shots, those are always the best ones out of the bunch.

We can’t forget the kids…and kids at heart

Let’s face it, children won’t sit still in a photo booth for long, and your set or backdrop could end up torn to pieces by the first click. So give the kids some space. Take a big inside wall or side of the house and creative a colorful and festive backdrop (and throw in a few props) to keep the kids happy and entertained long enough to get some great pics! (Photo:

Have a question or idea about photo booth you’d like explored? Leave a comment and we’ll talk about it on an upcoming post.