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Articles Related To Party Planning

Apr
24
2013
by Rebecca Hoskins

These famous words begin the greatest two minutes in sports. The Kentucky Derby has been a traditional horse race held at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. Folks flock to this Kentucky town to watch the two-minute race and share in the celebration that traditionally includes roses, hats and mint juleps. We may not ever be able to join the folks in Louisville, but we can create our own celebration steeped in tradition to share with our friends. A few enthusiastic friends, some mint juleps, hats, roses and appropriate food are all you need.

How To Celebrate The Derby At Home

I like to give six couples a week or two notice that we will be celebrating the Derby at our home. This gives the ladies time to find a hat or embellish one they already own. Notices can be sent by text or email. If you want to be real fancy, handwritten invitations are the way to go.

If you are only sending five or six invitations, it isn't that much trouble. The note might read something like this:

" Please join us on Saturday, May 4 at 2:00 p. m. for a Derby Day party. We will be serving mint juleps and traditional Derby food. Ladies get your best hats ready. We look forward to having you enjoy the race with us. Best, Jane and John Doe "

Starting your celebration at 2:00 gives your guests plenty of time to enjoy libations and food while visiting before the 4:00 race begins. The men in the group may even want to make up a betting pool, but I always leave that to them. Men always seem to know better about those things.

On to the Libations and Food…

I am fortunate to have 12 silver mint julep cups. Well, actually 4 of these are what my mother referred to as Jefferson cups, but the size works here. If you don't have any silver, glass is the way to go as glass julep cups are used at the official Kentucky Derby.

Now, the key to a mint julep is to use crushed ice. I don't crush it myself as a local fast food outlet will sell a 10 lb. bag to me for a couple of dollars. Mint is a must have for this drink and I also grow mint in my yard, but you can get this at your local grocery store. The mint julep makes this party truly festive.

Mint Julep

Serving Size: One Mint Julep

Crushed ice

2 tbl. mint syrup (Recipe Below)

2 oz. good Kentucky Bourbon

Chill glasses.  Fill with crushed ice. Add 2 tbl. mint syrup, 2 oz. bourbon. Stir and serve. Garnish with a mint sprig.

Mint Syrup

2 cups granulated sugar

2 cups water

1 bunch of mint

Combine sugar and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes without stirring. Remove from heat and pur over a handful of mint leaves and crush with a spoon. Cool and refrigerate syrup overnight in a closed jar. Remove mint leaves. Will keep in the refrigerator several weeks.

Serve this traditional drink with pimento cheese sandwiches, cucumber sandwiches and I like to do something substantial like ham and biscuits. The pimento cheese can be made 4 or 5 days ahead, as well as the spread for the cucumber sandwiches. The ham can be cooked several days ahead and set out to come to room temperature. The biscuits can be cooked early in the day (I use the frozen ones and they are great). If you feel the need for something sweet, lemon bars can be made ahead and will be a good addition.

It is always wise to serve enough food to keep your guests from leaving your home inebriated. Also, I always have other drinks available as not everyone will partake of the mint julep. Wine, beer, and lemonade should suffice. As you will know your crowd, you can decide what they might drink.


Run for the Roses

Roses, as many as you can cut or afford, should be everywhere. Roses should serve for the centerpieces for the serving table, cocktail table, powder bath, etc. This is the run for the roses after all.

With a little effort on your part, your friends will enjoy this party so much that they will look forward to the next year with much excitement. Get your best hat ready and  give yourself some time to organize this great party so you will be ready for those three famous words "and they're off".

Dec
26
2012
by Kelly Curtis

Now is the time to start planning our your parties for 2013. It's always easier and stress free when you plan. So, why not start planning now? By planning early, you can secure your date before anyone else, start searching for party decorations, and find inspiration for party themes. Wedding and Party Network has a few tips for planning your parties for 2013.

Party Tips for the Year 2013

  • Sit down with your calendar - What holiday parties, special events, charities, birthday parties, baby showers, or bridal showers do you have to plan for the year 2013? Figure out the dates and when the best time to have it would be. Planning it early lets you secure those dates for your venues and you won't have to plan around everyone else if your event was planned months in advance.
  • Secure your event venue - Once you have settled on a date, start researching venues. There maybe a special venue that you wanted to secure last year but it was booked. Be sure to call NOW to make sure you reserve your space.
  • Find inspiration for party themes - Now that you have secured your date and venue, start finding inspiration for your party themes. Find out what's trending on the party circuit and see if any of those themes would be perfect for your events. Search party blogs, websites, and magazines for any inspiration you may find.
  • Once you've settled on a theme - Since you've picked out a party theme, start scouring your local party store or online for party decorations, party invitations, and other detailing that might go perfect with it. You can search for great deals and save more when you plan early.

Planning parties for the upcoming year will truly ensure a stress-free party season.

This post is brought to you by Houston Party Planners
Not in Houston, TX? No worries, use Wedding and Party Network's handy party planning directory to help you find party planners near you!

Wedding & Party Network Newsletter

Dec
07
2012
by Kelly Curtis

Volume 3 Issue 12

5 Last-Minute Holiday Tips

Seasons Greetings from Wedding and Party Network! It's that time of year again and holiday parties are in full swing. Are you finishing up those last-minute touches on your holiday party? Well, here are some great holiday tips that will make sure your party is fantastic.

  1. Prep Ahead – Don't worry about what to do when party time gets here. Prep as much as possible beforehand. However, this comes with careful menu planning. More than likely you won't have to do a ton of decorating since your holiday decorations will already be up. So, you can spend most of your time prepping the food. Chop up what needs to be chopped or even put the dishes together. That way, the day of the party you'll just have to spend most of your time heating the food up.
  2. Keep it Simple - Making your party over complicated is a sure way to bring on the stress. Keep it simple. It's about good friends and good times.
  3. Friendly Get Together - If you've invited a large crowd, not everyone will know each other. Make it a point to introduce everyone.
  4. Make it Fun for All  - Don't get caught up with the party food, decorations, and drink planning. Make a holiday playlist and consider finding a holiday game. This gets everyone involved and more acquainted with one another. Plus, it's fun!
  5. Enjoy Yourself - Don't worry about making sure if everyone else is having a good time by running around the entire night cleaning up a mess, getting more food, or making more drinks. If you're not having fun, neither will your guests.

Remember, this is a party full of good holiday cheer, friends, and fun. So, relax and enjoy.

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Holiday centerpiece (Flowers Plus), Holiday birthday cake (The Cupboard), Christmas decorations (Bloomer's Inc), Christmas tree ice sculpture (Krystal Kleer Ice Sculptures, LLC), Holiday arrangements (Flowers Plus)

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Oct
30
2012
by Kelly Curtis

November is the month for Native American Heritage. It's the time to celebrate the culture and the influence that Native Americans have on America. It's a great time to learn more about their culture, food and remember Thanksgiving as well. Wedding and Party Network has a few tips on how to celebrate this holiday.

Brief History

How did this holiday come to be? In 1990, President George Bush declared the first National American Indian Heritage Month on August 3rd. The purpose of this holiday is to recognize the original people of this land. American Indian and Alaska Native people have a part of American history and this holiday is to recognize that.

How to Celebrate

There are many ways to celebrate this holiday. Whether you are catering it towards children or even adults, there are great ways to celebrate for both. If you're celebrating with children, read a book that displays the culture of Native Americans or read the story of Squanto. Once you've read them a book, discuss it with them. You can also let them watch a movie about it as well. If you would rather opt out of the movie, spend that time creating crafts. You can easily let them color pages, design a Navajo rug, create totem pole, a tomahawk or incorporate feathers into crafts. This can even be a great time for the children to tell the tale of the first Thanksgiving day between the Indians and Pilgrims.

If you're an adult wanting to celebrate, think about hosting a dinner party that revolves around the food that was served amongst the Native Americans. Think about creating a variety of cornbread, buffalo, fry bread, Indian pudding or Indian tacos.

This is a great holiday to celebrate. Get your friends, family and all the children together and have a great time.

This post is brought to you by Miami Party Caterers
Not in Miami FL? No worries, use Wedding and Party Network's handy party planning directory to help you find party caterers near you!

Indian headdress via Wikimedia Commons

Oct
16
2012
by Kelly Curtis

Are you looking for a fun party theme for a birthday party or even a class reunion? Of course, there are many out there. You can find various party themes, party colors or decorations. Wedding and Party Network has a great party theme that will take you back to high school.

Theme of this party - Really, the idea behind this party is to grab some of your friends together that you are close with or you may not have seen in awhile and center it around high school. It's a time when you and your friends can relive the good ole' days.

Invite your guests - For your party invitations, include elements of high school into it. Pom poms, glasses, books, footballs, basketballs, instruments or make it a chalkboard themed invitation. Tell them to dress up as some high school stereotypes or maybe what they were known as in high school. It may have been the jock, band student, honor roll student or cheerleader. It would be fun to relive that aspect in high school.

Party decorations - How do you decorate for a high school party? Break out the foam fingers, pom poms, signs like you used during pep rallies, textbooks or even maybe some cheesy prom decorations. Whatever you decide to use, make sure to incorporate something fun that everyone will remember. Hang signs on the wall, decorate the tables with foam fingers & pom poms and incorporate textbooks into the centerpieces.

High school food - What did you eat in high school? Does macaroni and cheese, chicken nuggets, chips, jello, sandwiches, pudding, nacho bar, pizza, candy, chocolate milk in milk cartons, tator tots and brownies. Basically, everything junk food inspired. Don't forget to serve the food in the cafeteria lunch trays too. This makes for a fun addition to your party.

Party activities - Besides reminiscing on your found memories of high school, there are some games to incorporate into the party as well. Think about having a photobooth where you can take yearbook photos or have people vote on the most popular and who ended up being just what they planned in high school. It can be fun categories or really see how everyone's life has turned out so far and if it is what they expected.

This party is great for birthdays, class reunions or just because. Get all your friends together and remember the high school days like they were yesterday.

This post is brought to you by Miami Party Photo Booths
Not in Richardson, TX? No worries, use Wedding and Party Network's handy party planning directory to help you find Halloween Decorations near you!

Megaphone photo via Westside Shooter

Sep
26
2012
by Kelly Curtis

Planning a birthday party is a special event in everyone's life that happens yearly, especially for your children. Finding a party theme that fits their personality, style and your budget is important. Most importantly, finding the right theme. Have you ever looked for inspiration in the books that you read to your children? Do they have a favorite? One book that comes to mind is "Oh, the Places You'll Go!".

This party is absolutely adorable and is a childhood favorite for many. Take influences from the book for your party decorations, food and maybe even a few activities.

Of course, start by creating party invitations that represent the Dr. Seuss style that the books are well-known for. It holds the time, location and the details of the party. Draw inspiration from the books, especially "Oh The Places You'll Go". It's all about the swirls and colors for this book.

It's all about whimsy with this party, so incorporate that style with your party decorations. Make balloon bouquets in pink, turquoise, yellow, pink and green. Place balloons throughout your venue. You can even make cute little hot air balloons for a whimsy feeling. Just find a basket, which you can then fill with some of your party food or party favors, and tie the balloons to resemble a hot air balloon.

Find vintage suitcases, which again you can use to display party food or favors in. Use maps in your party decor as well. Hang them up on the walls, use them as your wrapping paper or use them as a table-cloth for the party. They can be fun and colorful or have a vintage appeal. Use globes and signs that point in all sorts of directions. The party decorations should definitely tell the whimsical story of this book.

For your food, make it all about the birthday girl or boy. You can go with finger foods or color coordinate the food to match the party. Make cookies with swirls, colored & flavored popcorn, candy bar, cotton candy cupcakes and an adorable birthday cake. The birthday cake should definitely be the center of attention. Talk with your local bakery and they can come up with a show stopping cake for your party.

This party is absolutely adorable for all ages and great for graduation parties too. Just have fun with it and make sure to make it bring whimsical.

This post is brought to you by Houston Party Caterers
Not in Houston, TX? No worries, use Wedding and Party Network's handy party planning directory to help you find wedding invitations near you!

Sep
17
2012
by Bethany Combs

When hosting a party, your home is often where you feel most comfortable entertaining and if you live in an apartment or small house, you may feel like you don’t have the space. This doesn’t have to be the case! Wedding and Party Network has a few suggestions for making your intimate gathering a success.

Who to Invite — If you are entertaining guests with a movie or sporting event, only invite as many guests as you can seat comfortably since they will stay seated in a central location for several hours. If you plan to have guests ‘mix and mingle’, you can expand your guest list. When hosting a small party, introduce new acquaintances to old friends. This intimate setting will put everyone at ease.

Party Layout — For a ‘mix and mingle’ event, create areas for guests to gather by clustering your living room furniture around the edges of the room. Also allow guests to sit in several adjoining rooms. For a movie-watching crowd, aim your furniture at the TV for optimal viewing!

Party Food– Create a buffet on your kitchen counter and a drink station nearby. Guests won’t all have table space, so provide finger foods or something that isn’t messy. Crowd-pleasers include slider sandwiches, cocktail weenies, a cheese ball and crackers, fruit and vegetable trays, and creative desserts. Search Pinterest for yummy treats like yogurt dipped strawberries or Coke float flavored cupcakes. With a small crowd, you can try out new recipes without going over budget.

When hosting a party in your small space, remember that guests feel comfortable in a cozy and inviting atmosphere.  Light candles with homey scents such as vanilla or pumpkin spice and greet guests with a smile. This will put visitors at ease and ensure for a smooth and successful event!

This post is brought to you by Houston Party Caterers
Not in Houston, TX? No worries, use Wedding and Party Network's handy party planning directory to help you find party caterers near you!

Cherry coke float cupcakes photo via Pass the Sushi

Sep
12
2012
by Kelly Curtis

It's tailgating time. However, not everyone enjoys tailgating. Some girls love football, however, others don't enjoy it as much but they are dragged to it because of their significant other. So, how can you make the experience more fun for girls? Wedding and Party Network has a guide for tailgating for girls.

What to eat. A lot of tailgating food can be a bit fattening and high in calorie. Are you trying to watch your weight, like most girls? You are at least trying to find something that is not soaked in grease. Well, get together with your girlfriends and plan out a skinny menu. The guys can bring their own food, while you bring something that is tasty, low cal, yet still in the gameday realm of food. What about a skinny pizza bar? You choose the toppings, which most of the toppings are low-calorie, but where the fat is at is the pizza dough. So, you can cut the calories by offering pitas. They are still delicious, gameday friendly and fewer calories.

Also during gameday, people tend to go with dips, which can also have calories. So, research on Pinterest, and find some low-calorie dip recipes like guacamole or fresh salsa and learn how to cut the calories by using Greek yogurt instead of mayo. There are great ideas. Also, don't forget about the drinks. These can have calories too or you may not be a fan of what the boys drink. So, come up with some unique punch recipes.

For dessert, come up with some fun cupcake ideas. Again, you can find healthy alternatives like using almond flour, no sugar and almond milk. However, this maybe where you want to splurge and even go with a Guinness cupcake with cute football cupcake toppers.

Gameday entertainment that is for girls. If you aren't that interested in the game, plan some gameday activities for you and your friends that will hold you over while the guys are wrapped up in the game. If you and your friends are into the new fashion trends, which is dressing up your nails, have a tutorial setup where everyone can paint their nails to look like footballs. However, you can also plan some games to play too.

When the girls are looking for something fun to do while the guys watch football, the girls should plan their own fun tailgate.

This post is brought to you by Houston Party Caterers
Not in Houston, TX? No worries, use Wedding and Party Network's handy party planning directory to help you find party caterers near you!

Pizza bar photo provided by Oh Party.

Sep
10
2012
by Kelly Curtis

Tailgating is a fun experience for all. You spend time with your friends, family, get ready for the game, much on some delicious tailgating food and play some games. This can definitely make your football experience a more memorable one. However, if you're in charge of your tailgate party, you need to come prepared. So, Wedding and Party Network has put together the top 5 tailgating tips that you must remember.

The early bird gets the worm. Show up early to stake your claim on your tailgating location. The closer the better for some or you may have your favorite spot picked out that's located next to your friends. Plus, you need time to start cooking, play some games and just get the overall experience of tailgating. Don't forget, you can always come back to your tailgate after the game too.

Find a good parking spot. Finding the right parking spot can definitely make your tailgate better. You may try to find a spot next to a grassy area that even has a tree for some extra shade and you will have one less car to worry about that's next to you. Plus, it will give you more space. Don't forget, you may have to pay for some parking too, so make sure that's in your budget.

Follow the rules. With tailgating, there are some rules you must follow. Clean up after you're done, no unattended grills or even no smoking maybe some of the rules. Find out beforehand. Some may not allow alcoholic beverages, no glass bottles or you must recycle. Follow the rules. This makes it much more fun for everyone in your group, as well as everyone around you.

Be a planner. In order for your tailgate to be successful, you must plan ahead of time. If you're in charge of cooking, plan out the menu and don't forget to bring the grill. However, if you're not the only one cooking, delegate who will be cooking what type of food. Or you can take the easy way out and have it catered. Plan out what time you will get there, when to start cooking, how many cars you may want to bring, set up a tent if you want, utensils, cleaning supplies, games and don't forget the TRASHBAGS.

When it's done and over with, pack it up. You brought the stuff out there, now it's time to clean up and get ready to go. Take everything you bring in. Make sure you can dispose of all your trash properly, storage for your food, clean your grill and dump out charcoal properly. You can pour your melted ice over the charcoal or dispose of it with aluminium food tins. Just make sure you clean up your space and take everything that you brought with you.

Tailgating is a great experience, especially when you follow these top 5 tailgating tips.

This post is brought to you by Houston Party Caterers
Not in Houston, TX? No worries, use Wedding and Party Network's handy party planning directory to help you find party caterers near you!

Aug
09
2012
by Kelly Curtis

Everybody's favorite week is approaching fast. What is that? Of course, it's shark week! It starts on August 12th on The Discovery Channel and is exactly what it sounds like, it's all about sharks. So, to celebrate, why not host a shark themed party? There are super fun party decorations and food that you can enjoy while sitting around the television watching Shark Week. And Wedding and Party Network has a few ideas to help you along the way.

Fun Party Invitations - If you want a super simple, yet fun party invitation; first cut out shark fins. Next, write Caution: Shark Week, and give your guests the details of your party. You could also come up with a fun saying related to Jaws, however, it's completely up to you. Just let guests know what your party is all about.

Shark Themed Party Decor - Create an ocean setting in your home. Think all things you would find at a beach. Make your party colors blue, bring in some blow up palm trees, coconuts, bring in the kiddie pools and feel them with sand and water, hang beach balls, paper umbrellas, fishing nets, shark sighting signs, shark fin centerpiece and don't forget about the shark fins. A fun idea is to take blue paper and hang it up behind the food table. Next, cut out shark fins and glue them on there to create an ocean setting with shark fins coming up from the water. Just bring the elements of the beach into your party and you're set.

Shark Inspired Party Food - There are so many fun idea for your food, you will definitely have to pick your favorites. You can easily serve up your favorite appetizers and snacks. If you're serving sandwiches, find a shark cookie cutter and make them into shark sandwiches. Also, don't forget to add some Goldfish to your snack mix. For your fruit platter, it's always fun to take a watermelon and carve it into a shark. Take a watermelon, cut it in half with a slight angle, cut out a shark mouth wedge, hollow out the watermelon, cut shark teeth, use a blueberry for an eye and fill it with fruit. Here is a fun tutorial.

Next up for the dessert, there are fun ideas. Create delicious cupcakes, use blue icing and create waves and place a fin on top. To pair with these cupcakes, create another one that features fine ground up Graham crackers to create sand. Also, create jello with gummy fish in it, except feature it in an actual fish bowl. Blue colored candy, salt water taffy and you can even feature pudding cups that are colored blue and have a shark floating around in it. Don't forget to visit with your local caterer and even your bakery and they will for sure come up with some unique food and desserts.

Next up, just sit around and watch the exciting shows of Shark Week. If you have some kiddos attending, you can even create a shark fin of their own and have a few games set up outside. However, it may be just as fun watching and learning from The Discovery Channel.

This post is brought to you by Houston Party Caterers.
Not in Houston, TX? No worries, use Wedding and Party Network's handy party planning directory to help you find party caterers near you!

Watermelon Shark photo via Sun Scholars

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