Beyond futons and chip n’ dip
Tired of stale chip n’ dip party fare and want something more, dare we say, mature? Here are some easy ways to take your events to the next level, that don’t take the fun out of funnel (beer is still welcome).
Theme It Up!
Sometimes the most memorable parties are the ones with an underlining theme: Halloween, New Year’s Eve, and birthday parties. But when you’re inviting the gang over for any old Friday night, give them a groovy idea to plan for. Not only does it substantiate your event, your guests will appreciate the effort you’ve gone into organizing and hosting the event before it even starts. Here are some ideas to start you off:
A Roman Party: Make Caesars for your guests, throw together some Caesar salad, and ask your friends to wear togas.
Winter at the Beach: Throw a beach party in the middle of winter where your guests wear sarongs, flip-flops, and you serve shrimp and mojitos.
Take You on a Cruise: Make it a cruise night for your guests with a Captain’s cocktail hour, buffet foods, and karaoke entertainment.
Guitar Hero-a-Thon: Get together as many guitar hero players as you can, team your guests up and have a competition for the best players. The cuisine can be similar to a rock star’s rider, with bottled beverages on ice, finger sandwiches, and power bars.
Focus on Decor
As convenient and crafty as cardboard boxes and dollar-store tablecloths might be, you’re ready for real serving utensils and accessories for your guests. Here are affordable areas where you can spend a little for maximum impact:
Serviettes: Forget passing the roll of paper towels (or, dare I say, tissue paper). Buy a box of proper serviettes for the appetizers and cocktails that match your party’s theme.
Dishes: No more slapping down the pizza box on the table and yelling, “Eat!” Invest in matching melamine or ceramic serving trays and bowls to showcase your dishes.
Centrepieces: It’s not what you put in the centrepiece, it’s that you made it that counts. A vase filled with lemons, candy, or a few floating flowers will do wonders for your table.
Bathrooms: It’s funny how you never remember the cleanest bathroom you’ve ever been in, but you probably remember the worst. Make a good impression with hand soaps, hand lotion, and freshly folded, clean towels for your guests.
If you can locate your kitchen, you’re ready to graduate to cooking for your guests. Here are some twists to classic no-fuss foods that take your party menu to the next level:
Guacamole: You know it as “guac” and this avocado-based dip is both easy to make and highly impressive for your guests. Recipe courtesy of foodtv.ca. http://www.foodtv.ca/recipes/recipedetails.aspx?dishid=7525
Salsa: Your days of opening up a can of expired salsa jars are over—nothing beats fresh, homemade salsa served with baked tortilla chips. Try out this tangy recipe courtesy of foodtv.ca.
Pizza Pie: This pizza pie recipe blends together familiar ingredients in a delicious pie form that tops pizza delivery any day. Courtesy of foodtv.ca. http://www.foodtv.ca/recipes/recipedetails.aspx?dishid=6409
Beer Float Desserts: Here’s a novel idea that girls AND guys will love that combines two of the most important food groups: ice cream and beer. It’s easy to make and your guests will be pleasantly surprised by the combination of flavours. (Straws are optional.) Courtesy of foodtv.ca. http://www.foodtv.ca/recipes/recipedetails.aspx?dishid=4649
It only takes a little prep work to organize a beverage area for your guests to mix and mingle. Here are some great tips to create a one-stop bar area that keeps people from bumping into each other by the fridge:
Map it out: Designate a table or countertop space just for drinks. Get a waterproof tablecloth to prevent spills from seeping into your furniture and remove any chairs or stools that get in the way.
Tool time: You’ll need to equip your drinks table with standard equipment so guests can help themselves throughout the evening. For this, you’ll need an ice bucket, ice, tongs, glasses (for wine, mixed drinks, and beer), serviettes, a garbage bin, big cooler with ice, straws, wine bottle opener, and beer bottle opener.
Pop cultures: While it’s a responsible and friendly gesture to equip your drinks area with an assortment of non-alcoholic drinks for those who prefer mocktails or water, it doesn’t have to be boring. Try lemon-infused club soda, old-fashioned root beer, and orange pop.
The Proper Goodbye
Throwing a grown-up party means you have to follow through from start to finish, ensuring your guests arrive and leave safely from your event. Keep a list of taxi numbers handy, escort your guests when they leave, and be sure to thank them for attending.
Written By: Melissa Jenkins-Gray