Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Seaside Vacations: End of Summer Outdoor Dinner Party

As the summer quickly comes to a close, we can reminisce on the vacations we took, the great food we ate, and the friends we spent countless hours with. Beach vacations are usually a call for some great seaside cuisine. As Labor Day approaches in the next 6 days, this weekend is an excuse to bring back some of those memories for a last hoorah and host a smashing good time in your backyard with some of your closest buds for a Summer Outdoor Dinner Party.

Party Basics:

There are few essentials that come to play when organizing a smashing good party.
  • Venue
  • Entertainment
  • Decor
  • Guest List
  • Food & Beverage

and last but certainly NOT least....


VENUE: For the purposes of today's post and the reason for the season (**yes one of my faves is the holidays and holiday entertaining is the absolute BEST....only a few months left**), we will set the venue for the festivities to be held in the quaint backyard, deck, or patio of your home. Setting the scene, its a fairly large space to hold comfortably about 40-50 guests for your dinner party, complete with high boy tables, rounds for comfortable seating and a dance floor too!

ENTERTAINMENT: The entertainment for the evening, would be a nice mixture of contemporary music. From various genres so that everyone in attendance is comfortable. Since this is going to be an adult affair, lots of mixing and mingling of acquaintances will happen so there is no need for anything too formal for this casual gathering of friends coming together for a end of the summer shabang! **Hint....a live band wouldn't set well in this casual affair**

DECOR: I absolutely love piecing together arrangements for parties. For this fun and festive occasion, you would definately need lighting to get through the rest of the night. So some hanging lights, maybe some chinese lanterns hanging from the trees and white lights lining the fence. On the tables, I'm a lover of round tables, but have white/aqua linens with some small votives illuminating the space as well sitting atop glass chargers. In the votive centerpiece, since we are remembering our Seaside Vacation, include some sand or blue marbles to resemble the water aspect of the beach.

GUEST LIST: Wrapping up the summer festivities, including your closest friends and some work acquaintances it should be a great time! A simple evite is the easiest way to communicate your upcoming event and also be able to keep tabs on the RSVP's....a must in party planning.

FOOD & BEVERAGE: Time to eat! Having an array of finger foods, kabobs, and anything else that will just give your guests a little bit to eat, mix and mingle....cocktail style. You don't have to have anything heavy, it is a party you know! To drink....I'm all about the siggy drinks. Since this is a seaside vacation remembrance dinner party, incorporate a tropical paradise alcoholic or you can make it non-alcoholic as well. It's your party, engage your guests as much as possible and make it fun. Of course, have some other non alcoholic options for your guests who are non drinkers.

Last Point......BUDGET (but it really comes in first before ANY planning can begin). Your budget is your single handed most important piece of the puzzle. For any event, big or small, you have to know the funds your are working with to make it come together. When you have your total number, then you can find out which direction you are going to go for the pieces and which is most important in your party to WOW your guests.

After you put all these pieces together, don't forget to thank your guests for coming at the end of your smashing good party!

Happy Labor Day!

Until next time....