Welcome Guests with Inviting Front Door Decor

Photo credit Pottery Barn via Pinterest
One of the basic tenets of successful event management is to create an environment ... to offer guests a positive impression and, depending on the event, to establish the theme of your party.  The environment might be your living room, private dining room or ballroom.  Regardless of venue, the room should incorporate the look and feel of the party.  One tactic, especially, if you have to stretch your budget, is to focus on the entrance or reception area.  For example, front door decorations like the photo above would be so inviting for a fall gathering!

 I'd love to hear from you about your front door/party entrance decorations.  If you have an idea to share or opinion on the topic, please leave me a comment.


'Ritas and Ribs

Have you ever been stuck, creatively challenged to come up with a birthday party theme?  Sometimes, I am, too.  My go-to strategy is to evaluate the guest of honor's interests and hobbies but another option is to consider their favorite food and drinks!  That's what my client did when she hosted a birthday party for her husband.  She invited guests to a BBQ and Margaritas party, which I finessed into a 'Ritas and Ribs party!

Other festive food and drink pairings include:
Wine and Cheese ...classic!
Beer and Brats ...Oktoberfest?
Mimosas & Muffins ...Sunday Brunch?
Scotch & Chocolate ...fit for a man!
Champagne & Cupcakes ...sophisticated celebration!
Mistletoe & Martinis ...office holiday party!

When in doubt, how about Sips and Dips?!!

So back to 'Ritas and Ribs ... if you want to host your own, then please read my September newsletter, party possibilities!  I've included all the details plus lots of photos.

Was this article helpful to you?  If so, please leave me a comment and let me know.


{sneak peek} Let the Ghoul Times Roll!

I'm so excited!!  Tomorrow is the first day of Autumn, which means I can comfortably talk about holiday parties ... including the cutest little Boo Bash I'm hosting next month!!!

Every year since my oldest daughter could barely walk, I've hosted a Boo Bash!  Held outdoors with fun activities, delicious treats and fantastic entertainment, it's our family's annual celebration.  This year's theme is Let the Ghoul Times Roll, a Halloween party with a twist of Mardi Gras.  Children will enjoy beading Halloween necklaces and decorating frightful masks, as well as eating mini beignets with apple cider.  The highlight of the party will be an Jazz Trio, who will interact with the children, play our favorite Halloween songs and make spooky sounds on the instruments.  Interesting idea?  I think so, too!

To make this theme really work, I needed a strong graphic image for my invitation and eventually, party decorations.  With a little bit of guidance, the talented ladies of Frog Prince Paperie, Paula and her colleague Renee, designed the invitation pictured above.  Isn't it fabulous?!!! 

Have I inspired you to host a Let the Ghoul Times Roll Halloween party?  If yes, you'll want to order these invitations, now available on the Frog Prince Paperie etsy store ... and leave a comment to share your party ideas!


{in season} Pumpkin Spice Yumminess!

Love Starbuck's Pumpkin Spice Latte?  Me, too!  After a quick coffee fix last week, on a rather chilly Friday afternoon, I started thinking about fall, pumpkins and parties (not necessarily in that order!).  I envisioned sipping hot lattes with friends around an outdoor fire pit or perhaps sharing them with out-of-town guests at a post-wedding Sunday Brunch. 

Whatever you envision, if you want Pumpking Spice Lattes at your next fall party, below is a yummy beverage recipe, plus a few dessert recipes, to inspire a tasteful celebration!

Pumpkin Spice Syrup for Pumpkin Spice Lattes
Recipe from Cook Like a Champion

1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 cinnamon sticks
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 tablespoons pumpkin purée

Combine water and sugar in a medium pot over medium heat. Cook until sugar has completely dissolved. Whisk in remaining ingredients. Cook for about 6 minutes, stirring frequently. Do not allow mixture to come to a boil. Strain syrup through cheesecloth into a large glass measuring cup. Transfer to bottle of your choice and store in the refrigerator.

To make a pumpkin spice latte, simply add about 1 1/2 tablespoons of syrup for each shot of espresso. For an iced latte, stir together syrup and espresso before adding desired amount of cold milk. For a hot latte, add frothed milk and stir to combine. Top with whipped cream, if desired.

Pumpkin Spice Truffles
Recipe on Annie's Eats

Pumpkin Spice Whoopies

Pumpkin Granola


{event showcase} Party Animals! Birthday at the Zoo

Last month, I produced a party for a sweet little boy's 2nd birthday at the Reston Zoo!  The result was colorful and playful and so much fun.  Here are the details in case you need a little birthday inspiration:

The Reston Zoo is an attractive park with clean pavilions, super staff and great entertainment like wagon rides and animal shows, as well as petting and visiting the animals ... but my client wanted a little more - like festive decorations, catered picnic lunch and nicer goodie bags.  So this is what I created ...

We leveraged the colors and animals from the invitation (top collage, middle photo) and incorporated them into decorations, birthday cake, even the disposables.

To bring the Zoo-fari experience to life, I covered the picnic tables in natural burlap and placed plush animals in red square boxes embellished with fresh tropical greens on top.  I added pops of color with clusters of paper lanterns and a large welcome sign.

As children arrived, they received a safari hat, toy binoculars and animal crackers, as well as feed for the animals which I placed in a colorful striped handle bag from Target and embellished with a "Don't Feed the Animals" tag.

Children were invited to visit and feed the animals before a private wagon ride through the park and then, an animal show at the pavilion.  The Zookeepers brought a baby lama, an iguana and little chick for the children to explore.

After the animal show and much hand sanitizer, guests were invited to a picnic lunch that included assorted sandwiches, sliced fruit and bags of kettle chips. 
My camera died before lunch so I didn't get photos of the picnic buffet or desserts but these adorable fondant animals topped the 8" smash cake and cupcakes; you should have seen the piggy's squiggly tail!  Assorted cookies and bars were also offered.

As children were leaving the party, they received a goodie bag filled with an animal coloring book with animal shaped recycled crayons, an animal paperback book and trinkets from the Zoo.  The goodie bag is a gift tote (again, from Target) embellished with a strip of burlap, red curly ribbon and a  yellow notecard.  Super easy!

Contributing vendors included:
Reston Zoo
Windows Catering
Two Sugar Babies

So what did you think of my client's enhanced Zoo party?  Did it inspire you to celebrate at the Zoo?  Please leave me a comment to let me know!


{fall cocktail parties} Verrines

Have you ever heard of a verrine?  I discovered verrines last night when I was flipping through my new Viva Terra catalog and was intrigued by the photo above.  Nice presentation, yes?  A quick Internet search revealed that verrines - not be confused with terrines - are sweet or savory dishes made by artfully layering the ingredients in a clear glass container.  Kind of like a parfait but the ingredient combinations, not to mention color, texture and flavors possibilities are endless!

According to my research, verrines are very popular in France; in fact, most of the recipes I found were in French.  I guess this trend has been slow to reach the United States (or maybe we're calling it something else?), but I think the presentation would be great for a fall dinner party - a layered colorful salad for the first course or a deconstructed apple pie for dessert, either served in a stemless wine or martini glass.  Other serving containers might include shot glasses or cylinder votive holders. 

For more information about verrines and inspiring ideas for your fall party, please read this NPR article, Verrines: A Glass Act.

So what do you think about verrines - fun presentation or too much effort?  Please leave me a comment to let me know!