Tips to throw a summer party (on any budget)
From event planner and local entertaining expert Alison Hotchkiss:
- Pick a theme and stick with it through out the entire party- from Lobster Bake to Mexican Fiesta or an ice cream social, summer is the time to get creative and have fun with local food and fresh flavors.
- One you have decided on your theme- sit down and make a list of everything you associate with that experience from specific smells to color. Define what makes the theme special or unique and write it all down. For example, a lobster bake is very New England, lots of red, white and blue, galvanized buckets, fresh corn on the cob, a classic American feel. A Mexican fiesta on the other hand is more ethnic, you might think about bright colors (orange, yellow, blue and green), sombreros, piñatas and authentic Mexican cuisine such as big bowls of guacamole or chips/salsa.
- Once you have your theme and list head to the local dollar or discount store. You will be surprised what you can find on the cheap from color plates, table cloths to decorative napkins. Use your "inspiration" list to make sure to stay focused and purchase items that with collectively create the ambiance and décor of the party.
- Remember to work with your venue- from roof top, local park to patio or backyard, accentuate and fill up your entertaining space with big floor pillows, wooden benches or big checkered blankets.
- Serve a specialty cocktail. Instead of trying to stock your bar with all your friends favorite liquors (which can be expensive and a waste of time) serve one specialty cocktail for the evening. If you're having a Mexican fiesta offer fresh margaritas, at a lobster bake, you could serve spiked blueberry lemonade. There are quite a few all natural cocktail mixers on the market that are low in calories, come with a recipe on the bottle and are super easy to make at home. Prepare big pitchers ahead of time so you don't have to spend time making the drinks during the party and you can enjoy your guests.
"Destination Wedding Planner: The Ultimate Guide to Planning a Wedding from Afar"
Trotting the globe with a wedding dress in tow is no small feat. This Destination Wedding Planner takes the mystery out of staging the perfect destination wedding by outlining all of the essential information that couples need to know. Professional Destination Wedding Planner Alison Hotchkiss gives expert advice on everything from choosing the location and setting a budget to managing the production from afar and preparing guests for the big event. Helpful worksheets and checklists make organization a breeze, and roomy pockets are included for stowing documents or odds and ends. Whether the location is the bride's old hometown, a tropical island, or anywhere in between, adventurous couples can be sure they'll get hitched without a hitch!
Alison Hotchkiss, a Destination Wedding Planner, has planned over 100 destination weddings. She lives in San Francisco.