We all have those spontaneous moments when we just want to do something and be around people. This, in my case, is how last-minute parties come about. I love entertaining, which occasionally causes me to act before I think. I get way ahead of myself invite guests before I even have a plan or a budget. In these instances, I have found that elegant simplicity is key.
- If the weather is agreeable, have your party outside. The natural scenery is always a lovely backdrop…and it’s FREE!
- Use candles on tables and leftover Christmas lights in trees and bushes to provide a soft glow that will contribute to a relaxed, intimate environment.
- If needed, cover tables with solid-colored, flat bed sheets. Don’t be afraid to mix and match as long as they are in the same family (pastels) or coordinate (red, white and blue).
- Pre-set tables with coordinating plates, napkins, and cutlery. While paper and plastic are acceptable, think about going green and using your everyday dishes. This is a cheaper option for you and can be mixed up with colorful linen or paper napkins. Setting the table ahead of time will keep the tables from looking bare and make centerpieces optional.
Tip: Your home can be a treasure chest! The odds and ends you already have can make the best decorations. Use an old-style clock, a wire basket with fake flowers or random picture frames to decorate seating areas or food tables. Use a chalkboard to create a simple party sign.
Not every party has to consist of several planned activities and photo booths. Don’t be afraid to depend on the much-underestimated activity of conversation. In a world overrun with technology, this is one option we often overlook. If this isn’t your favorite option, go for the classics. Hang a white sheet and borrow a projector and show a movie or set out games like Dominoes, Scrabble, playing cards and Checkers. These keep the relaxed feel, are fun and are appropriate for a variety of ages.
Food to Serve
- Drinks are the easy part. Use pitchers, bowls or larger jars (I prefer clear), to serve water, tea and lemonade. This may seem too simple, however, you can jazz them up by adding sliced fruit to all three or ginger ale to the lemonade to provide a sparkling effect.
- Making your food, instead of buying it can help you cut costs. While the thought of this may be overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be. Fall back on the classics and wow your guests with the presentation!
- Make a variety of finger sandwiches and add a touch of flair by using cookie cutters to shape them into circles or other shapes depending on your party’s theme or purpose.
- Create stylish fruit and veggie trays that are easy to put together. (Check out our recent blog for additional tips: Last Minute Invite? Easy Dishes Sure to Impress)
- Appeal to your guests’ favorite memories by serving chocolate chip cookies like grandma used to make or set up a s’mores station.
The most important part of throwing a last minute party is to have fun! It’s more about creating memories with your friends and family than about anything else.