Monday, June 20, 2011

The Summer (Outdoor) Social Season

Hi all!

Is it summer yet?  Tomorrow maybe.....

I am back again! I of course have been busy like so many of you as this is officially the summer party season.  Graduations, weddings, showers, picnics, reunions. You name it.  I wanted to share a little past party planning expertise I have acquired through the years.  In addition to being in traditional marketing, I have done a fair amount of event planning and truly loved it.  It is a wonderful gift to be able to help people plan their special occasions and their milestones in often made me feel like the event fairy! Or event angel!

Just someone to flutter into lives or a family to walk them through a moment in is a great profession.

I will just share some recent backyard sights, events and ideas from me........

Off of my side kitchen area. Alfresco dining anyone?

My oldest sons 2010 graduation ~ our backyard.
Have you ever considered using pretty scrapbook paper as simple serving paper and place mats?

See ~ (This is cute for a bridal shower) works great! :)

I am still adding and posting things to this blog from my past writings and I wanted to just share a few helpful tidbits.  Now, I am from the Midwest where practicality reigns supreme.  So.....
You will not see exotic imported orchards or Beluga caviar (although I have done a few events like this).  For the most part entertaining is a do~it~yourself project that many families & organizations take on with hopefully some sort of budget in mind.  It can be challenging to say the least.  Especially when you get into groups of 50 ~ 100 ~ 150 people. I came across this list years ago and it has served me well and I thought I would pass on here to anyone wanting for future reference.

To Serve 100 People -
This list can be a good general guideline (For instance; my whole family will not touch potato salad.) for showers, birthdays, graduations, weddings, fund-raisers or whatever event your little heart desires.
Coffee - 3 lbs
Sugar - 2 lbs
Cream or Milk - 3 qrts.
Soup 6 - gallons
Lettuce - 15 heads
Vegetable Salad 20 qrts.
Potato Salad - 12 qrts.
Fruit Salad - 20 qrts.
Salad dressing - 3 qrts.
Carrots - 25 lbs.
Baked Beans - 3 gallons
Potatoes - 35 lbs.
Scalloped Potatoes - 5 gallons
Chicken 85 lbs.
Spareribs - 100 lbs.
Salmon or Swordfish - 40 lbs.
Ham, Beef or Hamburger - 40 lbs.
Hot Dogs - 100 lbs.
Bread - 10 loaves
Biscuits - 200
Butter - 3 lbs.
Cakes - (8 slices each = 104 slices) 13
Pies - 13
Whipped Cream - 6 pints
Ice Cream - 4 gallons
Wine - 2 cases = 96 - 6 oz glasses
Champagne - 1 1/2 cases = 100 glasses

3 tips for outdoor entertaining that I really like and will make your event easy, special and memorable.
1) Bring the inside outside. REAL tablecloths, napkins, dishes, glassware, silverware, accents, pillows and furniture. (When possible.)
2) Serve a combination of menu items, including some that are best at room-temperature or that can go heat and refrigeration-free. This makes menu planning, preparation and display easier. Red wines, Garlic, cheeses and Italian pastas, marinaded dishes and roasted vegetables come to mind. Easy, palate pleasing and delicious.
3) Eco-friendly decor. The more I plan the more I hate to waste and throw money away on too many "paper" decorations. Decorate with more REAL items like photos, fabrics, flowers, plants, bowls, shells, sand, candles and fruit & vegetables as centerpieces, strings of lights, small stone statues & figures etc...the list is endless.
These flag banners are great made with both new and vintage fabrics. Who needs wet paper and plastic when you can recycle these fun little things?  I have some of these banners in my Etsy shop.

                       "Man is the artificer of his own happiness." - Henry David Thoreau

I hope to post more on parties, events, ideas and gatherings so stay tuned......

Have fun this summer whether you have a big backyard wedding for 100 people to plan or fun family reunion, birthday party.....whatever the case may be. Cheers to you and the best for your 2011 summer!

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