Tag party ideas

Labor Day Holiday Party Ideas

As a student, I feel like my summers last about as long as a three-day weekend. With that in mind, it surprised me how many people are making plans for their Labor Day weekend. Trips to the mountains or the lake may not be in everyone’s budget but a “stay-cation” party right in your own home probably is! Take advantage of your last few warm summer nights and enjoy an intimate gathering or a big bash to end your summer and start your fall on the right foot.

Labor day was originally created in the 1800’s to celebrate the hard work of laborers, so why not honor your friends (and yourself!) for a summer well done, and toast to a successful autumn. Your Labor Day holiday party could have a tinge of patriotism, but should be more concentrated on an Indian Summer fall theme. To accomplish this, use warmearth tones for your party. For an evening party, dark red table cloths and soft lighting would be perfect for the relaxing mood of a Labor Day holiday party. For a daytime party, organize games for the active, and set up hammocks and loungers for guests relishing the original theme of the holiday.

Some great starting ideas for your Labor Day holiday party could be back to school, neighborhood block party, or a beach party. Take a trip back to the golden years with music that you listened to in high school. Also, no need to splurge on fancy food, just have finger food and Chex mix for guests to munch on while reliving the good old days. A neighborhood block party would be a great opportunity for everyone to get together before the busy schedules of work and school kick back in. Grilling out and having a potluck style party will make everyone feel a part of the group. Or better yet, host a Labor Day cooking party and get your guests cooking together. A beach party doesn’t necessarily have to take place on a beach! Lay out big beach towels and throw your drinks in a cooler for a relaxed end of the summer fiesta.

Here are some great recipes you can use to wow your guests:

Salad of Heirloom Tomatoes, Corn, Ricotta Salata & Herbs Recipe
Salad of Watercress, Watermelon, Ricotta Salata, and Pine Nuts Recipe
Cinnamon and Coriander Spiced Skirt Steak Recipe
Blueberry Buckle with Aunt Polly’s Hot Cream Sauce Recipe

Contributed by Leigh Hermansen

Plan Your Fourth of July Holiday Cooking Party

Summer always goes by way too fast. It is hard to believe the 4th of July is sneaking up already! However, it’s not too late to plan a great party that is in everyone’s budget. In a down economy, cheap thrills are the name of the game so what’s better than getting together with your friends to cook a delicious meal? Here are some great suggestions for a successful Fourth of July party:

No need for all the traditional kitschy decorations. Keep it simple and fun!

  • Wind a strand of white, red, or blue Christmas lights (or find inexpensive, outdoor lights at your local home store), around table legs or clip to the table edge and cover with a table cloth. This adds a bit of elegance and flair to any late afternoon or evening festivity. Also try the lights under an umbrella, canopy, or wrapped around small trees.
  • For centerpieces, skip the messy table glitter and create a simple centerpiece of fake flowers or balloons attached to a weight with a short string. Make sure to feature red, white, and blue!
  • Saltwater taffy in a tall vase in the center of the table makes another fabulous centerpiece. It can also double as a prize should you have any fun games planned later on at the party.
  • Use food as decoration! With scrumptious items such as heirloom tomato and mozzarella cheese stacks, strawberry and blueberry fruit tarts, and colorful margaritas, the food can be a perfect patriotic touch. Also, be sure to satisfy everyone’s cravings for traditional backyard BBQ with American favorites like burgers, watermelon slices,
    homemade lemonade and ice cream.

Sometimes the best parties have nothing to do with the food or the decorations but with how you spend your time. With fireworks being illegal, it may seem difficult to throw a successful Fourth of July party, but there are a ton of other games and activities that rival the excitement of fireworks!

Entertaining Tips:

Don’t get stressed if you haven’t hosted many parties before! Here are some tips for making any party, large or small, a successful one:

  • Spotlight your creations: Put your food on plain platters so that the food is the focus. Also, make sure that the garnish is edible and related to the food it is complimenting.
  • Don’t forget the drinks: Make sure the drinks you serve parallel the food it is accompanying. Use a light white wine for foods like Scallops and Mint Chutney. Pair red wine with dishes that have bolder flavors. Also, carry over the theme of the food into the drinks so that the entire meal flows seamlessly. A self-serve bar allows for a more relaxed atmosphere.
  • Let music set the mood – Keep music going throughout the party. Upbeat music is perfect for a lively party and don’t be afraid to carry the culinary theme over into your music selections.
  • Get help: For a large party, ask for help from children (yours or someone else’s) for setting the table or helping with dishes. It is also a great idea
    to have prep stations for each course and allow your friends to help with
    the cooking.
  • Give party favors: Take pictures and email copies to your guests the following day. At the end of an event, present your guests with a new wooden spoon or whisk as well as a clean copy of all of the recipes you used for the event. Better yet, our Sumptuous Small Plates deck makes for a class-act party gift. It includes 30 of our clients’ favorite recipes that we use over and over at events!

Parties That Cook has more fantastic party ideas and recipes to make the holiday memorable. Check out our website at www.PartiesThatCook.com and peruse the Cooking Parties section for original and thrilling cooking party ideas, and the Recipes section for more delicious recipes!

Contributed by guest blogger Leigh Hermansen