Why Not Balloons for the Wedding???

When we were kids, balloons were a sign of a party. Balloons were a big part of a multitude of occasions:  birthday celebrations, pep rallies, school dances, fund raisers and more! Now that we’re all grown up, why aren’t they a thing for weddings (aka, the single greatest party of our life?) Well, they are to all those “Cool” now-adult kids! It’s time for more people to embrace wedding balloons.

The option of balloons for weddings makes a huge statement without breaking the bank. If you chose a floral piece the same size, you would look at a much higher price tag. Balloons are more unique than flowers and few weddings use them for décor. You can get elaborate with balloons or keep it simple. Either way, there is no limit to creative ways to use these latex lovelies. Here are a few examples.

1) WEDDING PORTRAITS

Take your portraits to the next level by posing with a celebratory cluster of balloons. The bride can carry a train of air-filled balloons or the couple can pose with helium-filled balloons. Extra-large balloons can make a tremendous impact. You can customize the colors to your wedding theme or use standard white balloons. Foil balloons in shapes will add another dimension to the display. Hearts, doves, or the word LOVE will give you some memorable photo opportunities.

2) WEDDING PARTY

Get the flower girls into the action. Instead of carrying baskets of petals, send your flower girls down the aisle holding a couple of big, tasseled balloons in your wedding colors. You can also forgo the traditional ring bearer pillow with an enormous balloon too. This whimsical gesture will definitely tug at your guests’ heartstrings and make for exceptional photos.

Include balloons for the wedding party too. If they are as big a kid as you are, they will welcome the chance to clown around with balloons!

3) WEDDING DÉCOR

Using balloons in the chapel or outdoor area where the nuptials will take place can be a pleasant surprise for your guests. Consider using oversized balloons down the aisles or create archways for the wedding couple to walk under. You can use basic white or add some of your wedding colors into the pallet. If the reception is at a different location, have your wedding party or the balloon company you hired repurpose the balloons in the hall.

4) RECEPTION DÉCOR

There are many ways you can decorate at the reception. Use balloon garlands for the table runners or centerpieces. Creating them with an assortment of balloon sizes and adding greenery makes for a conversation-starting accent that won’t go unnoticed. If it is a summer wedding and a pool is part of the landscape, levitate balloons in the pool. You can add floating candles or lights in the balloons for an interesting effect.

,Consider varied types of balloon arches over important wedding tables. Use them for dessert tables, wedding couple photo tables, gift tables, cocktail tables and/or a DJ table. Make them in your wedding colors and add foliage for an ethereal touch. You can also incorporate lighted balloons at sign-in or other important tables so they can be seen easily.

Adorn the reception table or sweetheart table with oversized white balloons. You can hide the ribbons by using fishing line (monofilament line) wrapped in floral or leaf garland.

5) GRAND EXIT AND BEYOND

They have banned so many exit treatments in most locations. Balloons can be a welcome alternative. We are not talking about a release here, for that is not so good for the environment either. It is easy to instruct your guests to take the balloons home with them. The kids will be thrilled, and the look of a large group of people holding and waving balloons around is exciting. Now, what about the honeymoon suite? Decorate the room with a sea of helium balloons to finish your balloon dream journey. If you have the balloons treated with hi-float, they will last for days. You will even be able to gift the hotel staff with a bundle on your way home.

Balloons are a festive and affordable way to decorate a wedding. Whether it’s with a grand archway or fabulous table centerpieces, we can use balloons in a multitude of ways to create sophisticated, stunning décor for your big day. Call me for free quotes and ideas. Thanks for reading!

Milestone Birthdays

Milestone Birthdays

It has been a while since I have posted. July was a little depressing with everything going on. I trust you are all staying safe and pray the world heals itself soon. Although we have experienced more virtual events during this difficult time, smaller parties are starting to emerge. Today I want to discuss the ever- popular Milestone Birthdays. Even with pared down get-togethers these ideas can help make that something-0 landmark special! Although younger milestones (1, 16, 18 & 21) are important we usually begin focusing on age markers starting at 30.

AT 30 you bid the 20’s goodbye. You are in hopes that all those stupid mistakes you made in your youth can be forgiven and you are independent and, on your way, now. Some may have started a family; others are working at their ambitious careers and yet others are exploring the world. AT 40 you are on the brink of middle age, perhaps starting a new chapter or just dealing with the challenges of your life. AT 50 you’ve made it half a century on the planet! Your circles are flourishing, with friends, colleagues and family, some of whom have flown the proverbial nest. It is time to focus on you. AT 60 and beyond your life is full, a rich tapestry of love, experiences and memories. You have much to celebrate and so many people to celebrate with. AT 70, 80 & 90 you’ve witnessed so much change; technology and science have made huge leaps, the world has become smaller, our ambitions bigger. Families have spread further afield, yet we’re more connected than ever. AT 100 you need to give yourself a cheer, this doesn’t happen often. Only .02% of the population find themselves at this momentous milestone! You have been gifted with time and love.

Starting off with an invitation to your party, this idea can be done on Photoshop if you or someone in your family have expertise with the program. Otherwise paper and a pair of scissors will due. Find photos of yourself throughout the years. They can be with your significant other. Then cut them out into silhouettes and arrange them in order on an 11″ x 14″ piece of paper. The plan is to fold the paper as a four-panel accordion style invitation. The front of the invitation would be copied on the backside and folded over to be the front of the invitation. The text is printed on your computer and arranged so that it fits in-between the folds of the paper. Use a spray adhesive to glue the text and the photos in place.  Then take the original copy to a business that can make the 11″ x 14″ color copies. Hand fold and mail them in brightly colored envelopes. A smaller version of the same idea can be done on a standard 8 ½ x 11 sheet of paper. The invitation would then be a tri-fold brochure type. The printer can fold them for you too, for a minimal charge.

When choosing a theme for your event be selfish! Do something you want. If you choose a humorous approach there is plenty of “Over the Hill” décor available commercially. You can always crack out your Halloween stash to mock a funeral party. You can also decide to go with your hobby or interest such as fishing, hunting, gardening or sports. Choose a favorite place you have traveled to. Perhaps a tropical paradise or foreign destination. There are many international theme decorations available too. Celebrate “The Best of Times” by creating a pictorial timeline of the special moments in your life. You may choose a particularly happy decade of your life and plan the party around that, like the 50’s (Rock & Roll), 60’s (Hippie, Flower Child), 70’s (Disco) or 80’s (Dance, Digital). Have everyone dress in a decade costume. Last but not least is a focus on a certain color scheme that puts a smile on your face. This can make your party decorations very personal.

Balloons are a must for a milestone age. There are the large and small foil numbers that can be incorporated into the balloon décor. Match whatever colors work with the theme you have chosen. Air-filled Columns and centerpieces make great additions to the festive environment. And if you are doing the party virtually, they make great backdrops.

The food should be something you want too! It is all about you, anyway right? If you are having a specific theme try to choose the appropriate ethnic blend of food and drinks. But remember, it has to be stuff you like! If it is a generic motif pick your favorite foods to serve. Have your favorite restaurant(s) deliver the meals, individually is best with social distancing. (see my post on Covid-19 Party Guide https://pjspartyrentalandessentials.wordpress.com/2020/06/15/covid-19-event-party-alternatives/ )

Some terrific party favor ideas for your guests is candy bars with your photo and information on them. You can find an assortment of styles here https://www.whcandy.com/ You can also have labels made for wine bottles. Pick your favorite flavor of wine at a discount outlet and paste the personalized label on them. They are a perfect keepsake. Find the labels here https://www.personalcreations.com/ You can also find personalized M & M’s on their website. Plus consider personalized napkins or bookmarks from Carlson Craft here https://viewonly.carlsoncraft.com/ Another cool idea is to make cd’s or maybe a flash drive (cd’s are becoming outdated) of the American Top 40’ #1 song for each year of your life, as well as a few faves thrown in. It will be quite lengthy and interesting for the 100-year-old! Ask your family and friends to mail you a great memory they have of your relationship with them. You can put these memories in a scrap book. Remember to ask for pictures if they have them!

If your party includes real live guests you can have a “Roast” for the birthday person. Play Jeopardy! Set up a Jeopardy game board for guests to participate in. Instead of general trivia questions, they can be questions about the birthday guest of honor. Choose a handful of topics about the birthday man or woman, and then create 5-7 questions within each topic. You can either choose specific topics about the person or make each topic a decade of their life (if they’re old enough to have at least five topics). The harder the question, the more points they’re worth. Instead of having individuals play, you can divide your guests up into groups. That way, there’s some teamwork involved.

Whatever you do keep it safe! I am turning 70 soon and am excited about looking up all the #1 hits for the last 70 years! That will be quite a mix! God Bless!

Communal Dinner Party

Communal Dinner Party

Communes were plentiful in the 1960’s & 1970’s. Communities of people sharing everything and living off the land were pipe dreams of peace, brotherly love, harmony, blah, blah, blah. Today there are a few left but the disillusionment of communal living started when the “Laid back attitude” translated to “they have absolutely no ambition”! However, the idea of sharing a meal with friends and/or family is still an attractive and heartwarming experience. So, this dinner party is taking the best of the communes of old and spinning them into a fun and relaxed night with people you love!

It’s a peaceful, easy feeling at your table. We can even imagine someone’s legs thrown over the corner of the table. The menu here is very simple. Just like it was in communes. Soups, Salad and lots of home baked bread. If you don’t have all day to simmer a variety of soups, pick them up at a deli or look for some hearty frozen soups. Soups like Navy Bean & Ham Soup, Potato or Broccoli Cheddar, Cream of Chicken, Barley Vegetable and Clam Chowder are perfect. Toss a salad with plenty of greens and place out a homemade vinaigrette dressing. Have baskets of fresh bread, breadsticks and croutons to accompany the yummy delights. For dessert bake up some Oatmeal Raisin and Chocolate Chip Cookies. For communal type libations have pitchers of Sangria, Ice Water with Lemons and an assortment of teas. Serve in big mugs or mason jars.

The Décor will be down to earth too! Bring in greens and flowers from the garden or purchase at your local grocers’ floral shop. Set out votive candles with an assortment of different sized candles along the tables. Hang string lights around the party area. As hostess, put on a peasant dress if you have one or look for a similar type of loose-fitting garment from the thrift shop.

For background music you have to choose a mellow blend of tunes. Look up some New Age artist like Kitaro, Enya, Yanni, Secret Garden, David Lanz, Jim Brickman, Shadowfax or Suzanne Ciani; which are among my favorites. If you prefer to tap into the 60’s vibe choose anything by Peter, Paul & Mary, Donovan, The Association or Crosby, Stills & Nash. If one of your friends plays and instrument invite them to serenade the group.

This party is mainly to have friends share a meal. But if you want to add an activity or two that will incorporate a bit of “how well do you know each other?” here is a couple of suggestions.

  • At each place setting, include a pen and pad of paper. Have each guest write two statements about him or herself that are true and one that is false. The statements should be things the other guests would likely not know. An example would be 1) I once hitchhiked across Europe; 2) I had my picture taken with President Reagan; 3) I played the Tuba in the high-school marching band. Other guests then determine which is the false statement. Play for points or for fun, and play at least two or three rounds.
  • Purchase an inexpensive white tablecloth and colored permanent markers, one or two for each guest. During dinner, invite guests to doodle, draw caricatures of themselves or of one another, or sum up their life philosophies in one sentence each.

Enjoy the night breaking bread together and be at “Peace”!

Divide & Conquer – Best Potluck EVER!

 

May I speak freely? I don’t know about you, but I’ve never had much luck at a potluck.

I don’t want to offend, but why do potluck members have such a fervent desire to make Jell-O? Don’t pretend you haven’t seen this. For the spring potluck, someone always shows up with a Jell-O bunny mold surrounded by-oh the wonder of it all! -green coconut. Within an hour, the black jellybean eyes have bled into the Jell-O, and the bunny looks as if it came straight out of Children of the Corn. Standing nearby without fail is its creator, needling people into “just a little taste of the ear”.

When reduced to the simplest form, the Divide and Conquer party is a potluck with one important exception: You will take on the title of Supreme Potluck Commander in order to make it an elegant affair. And if anybody asks, “should I bring Jell-O?” the answer is no.

As Supreme Potluck Commander, you’ll contribute the main dish. Ask each guest to provide one or more items to complete your menu. The key is to create something stylish without demanding too much on short notice. Assign categories of food to participants. Try a simple sign-up sheet that you can email around to everyone. When making your list specify what foods should be brought. Use the guide below to put this upscale meal together.

ENTRÉE: Chicken Breasts, pork chops or pork tenderloin – using a marinade and grill or broil.

SALAD: Fresh Greens, Veggies, Fruit tossed – with dressings on the side.

VEGGIES: Steamed are best (avoid casseroles) broccoli, corn, green beans or mixed. Sprinkle with lemon juice and/or Mrs. Dash type seasoning.

RICE AND/OR PASTA: Using stock to cook rice or pasta makes it more flavorful, sprinkle with herbs.

BREAD: Rolls or French loaves should be warmed for the best flavor. This donation should include butter or flavored olive oil to dip bread. Flavored oil can be placed on the tables in small glass bowls.

DESSERT: Brownies dusted with confectioners’ sugar, seasonal pies or cake.

BEVERAGES: If your organization allows wine and beer, coffee, iced tea, water and here in Texas you must have Dr Pepper.

A special note to label your food. Don’t make guests guess at what they’re eating. Provide a recipe name and any warnings necessary (i.e., contains nuts, shellfish, dairy, gluten, etc.). Your extra effort will be appreciated, especially by those with food allergies or intolerances.

Ask for help with utensils, cutlery and dishes. Because you want this potluck to be a swankier event use real dishes and cutlery. You can mix and match designs, in fact mismatched table settings is a fashionable trend.  Make sure you have pitchers for water on the tables, plenty of serving pieces and wine and/or drink glasses. If your organization does not have a coffeemaker you can easily rent one. If you don’t have cloth napkins purchase the better “almost like linen” napkins. Use some twine or pretty ribbon for a napkin ring. And definitely use linens on the tables and candles. You can use votives in mugs and on saucers or if you have enough taper holders place them on the tables too.

Prep a playlist for background music for your party. The last thing you want to be doing when your guests arrive is fiddling around with the playlist and trying to get it right. Plan ahead of time by making a suitable playlist in advance. Set the mood for your celebration because there are no awkward silences allowed at your potluck!

Be prepared for leftovers. Have plenty of plastic containers on hand. Keep food safety in mind by throwing away any leftovers that have been sitting out for more than two hours.

Follow this guide and you will never have a potluck fail again!

Roaring 20’s Theme – 2020 New Years

20's Roaring 2020 Party

People have always enjoyed the glitz and glamour of 1920s or The Great Gatsby themed New Year’s Eve parties, but this year, as we ring in 2020, this theme is very “BIG”! At your party, turn back the clock 100 years to a time filled with dimly lit speakeasies, homemade gin cocktails, jazz, art deco and iconic fashion trends. Ask your guests to arrive in their best flapper dresses and tuxes and you’ll be well on your way to a party fit for Gatsby himself.

Keeping in the fun Speakeasy feel have “security” at the front door asking for a password, which you can include in the invitations.  The color scheme you will use is Gold, Black, Silver and White. You can find New Years Party Kits that will include Top Hats, Tiaras and Noisemakers in these colors.

Activities If your budget won’t afford renting Casino tables, set up a few Poker Tables and you can find Felt Game Sets that include Blackjack and Craps. Beistle’s set includes the craps rake, cards, dice and instructions, you just need a table to place it on! Hire a Jazz band or put together a play list, you can see and hear the top 20 hits of 1920-1929 here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07f0TPfNLnk to give you some inspiration. Play classic movies during the party (with or without sound) these are a some of the classics of the 20’s, The Kid – Charlie Chaplin, The Jazz Singer – Al Jolson, Safety Last – Buster Keaton, The Hunchback of Notre Dame – Charles Laughton, Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde – John Barrymore or Steamboat Willie – Mickey Mouse.

Décor for this theme will also be in Gold, Black, Silver and White. Hang strings of clear lights and have plenty of candles around the party area. Use Gold and Silver shimmer curtains as a backdrop for buffet tables, the bar area and a photo area. Include beads and feathers (signature items for the 20’s) in your centerpieces. A cool idea is to glue glitter on to wine bottles and then add beads and feathers. Balloons can be used too! The balloons pictured above are called “Bubble Strands” and they have the theme colors plus clear balloons filled with gold confetti in the arrangements. These are perfect for a Gatsby touch, and what would New Year’s Eve be without large 2020 numbers? Use them in your photo area or stage. Use both colors, mix or match.

Food – At this time in American history, Wonder Bread was fresh on the scene and foods such as Chinese and Italian were considered ‘exotic.’ Glam up your party with crab stuffed mushrooms, deviled eggs, tea sandwiches with different meats and vegetables, and glazed hams. To achieve an elegant feel, you can hire servers to pass plates or create a presentation incorporating gold and silver sprays, confetti, balloons and feathers. Elaborate cheese, olive, and nut displays are right on theme, involve no actual cooking, and can be set out and replenished throughout the night. For sweets, pineapple upside down cake, lemon cakes, and Jell-O were all popular.

Cocktails – Combining a holiday and a decade that revolved around spirits makes this part of planning exceptionally fun. Champagne, or your favorite sparkling wine, is a must. Unlike the champagne flutes we use today, the coupe glasses were most commonly used in the 20s. You can find this style at most party stores. As for cocktails, gin was in. This was during Prohibition when bathtub gin was the common spirit. You can find the recipes for the classic mixed drinks of the day here https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/57719/origins-10-popular-prohibition-cocktails

Here is to a wonderful New Year, thank you for reading my Blog, I promise to try and continue posting great ways to celebrate life! Happy 2020!

 

How to throw a Cocktail Party!

Cocktail Party 101

The cocktail party is a perfect way of entertaining for occasions as diverse as a casual after work get-together to a New Year’s Eve extravaganza. Even though these types of parties are a throwback from the 50’s they are still popular and a staple in the hospitality industry. A perfect adult event that can be fun and rewarding.

Taking advice from caterers as to how they plan on the amount for drinks and how much to buy for cocktail parties, they use a formula that roughly estimates 10 people will consume 20 drinks at the average cocktail party. Make that 40 drinks if it’s a full evening affair, usually including dinner. This is based on a typical 1.5 Ounce shot of hard liquor.

So, how many drinks can you get out of a bottle? A 750 ml. bottle will yield about 17 cocktails. A liter bottle will yield 22. A 1.75-liter bottle will yield 39. For a party of wine drinkers, plan on stocking 5 bottles (750 ml) for 10 people. You should get roughly 5 servings per bottle. For beer drinkers, stock 5 six-packs for ten people, based on a twelve-ounce serving. If you have the budget and inclination, you can stock a full bar. However, a more economical idea is to offer a selection of cocktails that can be made from one or two primary types of liquor or to limit yourself to a wine and/or beer party.

If you do want to stock a full bar, you could go wild purchasing all kinds of exotic liqueurs and alcoholic concoctions, but most people’s imbibing needs can be met by having the following on hand: Vodka, Rum, Gin, Scotch, Bourbon, Blended Whiskey & Tequila. The mixers necessary for these alcohols will depend on the cocktails you plan on offering. I would suggest Juices (Orange, Grapefruit, Tomato Juice), Club Soda, Tonic Water, Cola, Lemon Lime Soda, Ginger Ale. Make sure you have Lemon and Lime slices and Olives available. Always have bottled water on hand.

If you’ve still got budget and want to offer more cocktail choices, consider choosing 5 of the most popular creations (maybe one’s your friends ask for) and stock ingredients to make them. According to bartenders 5 of the top sellers are Dry Martini (flavored one’s too), Old Fashioned, Margarita, Manhattan & Daiquiri.

Now that we have covered what to drink, how about some food? Most Cocktail parties are short and include snack food. Choose one recipe that requires cooking, add one or two that only require simple assembly. The rest of the snacks can be store-bought. And look for recipes that you can make in advance. A platter of crudités is always a good idea along with bowls of mixed nuts & pretzels. Oh, and skip the cheese board—it’ll just get messy. If you want to put out one nice cheese, though, go for it with some nice crackers and maybe some olives and salami. A nice finishing touch to an evening of cocktails is a dessert buffet and selection of coffee and teas. (btw if you need a large coffee machine we have them for rent!)

Enjoy Hosting!

Cinco De Mayo/Fiesta Party

It’s always our goal to celebrate life to the fullest, but sometimes life gets so crazy we let the little opportunities for celebrations pass right by.  Cinco de Mayo is one of those holidays we always talk about celebrating but our busy lives get in the way–well…no more!  This is the year to slap on our sombreros, grab the chips and salsa and get ready for a fiesta to remember.  With so many fun Mexican themed party ideas, it will be a cinch to plan a Cinco de Mayo party to remember.

Make your own Papel Picado a traditional Mexican craft that features colorful paper sheets with intricate cut-out details. You can easily make your own Papel Picado by layering sheets of tissue paper and using scissors. Fold a piece of tissue paper (lengthwise) in half and then in half again. Make sure one side consist only of folds. Fold the long-folded sheet in half. Mark a dot in the corner that is made up of folds. This reminds you where not to cut. Just like cutting a snowflake, cut shapes along all four sides avoiding the area with the dot. To cut a shape from the middle of the rectangle, fold the paper in half again, and cut a shape into the fold. Unfold carefully and tape tissue paper to a long string of yarn. You can also easily make Mexican Flowers from colored tissue paper. These can go a long way in decorating all areas of the party. You will need to take three different color sheets of tissue paper and lay them on top of each other. Fold over about two-inch pieces one in front then fold behind and repeat until the entire sheet is folded. Then cut a small triangle on each side of the middle. Tie a piece of ribbon around the middle, I just used curling ribbon. Pull each sheet up gently starting with the top sheet. When they are spread out flip it over and twist the bottom piece together. Tie a ribbon around the bottom. This gives them a tighter look. If you want them bigger you can use two sheets of tissue paper in each color then just skip the tie underneath. That’s all there is to it! Balloons are also an amazing way to fill space with color. Call your local Balloon Decorating Company to make up some of these great Air-filled centerpieces. Have them make up colorful Air-filled Balloon Garlands to bank your food table, doorways and/or windows.

Setting a Taco Bar is so easy, just put together your favorite ingredients, that simple! Your guests and family will love the taco building experience because they will fill their tacos and make them whatever they like! Another thing I really like about the idea of a Taco Bar is that you can accommodate a variety of diets, from meat lovers to vegans, and let’s not forget those picky eaters! This also frees you up, so you can spend more time with your guests and family, and of course, enjoy a few tacos yourself! Include Beef, Chicken and fish for fillings along with an assortment of salsas and chips. Rent a Margarita Machine for the day. You can get standard or special flavored margaritas. Whatever you do, make sure you OLE and ENJOY!

“This is your LIFE” Party!

This is Your Life!

Although this party seems only for older adults I have seen this for 13th, 16th and 21st Birthday Parties. It can also be used for honoring achievements (lifetime or not) of people both young and old. Invitations must include a couple pictures of the honored guest along with details. The highlighted area of the party will be a table with photos and mementos through the years. Make a timeline on butcher paper for the wall behind the Memorabilia table. Include world events, personal events, popular music and movies, discoveries, and photos for different years on the line. Set up a photo backdrop area for guests to get their picture taken with the honoree. To model your party after the famous 1950s television show, you will need to set up a stage area with a special seat for your guest of honor and a large curtain to hide your mystery guests. Hide your guests behind the curtain, and, if possible, have a microphone or karaoke machine set up so that everyone can hear what they will say. Then, one at a time, ask them to relate a funny story or experience that they shared with your guest of honor and let your honoree guess who is behind the curtain! As an extra touch, you might choose to softly play music while each mystery guests speak to further enhance the mood. A guaranteed tear jerker! Prepare a video montage of photos and/or video clips of your party honoree and have it playing throughout your event — If you have guests who were unable to make it to the party, you might ask them to videotape themselves giving a greeting or sharing a story or remembrance about your guest of honor to play as a “virtual visit”. At some time during your party, pass around glasses of champagne (or sparkling cider) and propose a toast to your guest of honor. The best menu choices for a This Is Your Life Party are your guest of honor’s favorite foods. Finger foods are also a good choice for a celebration because they allow your guests to mingle while grabbing a bite here and there.