Here are some time-tested treasures for your chest:
- A white tablecloth
- Twine (or spare ribbon recycled from gifts or packaging)
- Place cards (this can range from formal place cards to colorful hard stock paper)
- Pack of multi-colored sharpies or paint pens
- Tea lights
- Floor pillows (can be re-covered for different themed events)
- Large, medium and small sized hurricane vases
- 3-5 mini glass bud vases
- Portable iPod speakers
- BONUS: If you have extra space, a large oversized chalkboard with chalk
Now that you have created your instant party treasure chest...the Mermaids are going to swim off with these timeless party tips.
Grocery List--Get the Groceries OFF your List! Whether you're hosting a sit-down dinner, buffet, or casual snacks--shopping ahead of time will make you more relaxed and allow more time at home to prepare. Make sure your list is extremely detailed to avoid running back to the store for last minute items. Rule of Fin: Break it down by courses and double check against what's already in the kitchen. Getting halfway through a cheese platter withouth enough crackers just won't work.
Mermaids Getting Toasty. Rule of Fin: Figure 2 drinks per person. A bottle of wine pours around 4 glasses. A bottle of liquor pours around 15 drinks. For a little extra help calculating how much alcohol you will need, use this drink calculator.
Top Table. Grab your trusty tablecloth and iron or steam as needed. Set dinner plates, salad plates, bowls, silverware, water and wine glasses depending on your menu. Enjoy your tabletop as much as your menu.
Buffet Basics. Place stacked plates, bowls, napkins and silverware at one end to welcome guests. Platters and serving utensils are placed in the middle to allow guests comfortable serving space.
Notable Napkins. Dress your table with colorful, creative napkins. Fold your napkins into fun shapes--use your own personal napkin rings or tie napkins with twine and tuck a little something special in each one like a twig, cinnamon stick or fresh flower.
Find Your Place in the World. Place cards are as personal as they are practical for any sit down dinner. Take a few minutes to really think about your guests personalities. Where they are in their life? In the world? Create place cards and seating charts accordingly. Rule of Fin: It's best to seat guests with more outgoing personalities in the center of the table.
A Menu With Meaning. "Spooky Sliders" for Halloween,"Wild Turkey" platters for Thanksgiving, "You Say Tomato" salad and "Tie the Knot" Tuna Tartare for the bride-to-be! Meaningful moments will be shared with guests when you personalize your menu.
Build A Bar. Set a separate table, clear a counter or a small decorated tray--these make for great bar solutions---especially for tight spaces like NYC apartments!
CB2 makes this great Cheap & Chic butler tray.
A Chilly Greeting. Set out your ice bucket with tongs or a wine/beer tub, a large punch bowl or a trash bin lined with a trash bag for ice cold drinks! Stock a variety of glasses based on your beverage selections. Set out beverages that do not need to be refrigerated such as red wine, liquors and mixers to save time.
Garnish Me Pretty. Prepare garnishes such as lemons, limes and cherries as well as bar accessories: wine/beer openers, drink stirrers, and swizzle sticks ahead of time.
Timing Is Everything. Just before guests are due to arrive, fill your ice containers and add beer, white wine, champagne and chillers. Most importantly, pour yourself a much needed cocktail!
Fabulous Flowers. Fresh flowers are always a cheerful and inviting addition to any table or buffet. Fill your favorite vase or place multiple vases down the center of your table or buffet.
Let There Be Leftovers. Scattering your flower filled bud vases on your table, buffet, or around your home is a brilliant way to use any leftover flowers.
Creative Centerpieces. Flowers not really your style? Fill your hurricane vases with whatever your want! A pillar candle surrounded by cranberries or leaves makes a fabulous Fall centerpiece. Use your imagination...sand, marbles, golf tees, lemons and limes, tennis balls, pool balls, nail polish bottles, feathers, or crystals will mer-make a great party!
Light Up A Room. A Mermaid hostess knows the power of good lighting. Candles create an ambiance that is warm and welcoming. Scatter votives down your table or buffet as well as around your home. Rule of Fin: Light candles 30 minutes before guests arrive.
Chalk It Up. If you have the room to store a chalkboard--write your guests a welcome message and place it near your party entrance! Personalize your event with martini glasses for a cocktail party or stencil popular kiddie characters for a kids party.
Roll Up Your Mer-Mitts. Now that you have everything set and your place looks amazing, it's time to hit the kitchen. Pour yourself a glass of wine, relax, and remember that you're cooking for your nearest and dearest so the most important ingredient is LOVE!
Rule of Fin: Sometimes, parties just happpen. Mermaids are always here to swim to the rescue!
Celebrate and Swim Lightly,