I just knocked out 3 parties in 4 days. I'm exhausted. I knew the only way to make it through this marathon entertaining would be to plan ahead, reuse and let a few party OCD quirks go. So here are my tips for back to back entertaining. You can see a post of the first party I threw (with Lauren's help here). I was actually very lucky that Lauren was involved because it really set up my next two parties better than I had even planned. The parties were planned backwards which meant that the party I knew about and planned first was my mother in law's birthday but it ended up to be the last party to happen (and what all but one picture in this post are from). I made the banner above and went ahead and put it up on the wall. So it was there for all the parties. I wouldn't normally have done this, but I knew that I wouldn't really have time to decorate on the day of this party so it had to be up ahead of time. Since the first party wasn't really held in the room where this wall is, I didn't feel like I had to match all the colors to it. People are happy to be invited to your house. Do what you can and don't worry if things to match perfectly. You care more then they do.
This cheese set up was from my second party and right next to the wall with the Cake Day sign. It had to match (at least a little) but this was supposed to be easy and not too fussy or formal. It is absolutely true that if you have white dishes, your entertaining will be much easier. I used this runner (which was made for our Operation Shower table – the post is still coming. I've totally been lagging on it! But here is a great wrap up if you want to see it now) to at least bring some pink down to the table. And Lauren had brought these white flowers and small vases from her house for our get together a few nights before but they were the perfect addition to this table. They added height and life but the smell was not overpowering at all. This get together was just cocktails so I did this really easy spread of cheese, fruit and chocolate. Sorry about the blurry quality of the photo. This was an iphone picture and was the only one I took.
The rest of these photos are from party #3, my mom in law's birthday party. Again, I used the same runner and a lot of the same white dishes. All of this entertaining showed me that I really need some white salad sized plates. I had to use these blue and white plates which I wasn't pleased about at first, but I actually don't hate the blue with the pink. By reusing the dishes, after washing them from the party the night before they were ready to be filled and set for the next party. I didn't have to think too much and could just focus on getting things cooked and the timeline of events. This time, I also added some light pink paper flowers that I stole from a table at Lauren's house. They helped to make the party girly and bring even more color to the table.
I will also be investing in some of these adorable little glass bottles that Lauren left at my house. They are the perfect size to tuck in to a buffet or food display with out taking up hardly any space. And you also don't need to go out and buy flowers for them. Just taking a walk in your yard or neighborhood would give you a few stems to use.
To bring the color scheme from the Cake Day banner in to the drinks, I quickly made a few decorative straws. I used pink and leopard print duct tape to make a flag and then used my fringe scissors. Totally fun and colorful. And easy and cheap.
I also used the same glassware throughout most of the parties. I always had wine to serve but the rest of the drinks varied at each party. I liked using the mismatched glasses because as long as it looks intentional it is visually interesting and who doesn't love drinking out of a fancy glass? Cocktails are another way that you can tailor a party to make a guest of honor feel special. I know that my mom in law loves Amaretto so I decided to serve these Amaretto Mimosa cocktails in her honor. Delicious!
This is my favorite bacon cheese dip (use real bacon and NOT bacon bits) in the world. And I know my mom in law loves it too. It can be made ahead of time and put in the oven right before guests arrive. It is easily served with crackers and the guests will be ALL over it.
And last but not least, you can just serve cake, but you can also serve this chocolate chip cookie dip along side it. YUM! This is another favorite of the guest of honor and I certainly don't hate having it around. (p.s. I just noticed someone's finger in the bottom of this photo. random.)
I hope these tips will help a bit if you find that you have to entertain back to back. I have to go buy bigger pants now. There was far too much yummy food and delicious drinks this weekend.