The holidays are here and that means it’s party time! We all know throwing a party can be an all-consuming, overwhelming, even intimidating task, especially when your home is the venue. But, it’s also so rewarding when you pull it off. Today’s post showcases a recent 40th birthday party I attended, put together by wedding and event planner, Mimi Major Bittick of The Major Event. Every detail was carefully thought out, from the guest list, the invitation, the food, the entertainment and of course, the decorations. What I love about this party, and why I’m sharing it with you today is that it shows how a simple, thoughtful plan is completely doable, with or without professional help. Of course hiring someone like Mimi is the most pain-free solution, but if that’s not in the cards, you can easily execute a phenomenal family gathering or office party at home on your own by spending your time and resources on a few key elements:
SB Note: All photographs shown here are courtesy of Major Adam Colbert Photography.
Bringing in a bartender ensures guests are taken care of and the libations flow in a steady fashion. (Husbands are great if you don’t want to use a service, and recent college grads are often a great, inexpensive resource, too.) Just remember that wherever you stage the bar, that’s where the people will gather, so be sure to set it up in a strategic location to minimize a log jam of thirsty people. At this party, the primary bar was out on the back deck. It worked perfectly.
Creating keepsakes like these personalized koozies make the event memorable and give guests a memento to take home.
Your Menu, Served Curbside
Food trucks are all the rage right now, and what better way to have a party catered than to have one of these specialty vehicles pull up curbside. It’s hassle-free, of the moment and something everyone seems to enjoy. Food truck fare these days has completely eclipsed the hot dog stand we remember and can be upscale and customized for any event. At this party, Spoonfed Grill served up three different dinner options: gourmet Hawaiian Burgers with provolone, caramelized pineapple and morita sauce, the Peach and Almond Crunch Salad (mixed greens, goat cheese, fresh peaches with a creamy lemon-thyme vinaigrette) with an option to add chicken or fish tacos with all the toppings, along with an assortment of sides to choose from such as Watermelon Salad, Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Summer Vegetable Slaw and Garlic Fries. All the food was mouth-wateringly good!
While cake comes to mind with most birthday parties, gourmet popsicles are a welcome change. Steel City Pops makes the most delicious frozen concoctions that adults seem to enjoy every bit as much as the kids do. If you’re planning on a cold weather party though, you might want to go with Baby Bites from Pastry Arts or cakepops from made to order by the Cakepop Girls.
Unexpected Ways to Celebrate
Rather than having a bunch of cards for guests to sign, Mimi had a birthday banner made large enough for all the guests to write their well wishes on. For a family holiday gathering, you could consider putting up lots of family photos on a similar banner for everyone to enjoy.
The tables were covered in cheerful yellow plaid cloth and adorned with simple floral arrangements and votive candles for an understated, casual elegance. You can imagine how this might look different for a holiday gathering–you could easily change the color of the cloths and choose fall decor (pumpkins, bittersweet) for Thanksgiving, or small, potted evergreens (rosemary is great, and can be enjoyed long after the party) for Christmas.
Live entertainment was provided by University of Alabama college student, Brent McCollough, whose talent is sure to take him far.
Whether you bring in a professional like Mimi or DIY, what a fun time of year to celebrate the season!
To learn more about Mimi Major Bittick and her company, The Major Event and all the ways she can make your event extraordinary, visit her website at www.themajorevent.com.
Brent McCollough, Musician
Major Adam Colbert, Photographer