3 NEW IDEAS FOR WINTER PARTIES AND EVENTS



SHABBY CHIC

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The popularity of empty warehouses and old dilapidated factories continue holding their charm for party goers and party planners of all stripes.  Serving as a blank backdrop to fuel creativity, these venues are often seen decorated in a shabby chic or other styles that evoke years gone by.  Perhaps it speaks to  the nostalgia in all of us for simpler times!  Shabby chic continues to be a popular trend for weddings as well.  Outdoor photo op scenes abound with the bride and groom draped lovingly over vintage sofas surrounded by  nature and other vintage accessories. Centerpieces featuring grapes, pinecones, fruit and other winter produce remind one of nature’s bounty and fit nicely into the theme.e19637simplethings

 

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Keep the rest of the  elements focused on the theme with vintage desserts served on dishes and cake stands popular in the past.

 

Photo booths are always a favorite activity as well as a great ice breaker for people who don’t know each other. I loved the new twist to the photo booth concept with this idea for a photo backdrop. This eye catching display by Sullivan florals is different and can be tailored to any season by the choice of fresh florals used to ring a grass covered backdrop.

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A TWIST ON FAVORITE FOODS

Serve entrees dishes in bite size mini bowls, cups and glasses.  Combine complimentary flavors together and save yourself the hassle of providing all the usual plates, serving utensils and the accompanying clean up.

This asian style mini bowl featuring salmon with apple and ginger slaw from Lindsay Shaw catering fits the bill for a unique presentation and as a heavy appetizer for a cocktail hour.  Mini pies on a stick make for a great visual presentation and a different way to present a favorite stand by.

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For an interactive experience,  try providing stations where guests can and pickle their own are to take home.  Provide enough variety for people to custom their own flavor pairings with different pickles, jams and sauces.

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LIGHTING

Usually the first item to get downsized or cut from a budget is lighting.  Big mistake!  Nothing sets a mood or tone to any party than ambient light.  Coupled with spots and other effects, guests are literally enveloped in the ambiance you are creating.  Consider these two looks and try to imagine the rooms without the softness of the lights and color.

All photos courtesy of Bizbash.

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Recent Affairs with Flair Events



The cooler air of fall definitely announces the end of summer and sets all our thoughts toward to the upcoming holidays – and the frenetic pace that accompanies the season!

As I reluctantly wrap up summer, here’s a look at 2 events that I had particular fun developing.

A corporate event held at the San Diego Zoo invited guests to “Take a Walk on the Wild side” with a private bus tour and african dancers leading guests to a private party area.  Entertainers mingled and delighted guests during cocktail hour.  Taiko drummers were specially flown in to perform a dinner area reveal.  Food stations provided a variety of offerings and guests were treated to a custom designed after dinner variety show, including a specially selected song honoring the company with the Tina Turner song as “Simply the Best.”

It was such fun developing the look of leopard skin runners with pops of fuschia napkins and lush arrangements with orchids, roses, hydrangeas and plenty of greens.

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A Parisian themed event was especially fun to put together for a very, very special couple celebrating a milestone birthday.  Here are a few highlights:

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Food as Art



Now, more than ever, we see evidence of our fascination with food.  Celebrity chefs, competitive cooking shows, farm-to-table freshness, artisanal products, readily available ethnic ingredients and fusion cuisines all speak to food as fashion, art and entertainment.

Business and social occasions should capitalize on the ability that food has to unite and excite us. The power of serving and sharing food creatively has taken on a greater strategic importance in the meetings and events world as a means to engage attendees and enhance their overall experience.  

What better way to increase engagement and support your event’s overall goals and communication process than with your menus and presentation?

 

Tips for creating a memorable food experience:

Stimulate each of the senses! Food and drink can appeal to our sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing to raise our experience to the extraordinary, so…

 

Be artistic — Deliciously prepared food is enhanced when served in imaginative ways. Use unique serving pieces that are consistent with the event theme. Serve lunch in picnic baskets, bento boxes or do something unexpected like paninis on a posicle stick. Don’t forget to refine the atmosphere with lighting and decoration.

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Be fashionable — Use local ingredients, traditional recipes or feature a celebrity chef preparing their signature dish. Transform the mood with distinctive music.   

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Be entertaining —  Invite the chef to demonstrate recipes with your guests. Hold an interactive food preparation task, form small groups of guests who do not know each other. Suddenly, the food and the activity cultivates conversation and new connections.

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From start to finish use each opportunity to engage with your guests. Greet your guests with a drink. Not only does it create a welcoming atmosphere, it avoids those nasty long lines at the bar. Whet your guests appetite with at least one tray- passed food item circulating as they arrive.  This ensures  that everyone has something to eat and drink as they enter and frees them to relax and mingle.

No matter how large or small your gathering is, careful presentation sets a tone and makes your gathering truly distinctive.  Cheers!

 

Tired of Floral Centerpieces?



Floral centerpieces  will always stand the test of time and serve as lovely reminders of your event for several days afterwards.  But if you are ready to try something a little different, how about using food as a centerpiece?

Check out these three ideas for different sources for centerpieces.  Florist Eddie Zaratsian created this elegant centerpiece of chocolate cosmos, raisins and champagne grapes in stunning shades of blues and purples.

Occasions Catering put together a sweet centerpiece of chocolate banana pops sprinkled with nuts and cocoa nibs,  perfect for a kids table.

A combination of  vintage copper cookware with an assortment of custom baked bread sticks, flatbreads and heirloom produce, from Neuman’s Kitchen looks like a painting straight from the renaissance masters !  A look like this can be had by combining fresh produce and artisan breads artfully arranged in your own dishes for a specialty look.

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