Last night, was the highly anticipated (in my mind) housewarming and joint birthday party for Scott (25) & Ollie (1), the two most important men in my life. It was a great turnout and the Stock the Bar theme certainly lived up to it’s expectations. It was such a sweet evening with some of my favorite people in the world: from long-time friends, new friends, people from work life and from yoga – all under one roof. For my first time hosting a party, I tried to make things as easy and fun as possible. Here are some tips for first-time party throwers like myself. For a guest list of 20-30 people, follow these, and you’re party is sure to be a hit.
Food & Drink
- Mint Ginger Ale – I found this simple punch recipe on Williams and Sonoma. Combine ginger ale, mint, bourbon & ice.
- Cocktail Weiners – Throw 3-4 bags little smokies in a crockpot (or large pot). Add 1/4 cup ketchup, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1 tablespoon Worchister sauce, 1.5 bottles of sweet honey bbq sauce and tabasco to taste. Heat on medium to high until cooked and warm throughout. Serve with toothpicks.
- Fruit & Veggies – A few of my friends are on Paleo, vegetarian and/or just really healthy, so I cut up a half watermelon, 2 peppers (yellow & orange for color), celery and carrots. Serve with ranch or your favorite dipping sauce.
- Pimiento Cheese Dip (recipe coming soon from Scott’s mom and thank goodness, because it is AMAZE)
- Sandwiches – Easy peasy to prepare in advance: turkey or ham, grey poupon, your favorite cheese (swiss and cheddar are both great) on dinner rolls.
- Tortellini Skewers – Another super easy app that you can prepare in advance. Boil two bags of tortellini. Drain, and serve with pesto and toothpicks for quick bites.
- Mac & Cheese Bites + Stuffed Mushrooms – These snacks are so tasty and easy to eat, your guests won’t care that they’re from the frozen aisle at Trader Joe’s. Pop both in the oven (I made a dozen of each) for 20-30 minutes before guest arrive at 425 degrees.
- Sweets – Everybody loves a funfetti cupcake, so go ahead and make a batch of 24 (cheap and easy to do in advance). Cookie cakes are great, too for cutting into pieces so everyone can enjoy a bite.
It’s easy to go overboard with decorations, but I think it’s all about keeping it simple. These ideas prove you don’t need to spend a ton of money to create a festive space. I recommend picking 2-3 colors to stick with throughout and tying in a theme when you can. I was inspired by the colors and patterns from The Wizard of Oz, and so, incorporated an Oz theme, There’s no place like Home.
- Flag Banner – Fold some colored paper (diamond shape) horizontally over string. Glue or staple on the fold and include the string. Write a message on the triangles or use letter stickers from the Scrapbook section. Use the scraps to make matching “streamers” like the photo above.
- Poms – You can follow these directions here. Or by the time, you buy the tissue paper, wire, etc. you might as well just buy the pre-made poms at Hobby Lobby (Set of three for $3.99)
- Fresh flowers – easy/pretty way to bring in color
- Cupcake or dessert flags – So, I failed in making these adorable etsy cupcake flags, but I think it’s a cute idea to incorporate the theme into your desserts.