Summer Entertaining and DIY

By on June 10, 2014

The best parties are those that have the three G’s: good food, good music and good lighting. And of course, a good guest list. I decided to turn to my favorite DIY projects into a sensational party setting that would wow my guests.

Invite

Skip the Evite—the best impression for an elegant party is to mail invitations.  Evites give the idea that anyone and everyone is invited and rarely get a prompt response.  A sophisticated dinner party is exclusive. A DIY invite can save you money and look far more impressive to your guests. They’ll be intrigued to come see what else you’ll have at the party.

For this recent dinner party, I chose A Midsummer Night’s Dream as my theme, but you can go DIY for a backyard BBQ and have just as much fun with your projects. I got crafty and became a DIY Diva with Cricut.com‘s new electronic cutting machine and their Make It Now projects. It cuts, paper, fabric, vinyl and even leather in minutes, flawlessly.

picture of table decorations

Party Time

table setting

Gorgeous Table Setting

Music

If you aren’t musically inclined or have the time to make a varied selection then search for DJ mixes online or CD’s that fit the theme of your party from lounge music or soft R&B for dinner and switch it to disco for dessert to keep the mood and energy upbeat. Or get yourself the Camden Square from PolkAudio.com and you can connect up to four iPhones so to share playlists.

Flowers

Buy fresh from your local farmer’s market or supermarket the morning of the party OR go DIY and make a stunning centerpiece like we did of paper and fabric flowers. With a few adjustments, I can mix and match different flowers, even mix with fresh for future parties.

flower center piece

Unique Flowers

flower centerpiece 2

Always “Fresh”

Food and Drink

As for food, keep it simple. If you want a sit down dinner minimize the guests to 8-10 and prep the ingredients or portions of the meal ahead of time. Stick to what you know in the meal department. Stay away from complicated recipes and main courses that need constant attention. Don’t hesitate to dole out side dishes to friends and order your favorite dessert from the local bakery.

For more guests set up a buffet and hire someone to pass hot hors d’ouervres, serve dessert and clean up the kitchen. You can usually hire someone through a catering company, cooking school or college program. The point is to get out of the kitchen and enjoy the party.

Stick to wine and either beer or a signature drink for alcohol. Stick to seltzer and ice tea as your non-alcoholic choices. Nothing gets more bogged down that offering too many choices of soda and drinks.

Seating Arrangements

Mix up where friends usually sit at your table. Create place cards and help establish some new friendships. To break the monotony that can occur with the same old crowd, come up with questions for your guests. Type or write them up ahead of time and place them under the dinner plates, dessert plates or in a bowl so guests are unaware until it’s time to share. You may suddenly learn of a hidden desire, their favorite gift given or received or even a silly fear.

Olivia name card

Seating

For the Guests

Don’t let guests leave empty handed.  Write or print up the recipes from that evening’s dinner, roll up and secure with ribbon and tie around a mini bottle of wine or champagne. Or just send them home with something sweet like a mini cupcake.

Photos

Don’t forget to capture the memories. Create your own photo booth. You don’t need to hire anybody. Instead create a backdrop with something as simple as a large sheet. And offer your friends props like simple DIY masks, hats and sunglasses. Take photos on each other’s cellphones and share.

Party goers with props

Photo Props

DIY masks

Creatures

DIY

Cricut is looking to get inspired by you!  All my DIY projects were created with the new Cricut Explore.

For 50 days, Cricut is giving away a Cricut a day to creative people who have Made It. Maybe you made a scarf, a four layer cake, paper mache from 2nd grade  – all you have to do is take a photo of the project you’ve made and share it by hashtagging your photo with  #cricut #imadeit  – your project could win you a Cricut worth $299.

To win a Cricut, hashtag any project  #cricut #imadeit. Go to cricut.com/imadeit for details.

Originally posted on Alison Deyette’s blog.

About Alison Deyette

Alison Deyette is an accomplished television host, seasoned stylist and lifestyle expert who has worked extensively for national news and entertainment programs, magazines and online media outlets. You can find her at: http://www.alisondeyette.com/

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Summer Entertaining and DIY