Ready to shower somebody special with a little extra love?
Bridal showers. Baby showers. Housewarmings. Spring is always filled with all kinds of celebrations and new beginnings.
But if you’re in charge of hosting the event, let’s be honest: it can be a bit overwhelming. So where do you start? Here are nine handy hints to keep in mind:
- Mini servings: Personalized bites - from cute tea sandwiches to mini desserts - always look adorable and somehow make any event feel a little more special. With smaller portions, it’s easier for your guests to try a fun variety of different foods. Not to mention, you can stretch your budget further, too.
In fact, that’s one of the reasons why I love Tastefully Simple’s new Great Gatherings Kit. It includes all kinds of bite-sized beauties, like these gorgeous Raspberry Truffle Bars. Topped with luscious swirls of raspberry preserves and hot fudge, these brownie bites are seriously amazing. And while they look fancy, they are really easy to make.
By the way, all of today’s recipes are included in the kit, which is designed especially for easy entertaining!
- Room-temperature recipes: Not too hot. Not too cold. Just right. I like to think of this one as the Goldilocks Rule of Entertaining. When you’re busy chatting with friends and family, the last thing you want to worry about is whether warm dishes are getting cold (or heaven forbid, congealing).
Selecting foods that are delicious at room temperature can be a terrific stress-saver, since you won’t have to worry about everything from chafing dishes to extension cords.
- Finger foods: At most showers, your guests will be mingling most of the time. And if you have a packed house, sometimes there’s standing room only. So make it easy to walk and talk with foods that don’t require any utensils.
These Open-Faced Egg Rolls, featured in the Great Gatherings Kit, are a perfect example. Topped with colorful and crunchy slaw, these Asian-inspired chicken bites make it easy to grab and go (and keep gabbing)!
- Can’t-miss-flavors: Fresh fruit. Crunchy veggies. Decadent chocolate. You know, all of the major food groups. Ok, that doesn’t exactly match the traditional food pyramid, but you can never go wrong with these popular staples. Just try to include a variety of different flavors, colors and textures.
- Co-host with a friend (or two): Always trying to do it all? You’re not alone. Here’s the thing: not only will partnering with a friend take some of the worry and expense off your shoulders, it will actually be a lot more fun, too.
If you want to have a really casual event, even consider making it a potluck. I’ve been to a few themed potluck showers before, including a “just desserts” baby shower, a bachelorette pizza party and a bridal shower taco bar. Relax and remember: it doesn’t have to be formal to be fun and memorable!
- Fresh flowers: Don’t go crazy, but fresh flowers always go a long way to brighten up any event. Keep it inexpensive by using mason jars as small vases, or just put together one large bouquet as a centerpiece (and even better – send it home with the guest of honor).
- Fruity cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks: Depending on your type of event (and where you’re hosting it), serve fruit-kissed cocktails like these beautiful Blackberry Lemonade Mojitos.
Make a self-serve bar with dishes of garnishes (e.g., skewers of fresh fruit), straws and sparkling water for adding a little more fizz to drinks. Always be sure to offer non-alcoholic options, too, like punch or lemonade, along with plenty of coffee to keep the conversation going over dessert.
- Pretty yet practical favors: Again, keep it simple. If you want to give guests something to take home, make it practical, like small jars of jam, honey or bath salts. Or tuck small desserts like the Raspberry Truffle Bars into treat boxes, tied with a rustic twine or pretty ribbon.
- Come prepared with takeout boxes: Speaking of sending something home with your guests, share the love by sharing any leftovers. By having some take-out containers with you, dividing up leftovers will be simple – and cleaning up will be, too!
Have any tips to share for showers and spring celebrations? Tell us about your own favorites right here. We’d love to hear your ideas!
P.S. You can find all kinds of party planning tools on Tastefully Simple’s website, too – from invitations to thank-you cards!
Tips & Hints:
- If you use the Silicone Bar Pan, place it on a baking sheet to provide stability when moving it. Also, let your brownies cool completely before removing them from the pan. (I was impatient and ended up with one messy casualty. Which had to be eaten immediately. Which wasn’t exactly a tragedy.)
- If you aren’t using the Silicone Bar Pan, well-greased muffin tins would also work for your Open-Faced Egg Rolls. The same goes for your brownies, but I’d suggest using greased paper liners to make sure they come out cleanly. (You could also make your brownies in an 8 x 8 pan, and simply slice them into 16 bars.)
- Don’t have any olive oil spray for your wonton wrappers? Use a basting/pastry brush to coat them with a very thin layer of olive oil on both sides before baking. It works great!