Spring is coming, a perfect time for a party to celebrate a holiday, special occasion or simply the arrival of warmer weather! These local party planners share ideas and tips for the perfect spring soiree.
Elizabeth Cordes, Cosmopolitan Events
--Set the tone. With any kind of party—in the spring you think of St. Patrick’s Day, Cardinals Opening Day, graduations, Cinco de Mayo—you want to consider the crowd you’re inviting and the atmosphere you want to create, then build the event with that in mind.
--Go green. St. Patrick’s Day can be very in-your-face with lots of green and shamrocks. You can throw a party that is more updated and classic if you just use hints of green here and there, and create a menu that is inspired by Ireland. For example, have beer pairings with dinner or a Guiness-infused dessert.
--A new twist on graduation. Focus on the graduate’s likes for party ideas instead of the standard cap-and-gown theme. One graduate was headed to Ole Miss, and we found a wonderful linen with the school colors of red and blue that had a very modern design. It felt young but didn’t scream graduation, and we were able to incorporate that design into several elements of the party.
--Refresh with signature cocktails. For spring, any citrus-y, light beverage is great. You could do a Paloma for Cinco de Mayo or whiskey and ginger ale for St. Patrick’s Day.
--Blooming décor. You can’t go wrong with flowers in the spring and look for creative vessels to display them. We just did a rustic look for a party with buds in old medicine jars that spanned the length of the table.
--Bold is better. Use crisp, bright colors in a couple of shades. Many people think of pastels for spring, but that gears more toward Easter. Take cues from the colors of spring flowers, and don’t be afraid of mixing and matching patterns, as well.
--Extra details. If you’re having a party outside, think of the elements and your guests. For nighttime events, have your lawn sprayed to deter bugs or have a container full of bug spray or insect-repellant bracelets for guests. For daytime events, fill that container with sunscreen. It’s a nice gesture that goes a long way.
Sam Orlando Jr., Orlando Gardens
--Functional food. Take advantage of the fresh vegetables in season during the spring. Fill glass containers of different sizes and shapes with brightly colored vegetables and display them as a centerpiece on the buffet table. It makes for a pretty presentation, and you can serve them with dips or a warm cheese fondue.
--Embrace whimsy. For a seated dinner party, try a garden bouquet salad. We take hollowed out Roma tomatoes, fill them with greens and serve the dressing in individual miniature watering cans.
--Free to double-dip. Make individual veggie shots for your guests. Take cylindrical shot glasses, put dip at the bottom and top off with several pieces of carrot, zucchini, asparagus, red pepper, etc.
--Grilling season. Take advantage of the spring grilling season with unique items like grilled pickles (slice cucumbers and grill them before pickling) or grilled lemonade (cut lemons in half, sugar and grill them before squeezing for lemonade).
--Savory lollipops. We make chicken saltimbocca lollipops skewered on bamboo and served on a bed of real wheatgrass. It’s a springy, fun appetizer to offer your guests.
--Picnicking. Plan your party with a picnic theme. Use Astroturf as a tablecloth on a buffet, with picnic baskets or small barbecue pits as centerpieces. Red-and-white checked tablecloths and fake ants also are a good addition.
--Décor with a purpose. Instead of regular confetti, use Growfetti, made out of biodegradable paper embedded with wildflower seeds. Scatter the different colored penny-sized flower-shaped pieces on tables or put it in favors for your guests to take home and plant. You can also use flower and vegetable seed packets as place cards.