Party Planning Tips from the Just Marry! Summer BBQ

July 18, 2011 by Just Marry!

On the rare occasion that all of our schedules aren’t packed with wedding planning, wedding coordinating, or wedding recovery, the Just Marry! team likes to eat, drink, and be merry! This weekend, we got together at Susan’s house to do just that. We may be expert wedding planners, but we also know a thing or two about party planning and we’re sharing our very best tips, a festive drink recipe, and some DIY decor ideas on today’s blog! They’ll come in handy for the engagement party, bridal shower, or rehearsal dinner you have in the works.

We didn’t want to go crazy with the decorations, but we wanted to add some pops of fun color, so we decided to go with Just Marry! color scheme. It’s summer, so in stores there are lots of bright pinks, greens, and blues available; color-coordinating the napkins, cups and plates was a cinch! Susan wanted a party favor for the girls, so in keeping with the summertime theme (and since our hard-working coordinators are often in the summer sun for outdoor ceremonies) we went with some insulated cups that had bright swirls of color.

The quickie DIY project we’re sharing today is one you could whip up for ANY occasion in any color scheme: tissue paper flowers (as seen hanging in last photo above).

1. Evenly stack 8-10 sheets of gift wrapping tissue paper in a pile.
2. Starting at one end, fold the entire pile in a 1 1/2 inch fan fold all the way across.
3. At the center of your folded strip of stacked tissue paper, tie a ribbon tightly around it to secure (can also use scotch tape).
4. Using a sharp pair of scissors, trim each end of the strip into your desired shape (rounded, angled cut, straight across, etc).
5. Gently pull all of the pieces of tissue paper apart (take your time or they’ll rip) as far as possible and shape it into a neat and fluffy ball.

You can hang these using ribbon, tie a series of them together and hang them like a garland, or attach small ones to pipe cleaners and arrange them in a vase like a bouquet!

Above, Karen is enjoying some of our party punch– in this case, it’s white sangria made from a recipe that you can find here. In the past, we’ve dined at the lovely Columbia restaurant and enjoyed this beverage as a group, so we thought it only fitting to bring it back for the BBQ! (Note: I substituted blueberries for cherries as a garnish, since they were in-season and on sale.)

Another tasty and refreshing treat at the party was Scott Mifsud‘s spiked watermelon! He injected the chilled watermelon with pomegranate vodka, before it was cut into chunks and served. Delicious, just make sure you keep the kiddos away!

The guys did a great job manning the grill, but as all of us gracious hostesses know– there’s so much more to a BBQ than just the BBQ! Susan shares some tips for enjoying yourself at your own event:

Susan’s #1 Tip: Prepare as much as you can before the party!

Two days prior: Empty the refrigerator and freezer as much as possible so you have plenty of room to store prepared food. Wash and dry serving dishes. Set out table cloths and d├ęcor.

One day prior: Shop for food. Prepare as much of the food as you can. Bonus points if have enough room to store the prepared items in their actual serving dishes!

BBQ day: Morning – Finish preparing the rest of the food. Set out items that don’t require refrigeration (make sure to keep items covered so they don’t get stale). Ten minutes prior to guest arrival, set out perishable items and uncover other items.

Remember: Make sure to have plenty of trash bags around. Try to save cleaning up for after guests depart. Let dishes stack up in the sink or use disposable items. You want to enjoy the BBQ too!

All of Susan’s preparation paid off– the team enjoyed themselves and had plenty to eat, drink, and chat about! We also discovered something interesting (that was just a coincidence); apparently, we’re all fans of round (and mostly pink) desserts (as seen below)! Hey, if you get a group of wedding planners together, things just tend to fall into place even when we’re not really trying!

Our thanks to Susan and Scott for their hospitality and many thanks to all of our team who were able to make it out on Sunday! We thank our readers for stopping by and hope that you’ve gleaned some helpful information for planning your next party!

If you have any questions about party planning or wedding planning, we’re all ears! Just shoot us an email or leave a comment and we’ll be in touch.

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