Sunday, March 29, 2009

reader question of the week

Question of the week:

"We are having a Saturday night cocktail party for my husband's upcoming 34th birthday. I was trying to think of ways to make it a little more fun then your typical standing-around-for-drinks thing. I am clueless- help! Also, is it okay to have plastic cups and plates? What's the rule there (we don't have enough glass ones to cover the guest list)? Thanks! -Catherine"

To submit your query for question of the week, email me at: hickspapergoods(at)yahoo(dot)com


Danielle Bly said...

If it is in your budget, I would suggest having it catered with chef-interactive stations and the caterer can bring all the plates necessary.

If it is not in your budget, what about still doing stations where guests must be interactive (i/e: make your own tapas station).... and splurge for hiring a bartender and renting small ap plates.

Stations are great because they will help to encourage mingling and create a flow of the space.

And if at all possible, get a photobooth! This will keep guests entertained and provide wonderfully nostalgic grown-up favors and a keepsake for your husband.

'stina said...

we did this for a housewarming party last year, and it worked great, though i suggest capping the number of guests, so you don't end up with too many bottles or too long an evening... invite guests over for a wine-tasting party and instruct them to bring two bottles of the same wine -- one will be entered into the tasting, and the other will go into a "prize pool". when we hosted, we ended up with about equal reds and whites, so it worked out nicely. we made note cards so people could jot comments after each tasting and then compare before submitting their ballot for "best red" and "best white". the winners for each category won all of the red or white bottles that were in the prize pool. it adds a fun element to the evening, and at no extra expense to you! our friends still talk about that party and are always asking us to host another one like it. one thing you may consider doing that we didn't is hiring a bartender for the evening. i wound up having to uncork all the bottles entered in the competition, and pour each for 50 people. and that wasn't much fun -- plus it limited my ability to socialize.

collard green queen said...

These photo cubes make great centerpeices- maybe photo copy pictures of your husband on vellum pick up the picture frames at the Dollar Store- You can rent plates and wine glasses pretty cheap-- Tap your friends for resources- (glasses) mexican is a great cheap dinner for guest- Order from your local rest. and do fajitas- you supply the sides?

Laura said...

I helped my mom plan my step dad's 60th birthday not too long ago. We decided to do something really different and buy hookah's for a Moroccan theme. It was a hit!! The hookah brings people together and def helps break the ice.
I blogged about it:

Anonymous said...

I like the idea of a themed party. The wine party suggested above sounds great. I went to a chocolate and cheese part that was great. The host had mac and cheese, a cheese spread, fondu in chocolate and cheese, cheese popcorn. You can do a lot with this theme.

As for plates and glasses I prefer real but if it's too much it won't break your party to go with paper. If you do want to do real check out Ikea or Crate and Barrel. Or even a dollar store.

You can hire a bartender on Craigs List pretty cheap. Post an ad. My friend even requested that interested people reply with a photo.

Good luck and have fun!

christa Baca said...

You may be able to afford real plates. They are cheaper than you think. I bought some on clearance from a local closeout store for under $20 (a total of 36 plates!)

You can also do a fun fondue night as suggested. One great idea is to get some wooden skewers (for Kabobs) and use a large glass vase (I have a cute square one) and fill it with marshmallows. You can set up an open flame using burner kits (for catering) and make smores. Its a fun novelty to add to any fondue party.

Margaret said...

We have a "swanky" wine party every year - the only two rules are 1. No jeans and 2. No taco dip! It's great to see close friends dressed up nice, and feasting on fancy treats, as opposed to the normal superbowl party-type appetizers. We download a ton of old big band type music - Glenn Miller, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, etc... to play throughout the evening. Also, in order to prevent scaring off any guests, we make it known that you don't HAVE to drink wine... but most people usually end up drinking it instead of other beverages. When in Rome, right? This party would be a great way to celebrate a birthday, on a small or large scale.

Pumpkin Petunia said...

I second the idea of a photo booth! Set up a backdrop in an out-of-the way spot, collect random props like hats, boas, etc and that will provide the entertainment for the entire night. If you have a niece/nephew or neighbor to hire to take the photos, even better. Or you could set up a tripod and use a timer. Sooo much fun!

As for paper products, I think you'd be surprised at how inexpensively you can find non-disposable plates and cups. The cost is likely to be the same as disposable. Definitely try IKEA or a Crate and Barrel outlet if you have one nearby and I know tons of people who have luck with the dollar store. Then you'll have them for future use; it will actually save you money.

sara hicks malone of party perfect said...

Thanks everyone- these are AWESOME IDEAS. You are so creative!!!

Anonymous said...

Arg! Just lost my comment. I'll try again. In keeping with my love of themed events I was thinking All American. You can do a large beer selection and have a hot dog station featuring hot dogs from different ballparks. Ex: NY Deli Dog, Texas Corn Dog, Milwaukee Brat, Chicago Red Hot and so forth. You can have trays filled with popcorn, peanuts, pretzels and so forth. You can also make use of those paper plates and cups that are so easy to clean up and I think this can be cheaper then say a wine event but just as much fun (perhaps more).

amber said...

Go to IKEA and get cheap-o wine glasses. I think paper plates are more acceptable, but wine out of plastic is gross.

Make a longer-than-you-think-you'll-need iTunes list and have it playing.

I like the idea of interactive food: make-your-own tapas, a sundae bar (yes, even for an adult party!) or s'mores.

I'm not sure about activities, though. At 34, I think most people would LOVE to stand around!

kT said...

hope it's not too late but -- fondue! i had a fondue party for my husbands 30th. i made 4 types of fondue and the cake was a stack of cake to dip in chocolate... it was casual and simple but loads of fun!