wine and cheese

3 Classy Tips for Wine and Cheese Parties

Now that the weather’s starting to get a little colder – what better time is there to throw a few laid-back parties within the comfort of your own home or office. Turn up the class with a selection of delectable cheeses, and chase away the chill with the warm blush of a delicious rose, or a dry glass of white wine.

Gather your invites and use these tips for some of the most impressive cheese soirees your friends will ever see.

Tip 1: Picking the Wine

Let’s face it, if you get the wine right – it’s hard for the night not to be a success. Delicious wine, good company, and a hefty dose of alcohol is enough to leave even the pickiest of guests with a smile on their face. The best options to serve alongside cheese include fruity, dry reds, such as:

  • Merlot
  • Pinot Noir
  • Rose

On the other hand, if you want to shake things up and have a selection of reds and whites to choose from, you can also stock up on:

  • Chardonnay
  • Pinot Grigio
  • Sauvignon Blanc

Chill the white wine for as long as possible, but only place the red in the fridge about an hour before your guests arrive. Make sure they’re all allowed to settle at room temperature for a couple of minutes before serving.

Tip 2: Choosing the Cheese

You can’t leave your wine to stand alone – otherwise you lose your opportunity to class your party as a fancy get-together. Be a little adventurous in pairing your liquid choices with some sumptuous cheeses, carefully balancing a mix of textures and tastes. Variety is key – so that your guests can have something to choose from if they don’t like the first cube they try:

  • For creamy and soft, try brie or goat’s cheese
  • For pungent and strong, pick livarot and taleggio
  • For rich and subtle, select fontina or manchego
  • For intense, offer stilton, gorgonzola, or cambozola

Tip 3: Accessorizing

Finally, when you’ve got the wine and cheese properly picked out, then you’ll be able to think about the other treats you might want to offer alongside them. For instance, you might pick a range of olives or grapes to add alongside your cheeseboard, or stay simple with a selection of crackers and some delicious cured meats. The most important thing is to have fun, and don’t be afraid to experiment.

Image Source: Pixabay

halloween themes

3 Unique Halloween Themes to Dazzle Your Guests

That spook-tacular time of year is almost here once again – and that means one very important thing: It’s time for you to start planning your Halloween party! Whether you’re planning an incredible bash of your own, or you’re looking for an exciting way to help out with your friends’ get-together, the last thing you want is to be restricted to the same old ideas and plastic skeletons.

Following, we’ve put together a list of some of our favorite unique Halloween ideas – to give you the inspiration you need for a truly dazzling evening.

1.    Murder-Mystery Party

There’s nothing quite like a murder-mystery soiree to get the excitement brewing on Halloween. You can even ask a friend to take a moment out of his or her busy schedule to act as a temporary “body”, for the initial shock factor to wow your guests.

You can add to the atmosphere with candy blood slides to mystery-based party games, and even hand out prizes to those who manage to solve the riddle by the end of the evening. There’s plenty of murder mystery scripts online today if you’re feeling uninspired – but keep in mind that a few of them are up to seventy-pages long.

2.    Halloween Cocktail Contest

What’s more important on Halloween than finding time for some deliciously sinful drinks and treats? Rather than handing a bunch of pre-made beverages to your guests, the “contest” aspect of this theme will get them to show off their own creativity, and ensure that everyone’s engaged during your bash – rather than simply sitting on the sofa and waiting for time to pass.

All you need to make this idea a success is a few exciting recipes, plenty of booze, and Halloween extras to add a touch of “horror” to your delicious drinks.

3.    YouTube Clip Carousel

Finally, why not make the most out of everyone’s love of YouTube and create a playlist of incredible Halloween-themed videos to keep your party guests entertained if they want to take a break from booze and dancing. If you’re holding the bash at home, you can always have your YouTube clips running in a different room to provide a great “chill-out” space for tired party-goers.

If you can’t think of a lot of videos to include yourself, make sure to create a Facebook group for your Halloween event and get people to input their own suggestions – just make sure videos are all three-minutes long or less – or you could end up with some clips that last forever.

Image Source: Pixabay

mocktails

These 6 Delicious Mocktails are Perfect for an Alcohol-Free Party

If you’re hosting a party for those in the recovery community, or you’re trying to make the most out of your wedding as a pregnant bride, there’s plenty of reasons to plan an alcohol-free event. Though most people assume that parties need to have some sort of alcohol available if they’re going to go off without a hitch – the truth is that there’s a range of delicious mocktails out there that can provide the same sense of luxury – without the hangover.

Following are just some of our favorite recipes designed to keep your bar inspirational, and your guests happy.

mocktails

1.    The Dark Invader

Ingredients:

  • Ice
  • Vanilla Syrup
  • Pineapple Juice
  • Blackberries

To make this brilliant beverage, combine the blackberries, syrup and juice in a cocktail shaker and mix well. Add ice and shake vigorously for at least thirty seconds, before straining into a cocktail glass. Garnish with extra blackberries for an additional ounce of flair.

2.    Cherry Bomb

Ingredients:

  • Grenadine
  • Lemon/Lime Soda
  • Lime Juice
  • Maraschino cherries

Pour the soda, lime juice, and grenadine into a large mixing glass and stir until all of the ingredients are fully combined. Pour over plenty of ice in a low ball glass, and garnish with cherries.

3.    Ginger Lime Fizz

Ingredients:

  • Limes
  • Seltzer water
  • Squeezed lime juice
  • Ginger beer

This particular mocktail doesn’t require any professional mixer knowledge. Simply toss all of the ingredients into your biggest, fanciest pitcher and serve ice cold to your guests.

4.    Virgin Moscow Mule

Ingredients:

  • Ice cubes
  • Sparkling water
  • Vanilla syrup
  • Ginger beer
  • Lime juice

Combine all of your ingredients into a glass and stir together well. If you want to save time, you can use a pitcher instead – just be sure to garnish each glass you serve with a small slice of ginger, and a sliver of lime.

5.    Coconut Lavender Lemonade

Ingredients:

  • Lavender syrup
  • Water
  • Coconut water
  • Sugar
  • Lemon juice

Place the sugar, lemon juice, water, and coconut water into a pitcher and mix well until all of the sugar granules dissolve. Pour your lavender syrup into the concoction, and stir well for one of the prettiest mocktails you’ll ever see.

6.    Sparkling Raspberry Flutes

Ingredients:

  • Frozen raspberry lemonade
  • Frozen raspberries
  • Cold water
  • White grape juice (Sparkling)

In a small pitcher, mix your frozen lemonade with three cups of water. Fill an ice cube tray with raspberries and the raspberry lemonade mix, and set inside of the freezer, then move the remaining drink mix to the side for later. When everything is ready to serve, add ice cubes to each glass, and add a teaspoon of raspberry lemonade, followed by plenty of sparkling grape juice.

Image Source: Pixabay

roof party

4 Amazing Tips for Taking Your Next Party to The Roof

Rather than looking for new and exciting ways to blow the roof off your next party, why not take your bash to a whole dimension by hosting it underneath the sparkling night sky? Roof parties (when the weather allows for it), can be memorable ways to generate incredible experiences, make new friends, and make the most of some pretty awesome themes.

For people who like a party with a view, a stunning soiree can be so much more from an elevated location like a roof or a balcony – all you need to do is make sure that you’re doing everything right.

roof party

1. Prepare and Get Permission

Before you can throw a rooftop party, you’re going to need to get permission from the building owner, or landlord. If you own the property – then there’s no problem, otherwise, you need to ensure that you’re not breaking any codes or rules. What’s more, you’ll have to ensure that there are walls or railings everywhere to keep your guests safe when they start sipping on cocktails.

2. Think of a Theme

Just like any other party, a good rooftop bash can be excellent if you choose the right theme. Decide what you’re celebrating, and find a way to add something special to the standard set up. For instance, are you networking with new business associates, or getting the most out of an incredible birthday?

Once you’ve figured out the theme and the drive behind your party, you’ll be able to start stocking up on appropriate food and drink to last you and your guests throughout the night.

3. Organize Your Space

Once you’ve figured out your theme, food, and other essential details, you’ll need to clean and organize the rooftop space so there’s plenty of room to party – and figure out how you’re going to decorate.

As you glance around your space, think about what kind of furniture you’re going to need (if any), and where it should be placed. The essential items might include:

  • Sit-down dinner spaces
  • Chairs and sofas
  • Side tables
  • Cocktail tables
  • Plenty of lighting and lamps (to keep your evening sparkling)
  • Canopies and umbrellas
  • Extension cords for music, and electronics

4. Transform Your Roof

With the plans out of the way, you can transform your rooftop into the perfect outdoor bash with coordinated colors, stunning scenery, and plenty of bright lights to keep the energy levels high. Get your party started!

Image Source: Pixabay

Introvert party tips

3 Essential Party Tips for Self-Professed Introverts

Just because you’d much rather spend time at home with a good book, than head out to a new party every weekend, doesn’t mean that you’re going to ignore an important excuse to celebrate. Whether you’re throwing an event yourself, or you’re a special guest at someone special’s soiree – it’s not always possible to avoid a crowd.

Fortunately, we’ve put together a list of useful tips for the introverted individuals who put their friends, and party responsibilities ahead of their discomfort. Following are some of the best advice you’re going to need for staying sane during your next celebration.

Introvert party tips

1.    Be Ready to Listen (a lot)

If you’re a life-long introvert, then the chances are you’re already going to know one important truth about “other” people – they love to talk about themselves. Since the chances are that you’re not going to want to be the center of the conversation anyway – you might as well help other people chat about what they’re interested in with bouts of active listening. What’s more – if you get to know the people around you through listening, you might even end up feeling more comfortable by the end of the party.

2.    Track Your Energy Levels

If you know you’ve got hours of partying to get through, then you’re going to have to monitor your energy levels carefully during the night. Understand that from time to time, you’re going to have to take a moment aside to recuperate and get yourself in the right place for social interaction. Most introverts can find that time in crowds quickly saps their equilibrium.

If you find yourself struggling to cope, pretend you need to take a call and head to the bathroom – or make sure you have someone with you who can recognize the signs and give you a much-needed out when you need it most.

3.    Track Down Quiet Areas

Finally, this tip will be easier to follow if you’re hosting the party yourself – but if you’re attending someone’s bash, it’s still possible to track down the quiet areas for emergency safe zone’s when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Some of the best spots typically include bathrooms, kitchens, back entrances, corridors, and so on.

Make sure you avoid places that you’ve been asked not to go, and anywhere that might have a lot of foot traffic. If you’re in a public venue, simply stepping outside might be enough.

Image source: Pixabay

wedding budget

So You’re Getting Married? Here’s How to Feed Your Guests (on a Budget)

So you’re getting married? Congratulations!

There’s plenty of exciting things to look forward to, from picking a dress or suit, to figuring out your venue. Unfortunately, all of this planning comes with one major downfall – the expense of it all. Let’s face it, paying for a wedding is not cheap – particularly when it comes to catering for all those hungry and thirsty guests.

If you want to save money on the food so that you can put a higher budget towards the things that matter more to you – such as that fancy honeymoon – then there is a way to feed your guests on a budget. It’s all about making some basic decisions and cutting down on the excess!

wedding budget

Step 1: Provide Appetizers Yourself

This might sound like a waste of your time – particularly when there’s so much to do on the wedding day, but it’s actually easier than it seems. If you get pre-prepared appetizers that can be frozen and simply thrown in the oven just before cocktail hour, then you can save about 50% of the costs associated with buying nibbles.

Step 2: Lose the Servers

While it might seem super fun to have servers wandering around your wedding party with little silver trays of food – the chances are that you don’t want to pay the price they’ll be asking for. Your guests are capable of serving themselves, so don’t worry about simply having an open buffet-style solution instead!

Step 3: Try to B.Y.O.B

When you’re choosing and booking your wedding reception venue, try asking whether they mind if you bring your own beverages. By selecting and providing your own wine, liquor, and beer, you’ll reduce your chances of having to pay the inflated prices that the venue typically charges those who use the available bar.

Step 4: Get Your Family Involved

If you love your mom’s cooking, then why not get her involved when it comes to creating the menu for your big day? Getting your family involved in helping to cook some of the signature dishes could make a buffet service a whole lot cheaper to organize – particularly since you won’t have to pay for your caterer to make quite as much food!

Step 5: Have a Daytime Wedding

Finally, why not move your wedding time forward to the earlier portion of the day? Lunch and breakfast generally cost a lot less than dinner, so a daytime wedding can be a great solution if you’re trying to save cash!

Image source: Pixabay

Professional party

Get Your Next Bash Off to an Awesome Start with the Pros

While planning and organizing your own event from scratch – whether it’s a birthday party, celebration, or business conference – might seem like an easy enough feat, there’s actually a lot more involved in throwing an incredible bash than you might think.

Planning an incredible event means using all of your creativity, innovation, and skill to cultivate an experience that perfectly represents the theme, or person being celebrated. With that in mind, it’s easy to see why turning to the professionals can be such a good idea.

Discover Inspirational Themes

While you might have a few tried and tested theme ideas in mind, the chances are that you don’t have nearly as many suggestions as your standard event planner. That’s not to say your creativity isn’t important – only that your ideas, when matched with the talent and experience of a professional, could lead to the creation of a bash that is truly out of this world. After all, being able to get ideas from alternate angles is a great way to cultivate original thought.

Discuss Amazing Ideas

When you work with event planning professionals, it’s not about simply handing your party over to someone else and waiting to see what they come up with. While you can absolutely ask for insight and ideas, you can also give your own thoughts and recommendations, to ensure that the finished event is something that caters to every whim, and every imaginative idea you’ve dreamt up when planning your special occasion.

Together, you and your event manager will look at the details of your event, the venue you’ve chosen, and what can be done to turn your concepts into realities.

Make Your Dreams Come True

Finally, working with the pros means connecting with individuals who have networks much larger than your own. Having an incredible idea for an event is one thing – but actually making it happen is something entirely different.

The bash pros help to take your event to the next level by organizing everything that goes on behind the scenes – taking over the hard work and allowing you to focus on enjoying your event in style.

Image Source: Pixabay

Nervous clients got you down? Here’s how you can help to dispel their fears.

How Do You Handle Your Delicate Anxious Clients?

As an event planner, you’ve undoubtedly faced your share of nervous clients.

Of course, you do everything that you can to ensure that your clients have a stress-free event-planning experience, but sometimes they tend to get caught up in “what if” scenarios, and before you know if you have an anxious client on your hands who’s stressing out about the menu and guest list and worrying themselves sick about the weather.

How can you deal with clients like this? Is there a way to help them relax?

While you can’t tame every flighty client, the good news is that you can help to alleviate many of their fears. Here are four simple things that you can do to help your clients sit back, relax, and start looking forward to their big day.

1. Communicate
Clear communication is the first step in helping to keep your client’s nerves down. Make sure you listen to them when they’re explaining what they want for their event, and be sure to note things that seem to hold special importance to them. For instance, if the bride-to-be mentions roses three times in the course of your conversation, chances are this is an important detail for her. If your business client’s eyes light up when they’re talking about having a certain DJ at their conference, you’ll want to try to make it happen. Find out what really matters to them, and then do everything you can to ensure that it happens.

2. Establish Clear Expectations
Speaking of communication, make sure you establish clear expectations with your clients upfront. Promising them the moon and the stars is fine –if you can deliver –but overpromising, and under-delivering is a recipe for disaster. Instead, make sure your clients know exactly what to expect, realistically, that is, not vague ideas of grandeur! They’ll be happier and less anxious as a result.

3. Create a Backup Plan
Having a backup plan is vital. Not only for your peace of mind, but for your clients’ as well. If you have entertainment lined up, make sure there’s a band that will be able to step in should the other group cancel at the last minute. For outdoor events, ensure sure you have a tent or marquee on hand. Planning ahead and looking to stem potential problems that could arise will help you to put many of your client’s worst fears to rest. Success!

4. Keep Them Updated
Finally, keeping clients informed on what’s happening can work wonders. Most clients love to be kept in the loop about developments –and informed ahead of time about changes or updates. Surprises are great –but not in this line of work! So make sure your clients are kept in the know.

Nervous clients are just part of the job –after all, you’d be nervous too if you had a major event on the horizon! Often, nervous clients just want to know that everything’s under control. Keep your clients updated, well-informed, and on the same page as you –and you’ll be able to help keep them calm, relaxed, and looking forward to their big day. No “what if’s” about it!

How do you handle nervous clients?

Image: Freddie Peña

If you’re looking to grow your network, try these tips to make new connections at events.

How to Buddy Up and Grow Your Professional Network

Looking to grow your network?

Most of us are. A thriving network can open up great opportunities –and having a Rolodex, or, these days –a LinkedIn account that’s bursting full of helpful contacts can open up new doors, help build your credibility, lead to new job opportunities, and more.

But if you’re like many people, being social, and putting yourself out there doesn’t come naturally. Sure, we’re friendly enough, when approached –but mustering up courage out of thin air and walking up to a complete stranger and introducing yourself –now that takes nerve!

If you’re not naturally a people person, the good news is that becoming more social is a skill –and something that can be mastered. It may be difficult at first, but like most things in life, the more you do it, the easier it will become. With a bit of practice you’ll be graduating from wallflower to social butterfly in no time!

If you have an upcoming networking event, and are looking to make some new contacts, here are some tips that will help to get you off to a great start.

Be Prepared

Being prepared is half the journey! Know what you want to achieve before you attend the event, and have a clear picture on what type of connections that you want to make. Try to practice and perfect your 30-second elevator pitch, which is your brief introduction that outlines your experience and interests. Be sure to get your business cards printed up ahead of time, and if relevant, your resume as well. Plan your outfit –make sure you’re put together. Looking great will help you to feel confident –something that’s absolutely necessary for making a good first impression.

Be Friendly

Once you’re at the event, it’s time to put your social skills to use. Make an effort to go up to people that are standing alone and introduce yourself. Walk confidently and smile, be the first to extend your hand. When talking, listen carefully and show interest. You don’t have to spend a lot of time with any one person, but if you find yourself engaged in an interesting conversation, make sure you exchange contact information. You could even suggest a follow-up activity such as coffee. Above all, make sure you keep realistic expectations and don’t stress it –after all, you’re not there to get hired on the spot, you’re just there to meet new contacts!

Follow Up

All good relationships take time to grow. Don’t just leave your contacts hanging; be sure to reach out after the event. Consider sending your new contacts an e-mail or LinkedIn message telling them that you enjoyed meeting them. Add them to your contact lists, follow their blog, add them on Twitter or Google Plus, and engage with them when you can. For those contacts that you had a great conversation with, consider suggesting get-togethers in person for coffee –or set a reminder to reach out to them on a holiday or upcoming event.

Remember: you –and everyone else is at the event for the same reason: to make new connections. This isn’t a one-way street! Don’t feel that you’re wasting people’s time or that they don’t want to meet you –chances are they’re looking to meet people, just like you.

What are your networking secrets?

Image: Jurgen Appelo

Planning a party? Don’t forget the cake!

3 Winning Kids Party Themes

Everyone loves a good party.

Especially kids!

Add some cake, awesome décor, cake, fun party games, cake, and lots of great food, and you’re guaranteed a good time. Did we mention cake?

If your birthday girl, or boy, is turning another year older, then you’re probably on the lookout for party ideas. The good news is that it’s not hard to pull off a fantastic bash that your child –and the other little party-goers will love. To get you off to a great start here are three themes that will ensure party-perfect success. Read on to see how easy it is to create a party that’s fun, enjoyable, and of course –one that features plenty of cake.

1.Legos
Who doesn’t love Legos? Unless you’re the one who’s always stepping on the stray pieces, that is! Throwing a party for little Lego enthusiasts can be an easy theme that can be as simple or as elaborate as you’d like. Lego cakes in the shape of Lego bricks, Lego building contests, and décor featuring Lego pieces can make for a fun theme that is sure to entertain both kids and grownups alike.

2.Nemo
With Finding Dory hitting the theaters, a certain clown fish isn’t far from anyone’s minds. A quick search online will bring up tons of party ideas centering on all things Nemo. If you have a Finding Nemo fan in the family, a Nemo-themed bash might be the perfect party theme. Set the scene with under the sea decor and plenty of fish-themed fun. Be sure to host fishing games, serve snacks with goldfish, and of course, use plenty of orange and blue in your décor.

3.Frozen
While you might be tired of Elsa, Ana, Olaf, and friends –it’s a pretty safe bet that anyone under the age of eight is most definitely not! Frozen parties are still pretty cool this year, and for most kids, this theme is a definite winner. Consider having a DIY marshmallow station where your little party-goers can make their own Olafs, and sneak some vegetables in by serving up “reindeer snack” carrots. If you’re feeling ambitious, be sure to check out some of these amazing Frozen cakes –pure art.

Finally, while planning a party can be all-consuming, try to keep things light and enjoyable. Don’t overstress it when it comes to your child’s party –after all, the whole idea is to have fun. Remember to take time to celebrate and enjoy the festivities. And have some cake too, of course!

If the party planning is starting to get to you, don’t hesitate to contact Bash Divas –professional event planners serving Toronto and the GTA. We’ll ensure that the details come together and will help you to pull off the perfect party –one that your child will love and remember for years to come.

Image: Michael