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How to Choose an Appropriate Entertaining Venue

How to Choose an Appropriate Entertaining Venue

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Looking to entertain? Throwing a big party or wedding? How do you go about finding the right venue for your event

Most people loose focus and their priorities once they start visiting spaces.

They spend too much time listening to their friends or they are decorating in their heads before asking basic questions. That's where the trouble starts and many people end up with a space that just doesn't work for them.

So we've answered some common questions to help you pick the perfect venue.

Q: I've just gotten engaged. I want to find the perfect place to get married. Where do I start?

A: Be smart, make a list…
• How many people will you invite? Make a list, don't guess.
• What time of year do you want to wed?
• What style of party do you want to throw? Cocktails only? Sit-down dinner? Dancing? Or perhaps a combination of all three?
• Will there be people attending that need special attention? Hotel rooms? Elevators?
• Budget? Be realistic. Nothing goes down, everything goes up.

Q: I've made my list. Now what?

A: Start to identify spaces. Use the Internet. Look at your list. Do you need hotel rooms? Then look at hotels. Make your guests' and your life easy. Once you have a list, it's time to make calls.

Q: What do I ask when I call?

A: Start by asking if they have your date available and if they can accommodate the number of guests in the style of party you envision.

And don't forget to ask these important questions...
• What is provided by the space and what do you need to provide?
• If your event is at night, is there an event during the day, and can you have the entire day for setup?
• What time can you get into the space, and is there an additional charge to get in early?
• Is there an additional charge for valet?
• Do you need to use their preferred vendors?
• What does their menu look like and what is included?
• Does their pricing include service? Taxes?
• What are their audio-visual capabilities?

And don't forget, you MUST have a food tasting!

5 tips for planning perfect private dining experience

Guests being dropped off either from elegant limousines or from an ultra-luxe helicopter. Champagne glasses clinking along with the tinkle of laughter and animated conversations. The gorgeous waterfront view serving as a beautiful backdrop as your guests mill around.

How To Host a Brunch Party

Brunch is one of the best meals to host, since there is a lot more flexibility than at a Friday or Saturday night dinner. For one, brunches can last as long or as short as you like. Most of the time, friends will have plans for the afternoon and won't stay all day, but sometimes they'll have nothing to do, and some of our best brunches have lasted almost until dinner. On the other hand, if you have plans, everyone will understand.

Beyond those perks, there is the inevitable con that brunch occurs relatively early. Set your own schedule. If you're not an early bird, don't invite anyone over before 1:00pm. No matter what time you wake up, we've figured out how to do a festive, fun brunch with no more than a hour or so of work.

Here are our general tips, as well as our quarter-life approach to all of the classic brunch items.

Cook One Item on the Stove. That's it. Dealing with sautéing hash browns, scrambling eggs, all the while entertaining the first few arrivals is just a disaster waiting to happen.

Cook. Assemble. Make Ahead. Choose one item that requires attention the day of (scrambled eggs or hash browns), one that requires assembly (salad or sandwiches), and another that can be made start to finish the night before (quick breads or coffee cake), and brunch will be a breeze.

Simple Scramble Eggs. Eggs are cheap, traditional, and tasty, and they are easy to double and triple according to your party size. Frying eggs and making omelets are stressful and should be avoided. Go for a simple scramble, or choose an egg dish that only requires baking in the oven. A frittata or a strata are great choices. In the case of the last two, they can be completely assembled the night before and baked off the morning of.

Roasted Hash Browns. Since, potatoes are probably more comforting for a hangover than either Advil or hair of the dog (booze), adding them to your brunch menu will increase you popularity. We love this recipe for Spinach Hash Browns but if you want to take a shortcut, simply roast potatoes instead. Halve baby Yukon gold or red potatoes, toss with salt and olive oil, and roast for 50 minutes at 425°F. Parmesan-Roasted Potatoes are fantastic too.

Breakfast Meats. A little sausage and bacon never disappoints. To avoid using your stovetop, bake your bacon and sausage in the oven. Drain the bacon afterwards on paper towels, as you would if you fried it in the pan.

Serve Bread. A loaf of good bread can bulk up your meal for cheap. It keeps people occupied while you finish cooking, too. If you buy your bread the day before, you'll save time, but it could potentially get a little stale by brunch time the next day, especially if you buy baguette, which always tastes best freshly baked the day of. Toast the whole loaf for ten or fifteen minutes in the oven before serving it. Rubbing a little water on the crust with your hands will help crisp it up if it has gotten rubbery and soft. Getting in the habit of making no-knead bread is a great way to ensure there's bread on the table without you having to leave the house at all.

Make Sandwiches. Egg sandwiches are a traditional brunch item BLTs or Pesto Chicken Sandwiches may be more lunch-like, but they're always winners. Letting guests make their own sandwiches, as Phoebe does on St. Patrick's Day, will make your life easier.

French Toast. This can be an incredibly easy, cheap brunch option, but frying up individual slices of French toast is a huge pain. Try baking your French toast instead. The bread can soak in the custard mixture overnight if your schedule warrants it, then you can bake off the toast just before your guests arrive.

Pancakes. Nostalgic and delicious, pancakes love variation. Just add some chocolate chips or fresh fruit and you can have pancakes two ways. Pumpkin Pancakes are wonderful in the fall. Because making pancakes can get messy, we only do it when we have four or fewer guests. If you're serving a crowd, choose quickbreads or muffins instead.

Fruit. Fruit satisfies light eaters, and it can brighten up an otherwise monochromatic brunch plate, but platters and salads can get expensive. If you're cutting costs, best to offer one kind of fruit--a melon, perhaps--or get your fruit serving via compotes.

Baked Goods. Quick breads, coffee cake, and muffins are a great addition to any brunch and are a pretty cheap, filling choice. Try Double Apple Walnut Cake, Cocoa Quickbread, and Banana Chocolate Chip Bread. Also don't miss out on scones and biscuits though Toasted Pecan-Oatmeal Scones should be made the day of, if you have space to slip them in the oven your guests will be grateful.

Caffeine. If you own a coffee maker, great. Buy an inexpensive roast and whip up a pot. Put out milk and sugar. If you happen to lack a coffee pot, don't bother with the powdered stuff. Serve tea instead, unless you want to ask a friend to pick up a jug from Dunkin Donuts.

Booze. Mimosas, Bloody Mary's, and Bellinis are what make brunch worth believing in. You knew we would say this. but: Try to get your friends to chip in by bringing a bottle you can supply orange juice to mix, or ask someone to get that too. Big Kid Hot Chocolate or Irish Hot Chocolate also happens to be a fantastic brunch beverage.

Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner Menus

The menu should include several pre-packaged meal options and à la carte selections developed by the executive chef or caterer. The approach to the different meals of the day is generally unique. Consider the following:

  • Breakfast: When it comes to breakfast, packaged menus are usually more cost-effective and easier to select, including continental options, hot buffets, and breakfast stations. If you're offering breakfast prior to the start of the official program, be sure to choose the option that best suits your event's schedule.
  • Lunch: Most caterers offer several lunch buffet options, "working lunch" choices (such as à la carte sandwiches and appropriate sides), and even boxed lunches. Again, the best choice of meal type will be entirely depending on your program's schedule so consider how much time guests will have to eat.
  • Dinner: You always have a choice of packaged dinner buffets or plated dinners, and both can offer a choice of three to five courses. This is where you will find items that reflect the executive chef's personal preferences and is also generally a time to let the food shine.

36 Party Ideas That Will Make Your Next Get-Together Instagram-Famous

Use these simple tips to take your party planning to the next level.

Use these simple tips to take your party planning to the next level.

What's more Instagrammable than turning tropical fruits into cocktail glasses? Whether it's pineapple skin or watermelon rind, no one will be able to resist snapping a few shots &mdash especially if it looks anything like this option from Ambitious Kitchen.

People love unicorns &mdash yes, even full-grown adults. The bright, happy colors are just begging to be photographed, whether you whip up some eye-catching desserts &mdash like this cotton candy unicorn party parfait &mdash or put up some magical decor.

If your guests are spending a good deal of time at the table, you better make it photo-worthy. Get some inspo from this setting captured by Megan Welker Photography, which couldn't be more perfect for the 'gram.

Anything rainbow is instantly Insta-worthy, which is exactly why you should serve these colorful champagne floats from The Bewitchin' Kitchen. Since they combine alcohol and sorbet, they're always a hit.

Mini pool float drink holders instantly become the stars of any get-together. Not only will they help your guests keep track of whose drink is whose, but they're also adorable and will get all the likes.

Who doesn't like yard games? Bust out a giant Jenga game (you can DIY it!) whenever people come over for barbecues. It keeps everyone busy while the food is cooking, and it's a lot of fun to play.

Take your cocktail game to the next level. Instead of serving the same old beer, wine, and liquor options, set up a DIY cocktail bar at your next gathering. If you're having a midday weekend soiree, try a mimosa bar or a Bloody Mary bar.

Give your guests something to remember your awesome party by &ndash like these fun and simple DIY mason jar cocktail gifts by Something Turquoise.

Throwing a party to celebrate an usual holiday is always a good time, like annual 'Pi Day' parties, complete with sweet and savory pies. It's not like a Christmas or Halloween party, because it's at a time of year when people aren't overwhelmed and inundated with dozens of party invites."

Does the app protect your child’s privacy?

Some apps may ask a child’s name or age to personalize it or ensure the user is old enough, but parents should be wary of apps asking for too much information. Apps designed for children underage 13 should be compliant with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule, known as Coppa, Ms. Elgersma said.

“If it says they’re Coppa-compliant in the app description, it means they’re paying attention and trying to fall within those guidelines,” she said. “If it says it for people over 13, it’s not Coppa-compliant and they can collect any data they want.”

But there’s a double-edged sword: In social apps, complete anonymity can open the door to bullying if kids don’t feel accountable for their words. Ms. Elgersma recommends checking to be sure kids can easily report abuse in social apps. Roblox, for example, has multiple safeguards for kids, she said.

Cheesecakes in Jars

Cheesecakes in jars are perfect for parties. They can be made ahead, and come in their own containers, so each guest can grab their own. Screw on the lids and put them in a cooler or tub of ice to keep them cool, or serve them straight from the fridge.


3 graham crackers or Digestive biscuits

1 8 oz. (250 g) pkg. cream cheese, at room temperature

2 cups chopped peaches, rhubarb, strawberries, raspberries, pitted cherries or other seasonal fruit

Bash the cookies in a ziplock bag and divide the crumbs (fine or coarse) between the bottoms of six small ring-top jars.

In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar, cream and vanilla until smooth. Divide between the jars, spooning it over the crumbs.

To make the topping, bring your fruit, sugar and water to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Cook for 10-15 minutes, until the cherries are soft, squishing some of them against the side of the pan with your spoon.

Stir the cornstarch into 1 tsp. cold water and add it to the cherries simmer for a minute or two.

Remove from the heat and set aside to cool, then refrigerate until chilled. Spoon the cherries over the cheesecakes. Screw on the lids and refrigerate until you're ready to serve them.

Things to keep in mind when choosing kitchen rugs:

  • If you just want a pop of color or a little extra cushioning in the prep or sink area, consider a 3’ x 5’ or 4’ x 6’ rug.
  • Narrow kitchens can benefit from a runner placed in the middle, which will make the room look bigger.
  • For maximum impact, choose a large rug that complements the rest of the room. Just make sure there is between 6 and 24 inches between the rug and wall or cabinets and appliances.

Get ready for Easter with this spring mantel decor featuring bunnies and spring branches. Today, I’m sharing my first ever spring mantel decor post! You can visit some pretty spring…

Meet Nina

Hi! I’m Nina.

I’m a small town New England girl and mom of three with a passion for all things home. This blog chronicles the renovation of our 1980s Colonial and everything I’ve learned along the way. The thing I love most about what I do is helping people create a meaningful space that they can enjoy with those they care about.

How to Host an Afternoon Tea Party

When thinking about tea parties, do you find yourself overwhelmed with thoughts of the British gentry, scenes from Alice in Wonderland, Victorian decor, blue-haired ladies, and pinky fingers stuck up in the air? If so, you're both right and wrong. You're right because as the tradition of "afternoon" tea has developed over time, it has become an elegant affair. You're wrong because "high" tea was often enjoyed by the British working class as their evening supper, with heartier fare than the tea sandwiches and scones that are now associated with tea parties.

As the custom has evolved, tea time is usually scheduled from mid to late afternoon. It's a between-meal snack that is a lot more elegant than a bag of chips from the vending machine. It needn't be extremely fussy, although the meal often includes savory, bite-sized sandwiches, scones or biscuits, and sweets (accompanied by a good pot of tea, of course!). Both men and women enjoy afternoon tea in England, and it's often used as a function for entertaining business clients.

An afternoon tea party is suitable for many celebrations. When you'd like to host a party that isn't as involved as a dinner party, a tea party can be the answer. It's an ideal format for a baby or bridal shower, Boxing Day gathering, a retirement party, a birthday celebration, or time to catch up with good friends. The food is prepared before your guests arrive, and is either presented buffet style or by passing plates of goodies at the table. The only thing you need to serve is the tea itself, leaving you plenty of time to relax and enjoy your guests. Your guest list can include dozens of people or only one good friend with whom you'd like to share an intimate conversation. It can be a very formal affair as you'll find at some of the more elegant hotels, or it can be as casual as a pot of tea and some cookies.

Whatever your reason for hosting your next tea party, enjoy a cup for me!

Tips for Choosing the Right Countertop

The reflective qualities of stainless steel make it a good choice for a small galley kitchen. The countertop extends up the wall and around the window.

Related To:

When choosing material for a kitchen countertop we usually think of laminate -- or stone, if the budget allows. Architects Ernesto Santalla and Andreas Charalambous of Forma Design in Washington, D.C., think a bit outside the box in their quest for countertop materials that are functional and durable but also unusual.

When selecting countertop material, the two men first look at the home's overall decorating scheme. This helps them choose a finish appropriate to the rest of the decor. Many of their clients are willing to consider less common countertop materials such as stainless steel, concrete, zinc and copper.

Concrete countertop can have variety of looks

A variety of looks can be attained with a concrete countertop, depending on the color pigment and amount of aggregate added to the mix.

Stainless steel is a hardworking surface that's as easy to maintain as it is beautiful. Its reflective qualities make it an especially good choice for a small kitchen, reflecting both natural and artificial light and making a small space feel larger. A stainless-steel surface reflects the colors of the room as well. It can also extend up the wall and act as a backsplash, and can even be used to cover an entire wall. This functional material gives a space a clean and elegant look.

Concrete is another durable material that can be a great option for a countertop. Many different looks are available, depending on the amount of aggregate and the color pigment added to the mixture. Once sealed, concrete provides a perfect work surface.

Synthetic slate creates thick countertops

Synthetic slate is smooth, unlike its natural counterpart, and its light weight makes it suitable for creating thick countertops.

Zinc, another countertop option, looks similar to stainless steel but stains and dents easily, unlike stainless steel. Zinc is favored by those who welcome the look of materials aged by everyday use.

Manmade versions of natural materials are another countertop option, and they often exhibit desirable qualities not found in the original material. Synthetic slate, for example, is perfectly smooth, unlike natural slate, which has ridges. It's also very lightweight.

A copper countertop lends a warm glow to any kitchen. A very pliable material, copper can be bent to create an interesting countertop edge -- for example, a bullnose -- that would be very expensive and time-consuming to make out of stone.

Copper makes an unusual countertop choice

Warm, glowing copper makes an unusual countertop choice. Its pliability makes it a good choice for design details that would be very expensive to create in stone.


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