Memorial Day, as the name implies, is an opportunity for families to remember lost loved ones who served and died in the United States Military. Many Americans observe the holiday by attending parades, visiting memorials, and enjoying family gatherings. Over the years, the Memorial Day weekend has become the unofficial start of summer. And after three plus long years of covid, it is joyful to share quality time with friends and family. When planning to have company, remember that less is more. Entertaining does not need to be overly complicated and stressful.
Here are a few tips to make get-togethers enjoyable for both the hosts and guests:
- Go with a theme: Whether a back yard BBQ with burgers and potato salad, a Mexican fiesta, or a Mediterranean-based meal, choosing a theme makes it easier to narrow down the menu and beverage options.
- Consider your entertainment area: If you can comfortably hold 20 people, do not invite 40 friends! Will you be setting up tables or just putting out chairs? Unfortunately, the weather may not always cooperate with your plans. Will you have a “rain date” or are you prepared to move things inside if necessary?
- Think about decorations and music: Nothing sets the vibe of a party like a little décor and ambiance. Center pieces can be both fun and reasonably priced. Between all the flowers and balloons, the floral departments at McCaffrey’s Market are a perfect resource. Consider picking up some annuals for center pieces that can be planted in the yard after the party. Don’t forget about lighting if your event will drift into the evening. As far as music goes, this is a good thing to delegate. Pick somebody you trust and discuss what kind of vibe you are seeking for your party.
- Set up a beverage bar: It is important to keep guests refreshed. By setting up a drink area, the host is freed up a bit and people can help themselves. Keep coolers, beverage dispensers and/or pitchers filled. Don’t forget about the ice bucket. Consider a theme related signature drink which is a fun way to streamline beverage choices. Be sure to clearly mark whether beverage selections are alcohol free. This fresh squeezed Pink Lemonade and or cool Mint Iced Tea are both easy and refreshing options to serve all summer long.
- Keep menu planning simple: The weather is warming up, so lighter food options are ideal. Pre-prep as much as possible. Serve cold appetizers like this popular and tasty 7 Layer Dip. Select salads that can be made in advance to avoid last minute preparations. This Kale and White Bean Salad is a great choice, rich in fiber and taste. Or, this Crunchy Asian Ramen Salad is a fun alternative to traditional coleslaw. If barbecuing, have the grill items ready to go. Try these healthy, low-calorie Burgers or these Apple Maple Turkey Burgers for something different.
- It is OK to have help: If people want to bring a dish, be specific so you have the type and variety of food you want at your table. McCaffrey’s prepared foods and catering services are always on hand to provide food for a specific course or the entire party.
- Presentation is everything: Wow your guests by taking simple foods and “zhushing things up” with serving platters, garnishes and interesting dips and condiments. This is actually much easier that it looks, and always impressive. Check out McCaffrey’s catering and recipe library for fun ideas.
There is a lot to consider when planning a party, but hopefully these tips will provide you with some ideas and spark your imagination when entertaining.