The Memorial Day Party Guide May 19, 2015 We are gearing up for Memorial Day weekend, also known as the kick off weekend to summer living! So it’s time to dust off the patio furniture, pull out the red, white and blue and pay our respects to the men and women who have fought for our country. So, as most Americans do, let’s throw a party! Here’s my quick guide to making your memorial weekend extra special, let the 3 day weekend begin. Here’s my Checklist: Party Prep Plan your guest list. Send out the Evite. Online invitations are a quick way to get the job done. I especially love how easy it is to send out last minute reminders and track RSVP’s. Check the weather forecast to plan for bad (or amazing) weather. Plan the location. Make sure there is plenty of room to house all your guests. I prefer to party outdoors for Memorial Day as it lends to outdoor BBQ’s and all American fun. Decorations Think red, white and blue! Red napkins and red Solo cups are a perfect pop of color. Use navy blue paper plates and plastic utensils tied up with a navy stripe ribbon to accent your decor. Place in a bright white bucket to keep everything together and uniquely organized. American flags, hanging lights, tiki torches, floating candles, and paper lanterns are great for setting the mood of the party. Running out of time? Get the Stars & Stripes trunk, everything you need to host an all American party. Use simple flowers like daisies, cut them short, and place them in mason jars for a little southern feel. Balloons, streamers and pinatas add decoration and double as party activities for the kids. Pillows are a great way to add texture and a pop of color to your event! Food Party rule #1: Ice, ice, and more ice Typical BBQ always does the trick (hamburgers, hotdogs) is always delicious, but you can also try ribs, pork tenderloin, chicken, and a grilled vegetable assortment. I love supplying the main dish and having my guests bring their favorite red, white and blue dish! A fun idea is skewering blueberries,strawberries and mini chocolate brownies on a shish kabob stick. Stock the cooler and beverage station with plenty to drink: ice cold water, lemonade, soda and adult beverages keep the partiers happy and refreshed! When setting the menu, plan to have food for vegetarians as well. Sides like veggies, fruits, salads, chips, dips, and desserts like cookies, brownies, and cupcakes are convenient. Be mindful of the weather – you don’t want anything sitting out in the hot sun that could spoil or melt. If possible, place food under a covering such as an umbrella or overhang. Set up food buffet-style and arrange plates and utensils at the start of the line to keep it moving quickly. Have separate seasoning and beverage stations with condiments and such to avoid delays in the buffet line. Stock plenty of napkins at the drink station, along with stirrers and straws. Festive Party Straws tie the look together! Set up Move indoor furniture outside for additional surface space and seating. Benches, chairs, stools, and side tables are versatile. Have clearly labeled trash and recycle cans. Leave sunscreen and bug spray out for guests to use. Have plenty of umbrellas or canopy tents for shade. Lay rugs or outdoor pillows on the ground for additional seating. I love having a basket of throws available in case it gets a little chilly. Be eco-friendly with reusable plates. I love Susty party, they have festive colors! Make sure to have outdoor activities for kids, Stencil Stars is one of my favorites. Now get to it! It’s time to plan a party and pay tribute to our American heroes.