Centerpieces and Table Settings Create a Mood at Events

Plan Events around a Seasonal Theme – It Never Fails

Planning a Seasonal Event

The beauty of event planning is that every season – every month, actually – brings its own atmosphere and its own built-in theme. No longer are baby showers and bridal lunches reserved exclusively for spring, as these types of parties can be held all year long. While spring and summer allow for a blend of indoor and outdoor activity, fall and winter give off a cozy vibe that cannot be emulated at other times of the year. No matter what the season, a good event planner, working with a great caterer, should be able to plan a fresh and original seasonal menu, complete with an eye-catching, season-related table layout and décor. When the season itself becomes the theme, nature takes over and beauty abounds.

Let the Season Do the Work

While some people are comfortable planning their own events, party planners are counting on business coming from clients who either don’t have the time to organize their own party or those who admit that throwing a really fabulous event is not their thing. Thanks to all the non-creative, disorganized, and busy people in the world, party planning can be a lucrative business, especially when we’re talking about event planners who are trend-savvy. The innovative event manager should be in top form when it comes to coordinating season, décor, and menu – the trifecta of a great event.

Use Charger Plates to Enhance the Ambiance at Dinner Parties and Special Events

How to Choose and Use Charger Plates

Charger Plates: For Adding Extra Style and Class

Just when you thought you knew everything about table settings, the charger plate is taking center stage at upscale restaurants, elegant weddings, formal parties, and other noteworthy events where a refined touch makes all the difference. A charger plate is a large dish that serves as a base for the appetizer plates, dinner plates and bowls that are changed for each course. The charger plate, like a perfectly arranged bouquet of flowers, or expertly polished sterling silver cutlery, – creates a swanky ambience, just by being there.

Consider the Charger

Charger plates, also known as chop plates, service plates or under plates, are a decorative addition to the dinner table. They serve as a handsome base for dinner plates, appetizer/salad dishes, soup bowls, etc., and they remain in place while each course is being served as each course is placed on top of them. Charger plates stay on the table for the duration of the meal – until the dessert is served. They are larger than the other plates and are usually decorative in style, to enhance the atmosphere on the tabletop. Because they are used to display all the other dishes, they are sometimes referred to as service plates. Practically speaking, charger plates help protect your tabletop and tablecloth from spills, heat, and stains, while, aesthetically, they serve to complete the look and décor of any upscale, special-occasion meal.

A How To Guide: Dinner Party Cheese Platters

Cheese platters

For people hosting upscale dinner parties, it’s all about the food! Instead of the standard sliced cheeses from the ready-made section of the local grocery store deli, sophisticated foodies are opting for high-quality cheeses that are conversation pieces.

There are several questions people should consider before purchasing cheeses for a dinner party.

  • How many people will be attending?
  • Will the cheese course be an appetizer or an after-dinner treat?
  • Are there any particular must-try cheeses or ones that should be avoided?
  • What is the overall budget?

Expert Tips: Dinner Party Appetizers

Party Appetizers

With holiday dinner parties just around the corner, this article highlights helpful expert tips for choosing standout, delicious dinner party appetizers.

  • Guests – For hosts that know their guests likes and dislikes, consider serving a variety of appetizers that appeal to select tastes. However, it’s always fun to experiment and throw in a few new appetizers to help expand guests’ food repertoires.
  • Event Details – Tailor the appetizers to the event. Is the event a bunch, luncheon, afternoon tea or a more formal dinner party? The time of day will help hosts determine if they should serve family or buffet styles and cold or hot foods. For example, midday gatherings can offer quiches, tea sandwiches, vegetable spreads and petite desserts. Evening events accommodate both hot and cold appetizers, cheese courses, olives, mixed nuts and small finger foods.

Etiquette Guide: Rehearsal Dinners

Rehearsal dinner

Rehearsal dinner parties are a wedding tradition. Etiquette dictates that the groom’s parents should host this event, allowing the groom’s mother the opportunity to entertain wedding guests. However, more couples are paying for their own weddings or families are choosing to help share expenses. Generally speaking, whoever pays for the dinner should have the deciding factor in rehearsal dinner details.

The following outlines general rehearsal dinner etiquette, making it easy for families, friends, brides and grooms everywhere to know what is expected.

  • Invites – Close family, friends and people participating in the wedding should be invited to the rehearsal dinner. This may include bridesmaids, ushers, flower girls, groomsmen and ring bearers. However, in some cultures, it’s customary to invite everyone who is invited to the wedding to the rehearsal dinner.

Choose Your Own Dinner Party Adventure

Dinner Party Adventure

Dinner parties are an imaginative adventure enjoyed by hosts and guests alike. Whether it’s throwing a themed dinner party or a culinary adventure into the unknown, there are several different types of traditional dinner parties.

  • Basic – Most dinner parties are informal. These types of dinner parties are perfect for friends, family or large gatherings. Whether it’s roasting chickens, grilling steak or sharing a big batch of New Mexico-style chili, informal dinner parties are simple. These types of parties may also involve passing dishes around a family-style table or having guests casually serving themselves from a buffet. Basic dinner parties are informal and homey. Traditionally, there are no wrong meals, but dessert usually consists of home-baked cakes, cobblers or pies. Simple dinner parties are often potluck-style, with hosts supplying entrees and asking guests to bring side dishes.

Hosting a Valentine’s Day Dinner Party

Valentine's Day Party

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, nothing is more romantic than throwing a special dinner party for friends, family and loved ones. Whether it’s having a couples’ party or a mixer for singles, Valentine’s Day is a classic gift-giving holiday celebrated worldwide.

Hosting a Valentine’s Day dinner party doesn’t need to be a daunting task. By following this simple checklist, hosts will be on their ways to throwing splendid Friday night Valentine’s Day bashes.

Modern Party Etiquette

Modern Party Etiquette

Long ago, women would go to school to learn formal etiquette training. In today’s more casual society, there are still several etiquette trends that are still followed. A source of confusion for most young adults, Just Charger Plates offer a glimpse into modern party etiquette.

  • Invitations – Always extend invitations with enough time for guests to plan and respond. Today, invitations can be done over the phone, via traditional paper mailings or even using digital services such as Evite. It’s thoughtful to include a GPS-friendly invite, as this makes it easier for guests to find locations. Guests should RSVP as soon as possible and if in doubt, over communication is better than casting assumptions.
  • Early – It’s important to arrive on time to a dinner party, but avoid arriving early as this can leave hosts feeling panicked.

Table Manners for Today’s Modern-Day Guest

Table Manners

The days of formal dinnertime etiquette are gone, but there are some general tips that guests should follow when attending a dinner party. To highlight today’s modern etiquette, Just Charger Plates offers helpful tips for guests.

  • Basic Rules – There are still basic rules that guests should follow, which includes not eating until everyone is served, always asking for someone to pass food instead of impolitely reaching over guests, informing hosts in advance about food allergies, trying everything on the plate to be polite, saying “thank you” and “please” while avoiding speaking with a full mouth and waiting to depart the dinner table until everyone is finished eating. Always compliment hosts, even if the dinner party does mimic a blue soup disaster straight out of “Bridget Jones’s Diary.”

Small Space Solutions: Dining Décor

Dining decor for small spaces

As more Americans are downsizing into smaller homes, this doesn’t necessarily mean that stylish dinner parties are soon to become a long-forgotten tradition. In fact, there are several ways that smaller homes can be designed and decorated to improve small living spaces and make entertaining more efficient.

  • Bars – Instead of the traditional oversized bar that takes up an entire wall of the dining area, consider opting for a wall-mounted bar. These are sleek and pair well with under the cabinet style lighting. Consider opting for glass cabinets for a modern, contemporary look.
  • Double Duty – Sleek entertainment units are perfect for great room areas that keep kitchen, dining and living rooms open for mingled conversations. Consider selecting a television consul that doubles as a faux fireplace.