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Tips & Ideas for Great Parties!
A great party is Not in the Dollars - It's in the Details! Here are our tips on how to plan and prep like the pros and the tricks and special details the professionals employ to make their table displays and decor picture perfect! Although we relate a lot of our content to baby showers, most is relevant for any party! And if you still have questions, call us and TALK TO A PARTY PLANNER ABOUT YOUR EVENT FOR FREE! 646-383-8497

BABY SHOWER TIPS

1. How do I choose a baby shower theme, and what baby shower decorations and other special touches will make my theme into a great party?
2. What are some ideas for different types of baby showers and places I can host a baby shower?
3. What are some ideas that will make my baby shower more interesting and entertaining?
4. How can I save money but still have a really beautiful party?
5. How much tableware should I buy?
6. What should I serve?
7. How do I set and organize my buffet table to look professional?
8. I am throwing a "sprinkle" instead of a baby shower for a second baby, what are some ideas to make it special but not over-the-top?


BRIDAL SHOWER TIPS

9. How do I choose a theme, and what decorations and other special touches will make my theme into a great party?
10. What are some ideas for different types of bridal showers and places I can host a baby shower?
11. What are some ideas that will make my bridal shower more interesting and entertaining?
12. How can I save money but still have a really beautiful party?
13. How much tableware should I buy?
14. What should I serve?
15. How do I set and organize my buffet table to look professional?


BRIS & BABY NAMING TIPS

16. Should I have a theme for my bris or baby naming?
17. How can I save money but still have a really beautiful party?
18. How much tableware should I buy?
19. What should I serve?
20. How do I set and organize my buffet table to look professional?










1. Choosing a baby shower theme and make it wonderful...
A theme is what turns a party into an event! Your "Theme" can be based on a decorative element like a teddy bear, duck or a train for a baby shower, or an entire concept like a spa party or a luau. Your theme can also be based on a color, combination of colors, or a pattern like a gingham or polka dots. These all work really well for baby showers since most people equate certain patterns and colors with babies, like “pink” with baby girls, “blue” with boys and neutral colors like “yellows”, “greens” and “lavenders”, when you don’t know what the sex of the baby is. When you combine colors, try to keep it to 2 colors, 2 shades of one color like light Blue and Dark Blue, or if you want to have 3 colors, use one of the 3 sparingly as an "accent color" - little bits of it here and there. Silver, Gold, White and Beige are the safest accent colors.

The most important thing to remember when decorating is that you should pick one theme and stick with it throughout your room or venue. Bears, bunnies and a carriage all together...too much. Without some sort of coordination your room will look like a hodge-podge, or even a mess, and you will often spend more money on random items than you would spend on a coordinated baby shower theme.

GETTING STARTED - Start with one element of your baby shower theme and build on it. Objects like centerpieces, decorative napkins or tableware are a great place to start your theme building. Pick one of these elements and then add in other pieces that coordinate with it. If you are using a specific theme like a bear or train, a good trick is to think about ways to combine complimentary colors with the themed items so that you are not over-using the themed decoration. Set To Celebrate often combines a pattern with solids to achieve a more elegant, "adult" look with our tableware packages and parties.

If you start with a decorative item like a centerpiece, the first add-ins should be the essentials such as tableware and tablecloths. Tablecloths not only protect your furniture, but can be used as a major splash of color for your theme – put them on coffee tables as well as dining tables and don’t be afraid to cut them to make them fit better. You can even cut a 12" to 14" strip to create a table runner.

- Make your theme recognizable. Try to spread your decorative items and color throughout your room. However, if you do not have a lot of baby shower decorations, start with a main area like a buffet table, and then focus on other areas where guests will mainly be gathering. If you have sufficient baby shower decorations, use them not only in the main areas where guests will congregate but throughout the party space and into any areas that guests might wander - like using decorative or colored guest towels in the bathrooms. Use balloon bouquets of 3 to 5 balloons to create splashes of color; on side tables, the beverage table, a fireplace mantle, the television, the gift table. Have some element of your theme outside the entrance of the main party room. Use a banner or balloons to create anticipation and promote the idea that your guests are about to enter a fun space. “Table Sprinkles” are Set To Celebrate’s custom, themed confetti – pick a design that matches your theme and spread them on the surfaces where you put tablecloths.

- Don’t over-decorate. You do not need to cover every available surface with decorations. Instead of looking fun and festive it will end up looking busy, disorganized and definitely not elegant. Look for key areas where your guests will congregate – Buffet or Guest Tables; a coffee table where games and gift opening will take place; the entrance to the party room. Choose a main element for those areas – a centerpiece; a display of napkins and tableware and use color (tablecloths are great for this) and decorative details like our "Table Sprinkles" (custom confetti) to enhance them. At Set To Celebrate you will notice that we like to combine a few key themed elements with color. Using a combination of one or two colors along with objects ensures that you maintain the festivity, but do not overwhelm you guests. Also, if you choose a large centerpiece for one area, choose smaller, complimentary centerpieces for other areas. As an example - If you order a large, "Blankie Bear Diaper Cake" for the buffet or gift table, use "Blankie Bear Diaper Cake Toppers" or "Baby Bear Balloon Holders" in other areas. Our "Photo Gallery" section has great examples of how our customers have used our different decorations and tableware to create beautiful parties.

- The best way to organize your decorations for your party is to make a list of all the items you absolutely need, and another list of decorative items you would like to consider. Think about where guests will be gathering at your party and what furniture and walls will be visible and can be utilized. Then create a sheet with boxes where you title each section with the area of the room that you want to decorate. From there, put your essentials into the section boxes - centerpiece, tableware, etc, followed by the various decorative items. This will help you determine what the best decorations are for each area without over-decorating.

- Use your food as part of the theme. Decorative desserts are the first thing we usually think of, but there are so many creative, easy recipes available today on-line. Some of our favorite recipe websites are; www.foodnetwork.com, www.epicurious.com and of course, www.marthastewert.com.

  • Choose a themed drink – something that can be served alcoholic or non-alcoholic is often appreciated. Baby blue or light pink (like a special pink lemonade or watermelon based drink) for a baby shower as an example.
  • Make themed sandwiches Cut sandwiches with cookie themed cutters
  • Choose one or two foods in your party’s colors
  • Use colored M&Ms or other candies in your party’s colors on coffee tables or guest tables
  • For dessert make themed cookies or cakes or cakes and cookies in the colors of your party.


- Don’t forget that a theme does not just begin when your guests walk in the door. Use invitations to set the tone for the event and give your guests and idea of what to expect. If you are using imprintable invitations write a cute poem to go along with the event details – a poem can even just be the first two lines. Want some ideas? Check out the “Tips & Ideas” in our Invitations and Games Section!

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2. Ideas for great venues and different types of parties...
Where you have your party and what type of party you have can be the difference between the standard that everyone expects and something fun and different.

Most baby showers are hosted at either someone's home or at a restaurant. Having the party at home can be more relaxing and inviting, but is more work for you. Restaurants can provide a seamless event and no clean-up, but you generally lose the warmth and intimacy. Here are some ideas for different ways to throw parties in the home and restaurants as well as some other venue ideas.

  • Have guests for a Dessert Party. This can be done in the late afternoon or early evening after dinner time (Probably the earliest would be 7:30 or 8pm depending on whether many of your guests have young children and eat on the earlier side and between 2pm and 5pm on a weekend day.) You can create a beautiful dessert buffet and serve different flavored coffees and teas.
  • Cocktails & Hors d'oeuvres or Wine & Cheese in the late afternoon before dinner or at 8 or 9pm (and serve a themed cocktail instead of having an open bar) - Make sure that you have ample non-alcoholic beverages, and that if you use a themed drink it can be served with or without alcohol so that the mommy-to-be can enjoy it as well!
  • Have a Continental Breakfast with muffins, croissants, wonderful breads and preserves, cheeses and coffee, tea and juice. Have one hot dish such as our blintz casserole or Challah Kugel (Like French Toast in a casserole dish) - e-mail us at party support@settocelebrate.com for the recipes!
  • Have a snack fest. Invite everyone to enjoy all the snacks and junk food from their youth – fill the table and room with Doritos, Cheetos, M&Ms, Flavored Popcorn, Cheese Wiz & Crackers, Twizzlers, etc. If you want something a little more substantial included, order some pizzas with different toppings and cut them into 2 inch, bite-sized pieces. You can also buy big boxes of the little hot dogs in pastry at the supermarket or wholesale club - these are always a HUGE hit! Play some great music and serve a great themed drink. Great for a co-ed baby shower or a baby shower for the dad!


PARTIES OUTSIDE THE HOME

1. A bar/restaurant that has a happy hour may allow you to take over a seated area and bring a cake and some desserts with the idea that either you or your guests will be purchasing the drinks. Since you will have very little expense, you may even be able to pick up the tab which you can pre-specify as soft drinks and wine and/or beer. In many places, bars and restaurants are smoke-free so there are no issues for the guest of honor and her new little one. Pick a place without a loud or very young crowd. You can probably also bring a few decorations like a banner, a centerpiece, decorative cocktail napkins, decorative plates for the cake and balloons.

2. If you live in an area with perpetually nice weather, have your shower in a local park, just make sure it is not too hot for the new mom or that she has too walk too far. Pick a picnic table or a few tables in a shaded area, bring a tablecloth, tableware and some fun picnic foods. You can even bring a centerpiece and balloons to identify to area as guests arrive. This is the type of party you can also assign menu items to different guests - salads, drinks, brownies & cookies... This is also a great idea for a baby shower for a second child that can include the whole family.

3. If it is a small party, ask the other guests if they would mind going to a restaurant. Everyone can pay for their meal and either all split the mommy's or you could pay for her as part of your responsibility as host. You can probably bring a centerpiece and balloons as well as decorative napkins. If you are against a wall they may even allow you to put a banner up! Back to Tips & Ideas List

3. Different ideas for games and entertainment at your baby shower...
- Advice for the New Mom Cards Even though from the moment a mommy's belly starts to bloom, everyone wants to impart advice, a shower is the perfect place to do it. Include a note card or piece of paper with every invitation. Each card should have a place for the name of the guest and "Advice tfor the New Mom", or "Words of Wisdom". Ask guests to write their advice for the new mom or dad and attach it to their gift. For guests that are unable to attend, ask them to mail or e-mail their advice. Suggest that the advice can be practical or funny. It makes opening gifts even more entertaining, and invites everyone to be participate in the party. If you were planning on doing a wishing well, why not have people make their wishing well gift something that corresponds with their advice card. If the advice is "don't wear any clothes that you like when burping, feeding or changing the baby" the gift could be baby laundry detergent or different types of stain removers.

- Books from our childhood are some of the fondest memories for many of us - what better than to help the new parents build a library? Instead of a wishing well, ask everyone to bring their favorite book from childhood. To ensure that there are not duplicates, you can prepare a list ahead of time to e-mail around. Ask everyone to RSVP with the book they would like to bring. To make it even more personal, they can glue a picture of themselves, maybe even with the new mom and dad, and write a message to the baby welcoming them and telling them how they know their parents or even a funny story about the parents. For another nice touch; Check out the website www.MyHomeLibrary.org - You can download fun, free bookplates for children - color, and black and white. Print them on full sheet Avery labels, cut them out, and include them with the invitation. You can read the inscriptions while opening gifts.

- Pamper the mommy and the guests - have a spa activity for your baby shower. If you can't afford to hire a massage therapist or two to give back or foot rubs, or a manicurist to do manis and pedis, there are still lots of fun things you can do. Look online for recipes for facials using products like eggs and yogurt. You can offer different options like a moisturizing facial or a tightening facial. Have them mixed up and have towels ready to put around your guests' shoulders and to pat dry. Have mirrors around the table so everyone can apply their facial. You can also do moisturizing hand therapies. Get a good moisturizer or look online for a recipe and a good cuticle moisturizer. Heat some towels in hot water and wring them out (not too hot!) and people can moisturize their hands, wrap them in the towels for 10 minutes and then use another towel to wipe off for beautiful nails and cuticles. You can buy little bottles of moisturizer, clear nail polish and files for your favors. Don't forget to have nice spa-like music playing and maybe light some lavender or other scented candles (Preferably not strong floral scents as they may not be pleasing to some people and the new mommy - "Body Shop" has some great ones.).Serve light, spa food like finger sandwiches, fresh salads, crudite & dip, fruit, etc.

- LEARN A NEW SKILL There are so many fun things associated with new babies, give your guests a chance to try their hand at something new! At superstar Jessica Simpon's shower they had a knitting instruction table. Get some wonderful yarns in the colors of the baby's room or in the colors of your shower and have a knitting or crocheting lesson. If you don't have a guest that can help out with this, call a local knitting store or a Michael's/AC Moore/Joanne Fabrics craft store and see if they have someone who can come. People can take their craft home or have your "expert" combine everyone's pieces into a blanket for the baby. Quilting is also a great activity that guests can try to create a wonderful gift for mom and a special memory.

- SET UP A SCRAP BOOK TABLE - Guests can create a page that the mom can use in a "Baby's First Year" scrapbook. Provide a list of the first year milestones that each guest can choose from: Baby's First Smile, First Solid Food, First Tooth, First Day Home From the Hospital, First Time Standing, First Time Sitting up..., and let them create-away!

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4. Creating a wonderful party on a budget...
Don’t just choose your decorations and menu based on a budget - choose the time and type of party you are having based on your budget as well. The most important thing is; Don’t call the party at a time when people expect a full meal!

  • Have guests for dessert and coffee
  • Cocktails and Hors d'oeuvres or Wine and Cheese in the late afternoon before dinner or at 8 or 9pm (and serve a themed cocktail or punch instead of having an open bar)
  • Have a continental breakfast with muffins, croissants, wonderful breads and preserves, cheeses and coffee, tea and juice. Have one hot dish such as our blintz casserole or Challah Kugel (Like French Toast in a casserole dish) - e-mail us at party support@settocelebrate.com for the recipes!
  • Have a snack fest. Invite everyone to enjoy all the snacks and junk food from their youth – fill the table and room with Doritos, Cheetos, M&Ms, Flavored Popcorn, Cheese Wiz & Crackers, Twizzlers, etc. Play some great music and serve a great themed drink. Great for a co-ed baby shower or a baby shower for the dad!
FOOD ON A BUDGET - If you are on a tight budget, use more expensive items such as meats or fish as an element in a larger dish such as a pasta salad with chicken. A grilled chicken sandwich, wrap or pita sandwich (cut pita pockets in half to get 2 sandwiches out of one bread) uses less meat than serving whole chicken breasts as an example.

Preparing sandwiches ahead of time versus having trays of meats, cheeses or fish will also cut down. You would be surprised at how much people can pile onto a sandwich. Just make sure you have a selection of both meat, and non-meat items such as tuna, egg salad, grilled vegetables, cheese, etc. and use nice condiments and breads.

There are wonderful gourmet sandwich shops all around – go on-line and search “gourmet sandwiches” to get ideas. Some of our favorites are: Turkey with Brie and Honey Mustard; Broiled Chicken with Avocado, Lettuce and Tomato & Lemon Garlic Mayonnaise; Italian Tuna salad with Provolone, Lettuce and Tomato; Mozzarella, Grilled Portabello Mushrooms and Roasted Pepper; and Mozzarella, Tomato & Basil. Mix up some mayonnaise with lemon juice or balsamic vinegar as a compliment.

- If you are having a bagel brunch on a budget, instead of ordering a fish tray, serve different cream cheese options such as lox cream cheese (you can even make it yourself by chopping up smoked salmon and mixing with plain cream cheese), chive cream cheese, vegetable cream cheese and don’t forget our lactose intolerant friends and have a little tofu cream cheese for them. Have your focal point be a beautiful vegetable tray with sliced tomato, onions, cucumber and red peppers, and serve some inexpensive salads such as egg salad & tuna salad whitefish salad.

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5. Basic guidelines for calculating the amount of tableware you need for your party...
The 2 things you need to consider when ordering are what you are serving and how many people you are having. The following covers 3 different types of parties and the estimated amounts of tableware you will need to order. We have given conservative estimates as there is nothing worse than running out of cups, napkins, forks, etc. and having to scramble to find something to fill in like paper towels or standard white paper plates, creating an eyesore when you worked so hard to create a beautiful coordinated party. We also have an easy to follow chart of this information that we will be happy to e-mail you. Send us your contact information and put “Tableware Chart” in the subject box of the e-mail to PartySupport@SetToCelebrate.com.

- Buffet Brunch, Lunch or Dinner: With a buffet, people will often take a few items and then go back to the buffet for salads or seconds and take a new plate. If you have a lot of men, you can assume that there will be more people taking seconds and a second plate than if the party is predominately women.

  • Lunch Plates For every 10 guests you need 1 Plate per person plus an additional 5 Plates
  • .
  • Dessert Plates For every 10 guests you need 1 Plate per person plus an additional 5 Plates
  • .
  • Lunch Napkins For every 10 guests you need 1 Napkin per person plus an additional 5 Napkins
  • .
  • Beverage Napkins For every 10 guests you need 1 Napkin per person plus an additional 5 Napkin
  • .
  • Hot/Cold Cups For every 10 guests you need 1 Cup per person plus an additional 5 Cups
  • . (If you are using the hot/cold cups for all your drinks, you need 2 per person)
  • Plastic Cups For every 10 guests you need 1 Cup per person plus an additional 5 Cups
  • .
  • Forks For every 10 guests you need 2 per person – 1 for the meal and 1 for dessert
  • .
  • Knives 1 per person plus 1 extra package as back up.
  • Spoons 2 per person – assuming 1 for the meal and 1 for coffee.
  • Guest Towels 1 package per 25 Guests.


- Seated Lunch or Dinner:
  • Lunch Plates For 10 to 50 guests you need 1 Plate per person plus 1 additional Package of Plates. 50 to 100 Guests, get 2 additional packages of plates if there are 8-10 in a package and 1 if there are 24 in the package
  • .
  • Dessert Plates For 10 to 50 guests you need 1 Plate per person plus 1 additional Package of Plates if there are 24 in a pack and 2 if there are 8-10. 50 to 100 Guests, get 2 additional packages of plates if there are 8-10 in a package and 1 if there are 24 in the package
  • .
  • Lunch Napkins For 10 to 50 guests you need 1 Napkin per person plus 1 additional Package of Napkins if there are 50 in a pack and 2 if there are 20. 50 to 100 Guests, get 1 per person and 2 additional packages of napkins if there are 50 in a package and 4 if there are 20 in the package
  • .
  • Beverage Napkins For 10 to 50 guests you need 1 Napkin per person plus 1 additional Package of Napkins. 50 to 100 Guests, get 2 additional packages of Napkins if there are 50 in a package and 4 if there are 20 in the package
  • .
  • Cups The safest bet is to get 2 cups per person. If you are using both Plastic Cups and Hot/Cold cups, you need 1 per person of the hot/cold cups plus an additional 24 and 1 per person of the Plastic plus an additional 24 up to 50 people. 50-100 people, get 1 cup of each kind per person plus and additional 50
  • Forks 2 per person – 1 for the Meal and 1 for Dessert plus 1 extra package of 24 for backup
  • .
  • Knives 1 per person plus 1 extra package as back up.
  • Spoons 1 per person and 1 extra package.
  • Guest Towels 1 package per 25 Guests.


- Continental Buffet Breakfast or Brunch
  • Lunch Plates For every 10 guests you need 1 Plate per person plus an additional 5 Plates
  • .
  • Dessert Plates For every 10 guests you need 1 Plate per person plus an additional 5 Plates
  • .
  • Lunch Napkins 2 per person
  • .
  • Beverage Napkins 2 per person
  • .
  • Hot/Cold Cups 2 per person. *If you are both hot/cold cups and plastic cups you can generally or an extra 5 cups of each for every 10 people
  • .
  • Plastic Cups 2 per person. *If you are both hot/cold cups and plastic cups you can generally or an extra 5 cups of each for every 10 people
  • Forks For every 10 guests you need 5 extra
  • .
  • Knives 1 per person plus 1 extra package as back up.
  • Spoons 1 per person plus 1 extra package as back up.
  • Guest Towels 1 package per 25 Guests.


6. How to create a menu for your party...
If you are not ordering or catering, serve food that is easy to prepare. It is understandable that you would want to show-off your best dishes, but try not to do that at the expense of time and sanity. Choose one favorite dish as the centerpiece of your menu and then fill in around with things that are easy to prepare or can be made a day or two ahead of time or frozen and re-heated.

Make sure that the food goes together. Yes, we know that eventually it all ends up in the same place, but make sure your dishes are complimentary. Lasagna, pasta salad and potato salad are way too many starches and carbs for one table. Choose 1 or two main courses and 2 or 3 side dishes for a buffet. You may also choose to be conscious of dietary issues that people may have – lactose issues and issues with nuts are good ones to address by making sure that not every dish or dessert has cheese or dairy in it, or nuts. When we do a brunch we always make sure to have tofu cream cheese available and soy milk for coffee.

Know your audience. Is this a pure meat and potatoes crowd or a health-conscious crowd? Do you need to do a green salad? Can you do unusual, spicy or ethnic dishes or will you scare people who can’t identify them at first glance?

Make sure you prepare enough. Try not to skimp and don’t assume that everyone will have an average of ½ or 1 serving of something unless you are offering a lot of options. Besides, after all the energy you are going to expend, won’t it be nice that there are leftovers in the fridge the next day? Also remember that men at a party will tend to consume more than women.

If you are on a tight budget, use more expensive items such as meats or fish as an element in a larger dish such as a pasta salad with chicken. Sandwiches and wraps also use less meat than serving whole chicken breasts as an example. Preparing sandwiches ahead of time versus having trays of meats, cheeses or fish will also cut down. You would be surprised at how much people can pile onto a sandwich.

Just make sure you have a selection of both meat and non-meat options. Tuna fish, egg salad, cheese dishes or trays, etc. and use nice condiments and breads. There are wonderful gourmet sandwich shops all around – go on-line and search “gourmet sandwiches” to get ideas. Some of our favorite sandwich ideas are: Turkey with brie and honey mustard; grilled chicken with avocado, spinach & lemon garlic mayonnaise; Tuna salad with provolone, lettuce and tomato; Mozzarella, Grilled Portabella Mushrooms and Roasted Pepper or Mozzarella, Tomato & Basil. Mixing up some mayonnaise with lemon juice or balsamic vinegar as a compliment is an easy way to add a gourmet touch!

Don’t be afraid to order some things in – a fruit or cheese tray, sandwiches, a side dish or some desserts. Just make sure that you have tasted and/or seen the food from the place you are purchasing prior to ordering. There is nothing worse than preparing beautiful dishes only to have something sloppily prepared or unappetizing added to your table.

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7. Setting a functional and beautiful buffet table...


The first and most important thing is to determine the flow - how people will move down or around your table. The easiest way to do this is to mentally create “stations.” People should pick up their plates and utensils, move to the main course station, then to salads and side dishes. If you are serving breads, rolls or bagels & muffins, you generally put them at the beginning of the table if they are essential to the main course like a Bagel Brunch, Continental Breakfast or you are having trays of meats and cheeses for sandwiches. Otherwise, they can go at the end of the table.

If desserts are going out on the main buffet, they should be last. Otherwise, desserts can be put out after the main buffet is cleared. This also allows you to break up the party, making dessert an activity that can happen after games or opening presents. It is also a nice way to wind down the party, allowing people to relax and chat before they leave.

For events over 50 people, you may want to have plates & utensils set up at either end of the table with the same foods on both sides, or two separate tables with a round or square table in the center for the plates and utensils. This way guests are not relegated to standing in a long line and can enter the buffet from both ends. Visit our "Photo Gallery" to see how our customers have set up their buffets.

- A pre-organized table is particularly important if you have other people contributing to the menu. Always know exactly what people are bringing and what they are bringing it in, and have extra bowls and serving trays available if someone for instance, brings their salad or dessert in Tupperware and you do not want to put that on your table.

- Don't just drop things randomly on the table. When you place your square, rectangular and oval dishes, have them placed at the same angle to each other all the way down or around the table. You will be surprised how much more professional and appetizing it looks. Space your trays and bowls evenly from each other. It is always the details that take a party to the next level. People will not necessarily know why the party looks great, but they will know when it looks average.

- Drinks can be in a separate area, particularly if you have hot coffee and water that needs an outlet, but should also be organized nicely with ice near your cold drinks and cream & sugar near your coffee and tea. Use a tablecloth that matches the main buffet, and if you need to put spoons or stirrers out, place them in one of your themed or colored cups with a decorative napkin from your buffet inside.

An easy coffee solution is to order Dunkin' Donuts or Starbucks coffee-in-a-box – quick, disposable and always good! Make sure you have decaf available as well as caffeinated. Set To Celebrates "Buffet Cards" are great for identifying the items on a beverage table. They can be hand-written or printed from the computer: "Coffee", "Hot Water", "Decaf", "Half & Half", "Skim Milk", etc. They match our "Table Sprinkles" and are a perfect little detail that incorporates your party theme in an unexpected place.

- Using risers to elevate different dishes or your centerpiece is a great way to create dimension on your table

  • How to make a riser You can use books (make sure you cover them with plastic so that if anything spills they don't get ruined), a pot turned upside-down, or a small, sturdy box. Square or round risers look the best, and a minimum of 3 inches off the table and up to 18 inches will give you good height. Your riser should be at least the size of the base of the item you are placing on it for stability – Larger is fine and can look nice, particularly on lower risers.
  • Making your riser decorativeCover your riser with fabric the same or close to the color of your tablecloth. It is easiest to work with a piece of fabric that is square or round, and the fabric should fall 10 or more inches beyond the base edges of the riser (excess-see below) when it is placed over. (If you are buying fabric, the formula is (the width of your riser) + (the height of your riser x 2)+ (the desired excess x 2).
  • Setting up your risersWhen setting up your risers, you can use 2 or 3 together at different heights for a nice effect. Don’t put risers randomly around your table. Risers should not block access to other food that is sitting on the table.


- Make sure you have a place for guests to dispose of their tableware when they are finished. If you are using paper tableware that guests need to dispose of when they are done eating and drinking, make sure that there is a trash can available. However, try to put it somewhere a little discreet, like a corner of the room, and make sure it is clean with a fresh bag inside. Nothing is more unappetizing and unattractive than a dirty trash can, and it will definitely detract from your party.

If you are using tableware that is not going to be disposed of, place a tray on a small table in the corner of the room near the buffet or drinks table that guests can place their used items on. You will need to delegate the job of clearing the tray regularly to someone. If it is an option, hiring a helper for the party is a great plan. They can be responsible for clearing used plates & cups, replenishing food on the buffet, making sure that the ice bucket or creamer is full, and generally being available to allow you to enjoy the party. When you hire someone, make sure that you tell them specifically what you expect of them and where things are located in the kitchen. This way you do not need to constantly go to them to tell them what they should be doing and they do not need to bother you. Also, make sure you tell them what to wear. You wouldn't want to have someone in jeans and a t-shirt running around in the middle of your nice luncheon or cocktail party. If you are unsure, a white blouse or button down shirt and black pants or skirt are always a safe bet.

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8. A sprinkle versus a baby shower...what to do.
THIS TIP COMING SOON The idea of a sprinkle is to celebrate a new baby, generally a 2nd child, (and of course, the mommy) in a slightly more understated way than a full-blown baby shower. There are so many wonderful ways to do this. Back to Tips & Ideas List

1. Choosing a baby shower theme and make it wonderful...
A theme is what turns a party into an event! Your "Theme" can be based on a decorative element like a teddy bear, duck or a train for a baby shower, or an entire concept like a spa party or a luau. Your theme can also be based on a color, combination of colors, or a pattern like a gingham or polka dots. These all work really well for baby showers since most people equate certain patterns and colors with babies, like “pink” with baby girls, “blue” with boys and neutral colors like “yellows”, “greens” and “lavenders”, when you don’t know what the sex of the baby is. When you combine colors, try to keep it to 2 colors, 2 shades of one color like light Blue and Dark Blue, or if you want to have 3 colors, use one of the 3 sparingly as an "accent color" - little bits of it here and there. Silver, Gold, White and Beige are the safest accent colors.

The most important thing to remember when decorating is that you should pick one theme and stick with it throughout your room or venue. Bears, bunnies and a carriage all together...too much. Without some sort of coordination your room will look like a hodge-podge, or even a mess, and you will often spend more money on random items than you would spend on a coordinated baby shower theme.

GETTING STARTED - Start with one element of your baby shower theme and build on it. Objects like centerpieces, decorative napkins or tableware are a great place to start your theme building. Pick one of these elements and then add in other pieces that coordinate with it. If you are using a specific theme like a bear or train, a good trick is to think about ways to combine complimentary colors with the themed items so that you are not over-using the themed decoration. Set To Celebrate often combines a pattern with solids to achieve a more elegant, "adult" look with our tableware packages and parties.

If you start with a decorative item like a centerpiece, the first add-ins should be the essentials such as tableware and tablecloths. Tablecloths not only protect your furniture, but can be used as a major splash of color for your theme – put them on coffee tables as well as dining tables and don’t be afraid to cut them to make them fit better. You can even cut a 12" to 14" strip to create a table runner.

- Make your theme recognizable. Try to spread your decorative items and color throughout your room. However, if you do not have a lot of baby shower decorations, start with a main area like a buffet table, and then focus on other areas where guests will mainly be gathering. If you have sufficient baby shower decorations, use them not only in the main areas where guests will congregate but throughout the party space and into any areas that guests might wander - like using decorative or colored guest towels in the bathrooms. Use balloon bouquets of 3 to 5 balloons to create splashes of color; on side tables, the beverage table, a fireplace mantle, the television, the gift table. Have some element of your theme outside the entrance of the main party room. Use a banner or balloons to create anticipation and promote the idea that your guests are about to enter a fun space. “Table Sprinkles” are Set To Celebrate’s custom, themed confetti – pick a design that matches your theme and spread them on the surfaces where you put tablecloths.

- Don’t over-decorate. You do not need to cover every available surface with decorations. Instead of looking fun and festive it will end up looking busy, disorganized and definitely not elegant. Look for key areas where your guests will congregate – Buffet or Guest Tables; a coffee table where games and gift opening will take place; the entrance to the party room. Choose a main element for those areas – a centerpiece; a display of napkins and tableware and use color (tablecloths are great for this) and decorative details like our "Table Sprinkles" (custom confetti) to enhance them. At Set To Celebrate you will notice that we like to combine a few key themed elements with color. Using a combination of one or two colors along with objects ensures that you maintain the festivity, but do not overwhelm you guests. Also, if you choose a large centerpiece for one area, choose smaller, complimentary centerpieces for other areas. As an example - If you order a large, "Blankie Bear Diaper Cake" for the buffet or gift table, use "Blankie Bear Diaper Cake Toppers" or "Baby Bear Balloon Holders" in other areas. Our "Photo Gallery" section has great examples of how our customers have used our different decorations and tableware to create beautiful parties.

- The best way to organize your decorations for your party is to make a list of all the items you absolutely need, and another list of decorative items you would like to consider. Think about where guests will be gathering at your party and what furniture and walls will be visible and can be utilized. Then create a sheet with boxes where you title each section with the area of the room that you want to decorate. From there, put your essentials into the section boxes - centerpiece, tableware, etc, followed by the various decorative items. This will help you determine what the best decorations are for each area without over-decorating.

- Use your food as part of the theme. Decorative desserts are the first thing we usually think of, but there are so many creative, easy recipes available today on-line. Some of our favorite recipe websites are; www.foodnetwork.com, www.epicurious.com and of course, www.marthastewert.com.

  • Choose a themed drink – something that can be served alcoholic or non-alcoholic is often appreciated. Baby blue or light pink (like a special pink lemonade or watermelon based drink) for a baby shower as an example.
  • Make themed sandwiches Cut sandwiches with cookie themed cutters
  • Choose one or two foods in your party’s colors
  • Use colored M&Ms or other candies in your party’s colors on coffee tables or guest tables
  • For dessert make themed cookies or cakes or cakes and cookies in the colors of your party.


- Don’t forget that a theme does not just begin when your guests walk in the door. Use invitations to set the tone for the event and give your guests and idea of what to expect. If you are using imprintable invitations write a cute poem to go along with the event details – a poem can even just be the first two lines. Want some ideas? Check out the “Tips & Ideas” in our Invitations and Games Section!

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2. Ideas for great venues and different types of parties...
Where you have your party and what type of party you have can be the difference between the standard that everyone expects and something fun and different.

Most baby showers are hosted at either someone's home or at a restaurant. Having the party at home can be more relaxing and inviting, but is more work for you. Restaurants can provide a seamless event and no clean-up, but you generally lose the warmth and intimacy. Here are some ideas for different ways to throw parties in the home and restaurants as well as some other venue ideas.

  • Have guests for a Dessert Party. This can be done in the late afternoon or early evening after dinner time (Probably the earliest would be 7:30 or 8pm depending on whether many of your guests have young children and eat on the earlier side and between 2pm and 5pm on a weekend day.) You can create a beautiful dessert buffet and serve different flavored coffees and teas.
  • Cocktails & Hors d'oeuvres or Wine & Cheese in the late afternoon before dinner or at 8 or 9pm (and serve a themed cocktail instead of having an open bar) - Make sure that you have ample non-alcoholic beverages, and that if you use a themed drink it can be served with or without alcohol so that the mommy-to-be can enjoy it as well!
  • Have a Continental Breakfast with muffins, croissants, wonderful breads and preserves, cheeses and coffee, tea and juice. Have one hot dish such as our blintz casserole or Challah Kugel (Like French Toast in a casserole dish) - e-mail us at party support@settocelebrate.com for the recipes!
  • Have a snack fest. Invite everyone to enjoy all the snacks and junk food from their youth – fill the table and room with Doritos, Cheetos, M&Ms, Flavored Popcorn, Cheese Wiz & Crackers, Twizzlers, etc. If you want something a little more substantial included, order some pizzas with different toppings and cut them into 2 inch, bite-sized pieces. You can also buy big boxes of the little hot dogs in pastry at the supermarket or wholesale club - these are always a HUGE hit! Play some great music and serve a great themed drink. Great for a co-ed baby shower or a baby shower for the dad!


PARTIES OUTSIDE THE HOME

1. A bar/restaurant that has a happy hour may allow you to take over a seated area and bring a cake and some desserts with the idea that either you or your guests will be purchasing the drinks. Since you will have very little expense, you may even be able to pick up the tab which you can pre-specify as soft drinks and wine and/or beer. In many places, bars and restaurants are smoke-free so there are no issues for the guest of honor and her new little one. Pick a place without a loud or very young crowd. You can probably also bring a few decorations like a banner, a centerpiece, decorative cocktail napkins, decorative plates for the cake and balloons.

2. If you live in an area with perpetually nice weather, have your shower in a local park, just make sure it is not too hot for the new mom or that she has too walk too far. Pick a picnic table or a few tables in a shaded area, bring a tablecloth, tableware and some fun picnic foods. You can even bring a centerpiece and balloons to identify to area as guests arrive. This is the type of party you can also assign menu items to different guests - salads, drinks, brownies & cookies... This is also a great idea for a baby shower for a second child that can include the whole family.

3. If it is a small party, ask the other guests if they would mind going to a restaurant. Everyone can pay for their meal and either all split the mommy's or you could pay for her as part of your responsibility as host. You can probably bring a centerpiece and balloons as well as decorative napkins. If you are against a wall they may even allow you to put a banner up! Back to Tips & Ideas List

3. Different ideas for games and entertainment at your baby shower...
- Advice for the New Mom Cards Even though from the moment a mommy's belly starts to bloom, everyone wants to impart advice, a shower is the perfect place to do it. Include a note card or piece of paper with every invitation. Each card should have a place for the name of the guest and "Advice tfor the New Mom", or "Words of Wisdom". Ask guests to write their advice for the new mom or dad and attach it to their gift. For guests that are unable to attend, ask them to mail or e-mail their advice. Suggest that the advice can be practical or funny. It makes opening gifts even more entertaining, and invites everyone to be participate in the party. If you were planning on doing a wishing well, why not have people make their wishing well gift something that corresponds with their advice card. If the advice is "don't wear any clothes that you like when burping, feeding or changing the baby" the gift could be baby laundry detergent or different types of stain removers.

- Books from our childhood are some of the fondest memories for many of us - what better than to help the new parents build a library? Instead of a wishing well, ask everyone to bring their favorite book from childhood. To ensure that there are not duplicates, you can prepare a list ahead of time to e-mail around. Ask everyone to RSVP with the book they would like to bring. To make it even more personal, they can glue a picture of themselves, maybe even with the new mom and dad, and write a message to the baby welcoming them and telling them how they know their parents or even a funny story about the parents. For another nice touch; Check out the website www.MyHomeLibrary.org - You can download fun, free bookplates for children - color, and black and white. Print them on full sheet Avery labels, cut them out, and include them with the invitation. You can read the inscriptions while opening gifts.

- Pamper the mommy and the guests - have a spa activity for your baby shower. If you can't afford to hire a massage therapist or two to give back or foot rubs, or a manicurist to do manis and pedis, there are still lots of fun things you can do. Look online for recipes for facials using products like eggs and yogurt. You can offer different options like a moisturizing facial or a tightening facial. Have them mixed up and have towels ready to put around your guests' shoulders and to pat dry. Have mirrors around the table so everyone can apply their facial. You can also do moisturizing hand therapies. Get a good moisturizer or look online for a recipe and a good cuticle moisturizer. Heat some towels in hot water and wring them out (not too hot!) and people can moisturize their hands, wrap them in the towels for 10 minutes and then use another towel to wipe off for beautiful nails and cuticles. You can buy little bottles of moisturizer, clear nail polish and files for your favors. Don't forget to have nice spa-like music playing and maybe light some lavender or other scented candles (Preferably not strong floral scents as they may not be pleasing to some people and the new mommy - "Body Shop" has some great ones.).Serve light, spa food like finger sandwiches, fresh salads, crudite & dip, fruit, etc.

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4. Creating a wonderful party on a budget...
Don’t just choose your decorations and menu based on a budget - choose the time and type of party you are having based on your budget as well. The most important thing is; Don’t call the party at a time when people expect a full meal!

  • Have guests for dessert and coffee
  • Cocktails and Hors d'oeuvres or Wine and Cheese in the late afternoon before dinner or at 8 or 9pm (and serve a themed cocktail or punch instead of having an open bar)
  • Have a continental breakfast with muffins, croissants, wonderful breads and preserves, cheeses and coffee, tea and juice. Have one hot dish such as our blintz casserole or Challah Kugel (Like French Toast in a casserole dish) - e-mail us at party support@settocelebrate.com for the recipes!
  • Have a snack fest. Invite everyone to enjoy all the snacks and junk food from their youth – fill the table and room with Doritos, Cheetos, M&Ms, Flavored Popcorn, Cheese Wiz & Crackers, Twizzlers, etc. Play some great music and serve a great themed drink. Great for a co-ed baby shower or a baby shower for the dad!
FOOD ON A BUDGET - If you are on a tight budget, use more expensive items such as meats or fish as an element in a larger dish such as a pasta salad with chicken. A grilled chicken sandwich, wrap or pita sandwich (cut pita pockets in half to get 2 sandwiches out of one bread) uses less meat than serving whole chicken breasts as an example.

Preparing sandwiches ahead of time versus having trays of meats, cheeses or fish will also cut down. You would be surprised at how much people can pile onto a sandwich. Just make sure you have a selection of both meat, and non-meat items such as tuna, egg salad, grilled vegetables, cheese, etc. and use nice condiments and breads.

There are wonderful gourmet sandwich shops all around – go on-line and search “gourmet sandwiches” to get ideas. Some of our favorites are: Turkey with Brie and Honey Mustard; Broiled Chicken with Avocado, Lettuce and Tomato & Lemon Garlic Mayonnaise; Italian Tuna salad with Provolone, Lettuce and Tomato; Mozzarella, Grilled Portabello Mushrooms and Roasted Pepper; and Mozzarella, Tomato & Basil. Mix up some mayonnaise with lemon juice or balsamic vinegar as a compliment.

- If you are having a bagel brunch on a budget, instead of ordering a fish tray, serve different cream cheese options such as lox cream cheese (you can even make it yourself by chopping up smoked salmon and mixing with plain cream cheese), chive cream cheese, vegetable cream cheese and don’t forget our lactose intolerant friends and have a little tofu cream cheese for them. Have your focal point be a beautiful vegetable tray with sliced tomato, onions, cucumber and red peppers, and serve some inexpensive salads such as egg salad & tuna salad whitefish salad.

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5. Basic guidelines for calculating the amount of tableware you need for your party...
The 2 things you need to consider when ordering are what you are serving and how many people you are having. The following covers 3 different types of parties and the estimated amounts of tableware you will need to order. We have given conservative estimates as there is nothing worse than running out of cups, napkins, forks, etc. and having to scramble to find something to fill in like paper towels or standard white paper plates, creating an eyesore when you worked so hard to create a beautiful coordinated party. We also have an easy to follow chart of this information that we will be happy to e-mail you. Send us your contact information and put “Tableware Chart” in the subject box of the e-mail to PartySupport@SetToCelebrate.com.

- Buffet Brunch, Lunch or Dinner: With a buffet, people will often take a few items and then go back to the buffet for salads or seconds and take a new plate. If you have a lot of men, you can assume that there will be more people taking seconds and a second plate than if the party is predominately women.

  • Lunch Plates For every 10 guests you need 1 Plate per person plus an additional 5 Plates
  • .
  • Dessert Plates For every 10 guests you need 1 Plate per person plus an additional 5 Plates
  • .
  • Lunch Napkins For every 10 guests you need 1 Napkin per person plus an additional 5 Napkins
  • .
  • Beverage Napkins For every 10 guests you need 1 Napkin per person plus an additional 5 Napkin
  • .
  • Hot/Cold Cups For every 10 guests you need 1 Cup per person plus an additional 5 Cups
  • . (If you are using the hot/cold cups for all your drinks, you need 2 per person)
  • Plastic Cups For every 10 guests you need 1 Cup per person plus an additional 5 Cups
  • .
  • Forks For every 10 guests you need 2 per person – 1 for the meal and 1 for dessert
  • .
  • Knives 1 per person plus 1 extra package as back up.
  • Spoons 2 per person – assuming 1 for the meal and 1 for coffee.
  • Guest Towels 1 package per 25 Guests.


- Seated Lunch or Dinner:
  • Lunch Plates For 10 to 50 guests you need 1 Plate per person plus 1 additional Package of Plates. 50 to 100 Guests, get 2 additional packages of plates if there are 8-10 in a package and 1 if there are 24 in the package
  • .
  • Dessert Plates For 10 to 50 guests you need 1 Plate per person plus 1 additional Package of Plates if there are 24 in a pack and 2 if there are 8-10. 50 to 100 Guests, get 2 additional packages of plates if there are 8-10 in a package and 1 if there are 24 in the package
  • .
  • Lunch Napkins For 10 to 50 guests you need 1 Napkin per person plus 1 additional Package of Napkins if there are 50 in a pack and 2 if there are 20. 50 to 100 Guests, get 1 per person and 2 additional packages of napkins if there are 50 in a package and 4 if there are 20 in the package
  • .
  • Beverage Napkins For 10 to 50 guests you need 1 Napkin per person plus 1 additional Package of Napkins. 50 to 100 Guests, get 2 additional packages of Napkins if there are 50 in a package and 4 if there are 20 in the package
  • .
  • Cups The safest bet is to get 2 cups per person. If you are using both Plastic Cups and Hot/Cold cups, you need 1 per person of the hot/cold cups plus an additional 24 and 1 per person of the Plastic plus an additional 24 up to 50 people. 50-100 people, get 1 cup of each kind per person plus and additional 50
  • Forks 2 per person – 1 for the Meal and 1 for Dessert plus 1 extra package of 24 for backup
  • .
  • Knives 1 per person plus 1 extra package as back up.
  • Spoons 1 per person and 1 extra package.
  • Guest Towels 1 package per 25 Guests.


- Continental Buffet Breakfast or Brunch
  • Lunch Plates For every 10 guests you need 1 Plate per person plus an additional 5 Plates
  • .
  • Dessert Plates For every 10 guests you need 1 Plate per person plus an additional 5 Plates
  • .
  • Lunch Napkins 2 per person
  • .
  • Beverage Napkins 2 per person
  • .
  • Hot/Cold Cups 2 per person. *If you are both hot/cold cups and plastic cups you can generally or an extra 5 cups of each for every 10 people
  • .
  • Plastic Cups 2 per person. *If you are both hot/cold cups and plastic cups you can generally or an extra 5 cups of each for every 10 people
  • Forks For every 10 guests you need 5 extra
  • .
  • Knives 1 per person plus 1 extra package as back up.
  • Spoons 1 per person plus 1 extra package as back up.
  • Guest Towels 1 package per 25 Guests.


6. How to create a menu for your party...
If you are not ordering or catering, serve food that is easy to prepare. It is understandable that you would want to show-off your best dishes, but try not to do that at the expense of time and sanity. Choose one favorite dish as the centerpiece of your menu and then fill in around with things that are easy to prepare or can be made a day or two ahead of time or frozen and re-heated.

Make sure that the food goes together. Yes, we know that eventually it all ends up in the same place, but make sure your dishes are complimentary. Lasagna, pasta salad and potato salad are way too many starches and carbs for one table. Choose 1 or two main courses and 2 or 3 side dishes for a buffet. You may also choose to be conscious of dietary issues that people may have – lactose issues and issues with nuts are good ones to address by making sure that not every dish or dessert has cheese or dairy in it, or nuts. When we do a brunch we always make sure to have tofu cream cheese available and soy milk for coffee.

Know your audience. Is this a pure meat and potatoes crowd or a health-conscious crowd? Do you need to do a green salad? Can you do unusual, spicy or ethnic dishes or will you scare people who can’t identify them at first glance?

Make sure you prepare enough. Try not to skimp and don’t assume that everyone will have an average of ½ or 1 serving of something unless you are offering a lot of options. Besides, after all the energy you are going to expend, won’t it be nice that there are leftovers in the fridge the next day? Also remember that men at a party will tend to consume more than women.

If you are on a tight budget, use more expensive items such as meats or fish as an element in a larger dish such as a pasta salad with chicken. Sandwiches and wraps also use less meat than serving whole chicken breasts as an example. Preparing sandwiches ahead of time versus having trays of meats, cheeses or fish will also cut down. You would be surprised at how much people can pile onto a sandwich.

Just make sure you have a selection of both meat and non-meat options. Tuna fish, egg salad, cheese dishes or trays, etc. and use nice condiments and breads. There are wonderful gourmet sandwich shops all around – go on-line and search “gourmet sandwiches” to get ideas. Some of our favorite sandwich ideas are: Turkey with brie and honey mustard; grilled chicken with avocado, spinach & lemon garlic mayonnaise; Tuna salad with provolone, lettuce and tomato; Mozzarella, Grilled Portabella Mushrooms and Roasted Pepper or Mozzarella, Tomato & Basil. Mixing up some mayonnaise with lemon juice or balsamic vinegar as a compliment is an easy way to add a gourmet touch!

Don’t be afraid to order some things in – a fruit or cheese tray, sandwiches, a side dish or some desserts. Just make sure that you have tasted and/or seen the food from the place you are purchasing prior to ordering. There is nothing worse than preparing beautiful dishes only to have something sloppily prepared or unappetizing added to your table.

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7. Setting a functional and beautiful buffet table...


The first and most important thing is to determine the flow - how people will move down or around your table. The easiest way to do this is to mentally create “stations.” People should pick up their plates and utensils, move to the main course station, then to salads and side dishes. If you are serving breads, rolls or bagels & muffins, you generally put them at the beginning of the table if they are essential to the main course like a Bagel Brunch, Continental Breakfast or you are having trays of meats and cheeses for sandwiches. Otherwise, they can go at the end of the table.

If desserts are going out on the main buffet, they should be last. Otherwise, desserts can be put out after the main buffet is cleared. This also allows you to break up the party, making dessert an activity that can happen after games or opening presents. It is also a nice way to wind down the party, allowing people to relax and chat before they leave.

For events over 50 people, you may want to have plates & utensils set up at either end of the table with the same foods on both sides, or two separate tables with a round or square table in the center for the plates and utensils. This way guests are not relegated to standing in a long line and can enter the buffet from both ends. Visit our "Photo Gallery" to see how our customers have set up their buffets.

- A pre-organized table is particularly important if you have other people contributing to the menu. Always know exactly what people are bringing and what they are bringing it in, and have extra bowls and serving trays available if someone for instance, brings their salad or dessert in Tupperware and you do not want to put that on your table.

- Don't just drop things randomly on the table. When you place your square, rectangular and oval dishes, have them placed at the same angle to each other all the way down or around the table. You will be surprised how much more professional and appetizing it looks. Space your trays and bowls evenly from each other. It is always the details that take a party to the next level. People will not necessarily know why the party looks great, but they will know when it looks average.

- Drinks can be in a separate area, particularly if you have hot coffee and water that needs an outlet, but should also be organized nicely with ice near your cold drinks and cream & sugar near your coffee and tea. Use a tablecloth that matches the main buffet, and if you need to put spoons or stirrers out, place them in one of your themed or colored cups with a decorative napkin from your buffet inside.

An easy coffee solution is to order Dunkin' Donuts or Starbucks coffee-in-a-box – quick, disposable and always good! Make sure you have decaf available as well as caffeinated. Set To Celebrates "Buffet Cards" are great for identifying the items on a beverage table. They can be hand-written or printed from the computer: "Coffee", "Hot Water", "Decaf", "Half & Half", "Skim Milk", etc. They match our "Table Sprinkles" and are a perfect little detail that incorporates your party theme in an unexpected place.

- Using risers to elevate different dishes or your centerpiece is a great way to create dimension on your table

  • How to make a riser You can use books (make sure you cover them with plastic so that if anything spills they don't get ruined), a pot turned upside-down, or a small, sturdy box. Square or round risers look the best, and a minimum of 3 inches off the table and up to 18 inches will give you good height. Your riser should be at least the size of the base of the item you are placing on it for stability – Larger is fine and can look nice, particularly on lower risers.
  • Making your riser decorativeCover your riser with fabric the same or close to the color of your tablecloth. It is easiest to work with a piece of fabric that is square or round, and the fabric should fall 10 or more inches beyond the base edges of the riser (excess-see below) when it is placed over. (If you are buying fabric, the formula is (the width of your riser) + (the height of your riser x 2)+ (the desired excess x 2).
  • Setting up your risersWhen setting up your risers, you can use 2 or 3 together at different heights for a nice effect. Don’t put risers randomly around your table. Risers should not block access to other food that is sitting on the table.


- Make sure you have a place for guests to dispose of their tableware when they are finished. If you are using paper tableware that guests need to dispose of when they are done eating and drinking, make sure that there is a trash can available. However, try to put it somewhere a little discreet, like a corner of the room, and make sure it is clean with a fresh bag inside. Nothing is more unappetizing and unattractive than a dirty trash can, and it will definitely detract from your party.

If you are using tableware that is not going to be disposed of, place a tray on a small table in the corner of the room near the buffet or drinks table that guests can place their used items on. You will need to delegate the job of clearing the tray regularly to someone. If it is an option, hiring a helper for the party is a great plan. They can be responsible for clearing used plates & cups, replenishing food on the buffet, making sure that the ice bucket or creamer is full, and generally being available to allow you to enjoy the party. When you hire someone, make sure that you tell them specifically what you expect of them and where things are located in the kitchen. This way you do not need to constantly go to them to tell them what they should be doing and they do not need to bother you. Also, make sure you tell them what to wear. You wouldn't want to have someone in jeans and a t-shirt running around in the middle of your nice luncheon or cocktail party. If you are unsure, a white blouse or button down shirt and black pants or skirt are always a safe bet.

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8. A sprinkle versus a baby shower...what to do.
THIS TIP COMING SOON The idea of a sprinkle is to celebrate a new baby, generally a 2nd child, (and of course, the mommy) in a slightly more understated way than a full-blown baby shower. There are so many wonderful ways to do this. Back to Tips & Ideas List

1. Choosing a theme and making it wonderful...
A theme is what turns a party into an event! Your "Theme" can be based on a decorative element like a floral like a Gerbera Daisy Bridal Shower or Rose Bridal Shower. Butterflies, Love Birds and even Fruit! One of our favorites is the "Perfect Pair/Perfect Pear" Theme, or an entire concept like a spa party or a luau. Your theme can also be based on a color, combination of colors, or a pattern like a gingham or polka dots. These all work really well for baby showers since most people equate certain patterns and colors with babies, like “pink” with baby girls, “blue” with boys and neutral colors like “yellows”, “greens” and “lavenders”, when you don’t know what the sex of the baby is. When you combine colors, try to keep it to 2 colors, 2 shades of one color like light Blue and Dark Blue, or if you want to have 3 colors, use one of the 3 sparingly as an "accent color" - little bits of it here and there. Silver, Gold, White and Beige are the safest accent colors.

The most important thing to remember when decorating is that you should pick one theme and stick with it throughout your room or venue. Bears, bunnies and a carriage all together...too much. Without some sort of coordination your room will look like a hodge-podge, or even a mess, and you will often spend more money on random items than you would spend on a coordinated baby shower theme.

GETTING STARTED - Start with one element of your baby shower theme and build on it. Objects like centerpieces, decorative napkins or tableware are a great place to start your theme building. Pick one of these elements and then add in other pieces that coordinate with it. If you are using a specific theme like a bear or train, a good trick is to think about ways to combine complimentary colors with the themed items so that you are not over-using the themed decoration. Set To Celebrate often combines a pattern with solids to achieve a more elegant, "adult" look with our tableware packages and parties.

If you start with a decorative item like a centerpiece, the first add-ins should be the essentials such as tableware and tablecloths. Tablecloths not only protect your furniture, but can be used as a major splash of color for your theme – put them on coffee tables as well as dining tables and don’t be afraid to cut them to make them fit better. You can even cut a 12" to 14" strip to create a table runner.

- Make your theme recognizable. Try to spread your decorative items and color throughout your room. However, if you do not have a lot of baby shower decorations, start with a main area like a buffet table, and then focus on other areas where guests will mainly be gathering. If you have sufficient baby shower decorations, use them not only in the main areas where guests will congregate but throughout the party space and into any areas that guests might wander - like using decorative or colored guest towels in the bathrooms. Use balloon bouquets of 3 to 5 balloons to create splashes of color; on side tables, the beverage table, a fireplace mantle, the television, the gift table. Have some element of your theme outside the entrance of the main party room. Use a banner or balloons to create anticipation and promote the idea that your guests are about to enter a fun space. “Table Sprinkles” are Set To Celebrate’s custom, themed confetti – pick a design that matches your theme and spread them on the surfaces where you put tablecloths.

- Don’t over-decorate. You do not need to cover every available surface with decorations. Instead of looking fun and festive it will end up looking busy, disorganized and definitely not elegant. Look for key areas where your guests will congregate – Buffet or Guest Tables; a coffee table where games and gift opening will take place; the entrance to the party room. Choose a main element for those areas – a centerpiece; a display of napkins and tableware and use color (tablecloths are great for this) and decorative details like our "Table Sprinkles" (custom confetti) to enhance them. At Set To Celebrate you will notice that we like to combine a few key themed elements with color. Using a combination of one or two colors along with objects ensures that you maintain the festivity, but do not overwhelm you guests. Also, if you choose a large centerpiece for one area, choose smaller, complimentary centerpieces for other areas. As an example - If you order a large, "Blankie Bear Diaper Cake" for the buffet or gift table, use "Blankie Bear Diaper Cake Toppers" or "Baby Bear Balloon Holders" in other areas. Our "Photo Gallery" section has great examples of how our customers have used our different decorations and tableware to create beautiful parties.

- The best way to organize your decorations for your party is to make a list of all the items you absolutely need, and another list of decorative items you would like to consider. Think about where guests will be gathering at your party and what furniture and walls will be visible and can be utilized. Then create a sheet with boxes where you title each section with the area of the room that you want to decorate. From there, put your essentials into the section boxes - centerpiece, tableware, etc, followed by the various decorative items. This will help you determine what the best decorations are for each area without over-decorating.

- Use your food as part of the theme. Decorative desserts are the first thing we usually think of, but there are so many creative, easy recipes available today on-line. Some of our favorite recipe websites are; www.foodnetwork.com, www.epicurious.com and of course, www.marthastewert.com.

  • Choose a themed drink – something that can be served alcoholic or non-alcoholic is often appreciated. Baby blue or light pink (like a special pink lemonade or watermelon based drink) for a baby shower as an example.
  • Make themed sandwiches Cut sandwiches with cookie themed cutters
  • Choose one or two foods in your party’s colors
  • Use colored M&Ms or other candies in your party’s colors on coffee tables or guest tables
  • For dessert make themed cookies or cakes or cakes and cookies in the colors of your party.


- Don’t forget that a theme does not just begin when your guests walk in the door. Use invitations to set the tone for the event and give your guests and idea of what to expect. If you are using imprintable invitations write a cute poem to go along with the event details – a poem can even just be the first two lines. Want some ideas? Check out the “Tips & Ideas” in our Invitations and Games Section!

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2. Ideas for great venues and different types of parties...
Where you have your party and what type of party you have can be the difference between the standard that everyone expects and something fun and different.

Most baby showers are hosted at either someone's home or at a restaurant. Having the party at home can be more relaxing and inviting, but is more work for you. Restaurants can provide a seamless event and no clean-up, but you generally lose the warmth and intimacy. Here are some ideas for different ways to throw parties in the home and restaurants as well as some other venue ideas.

  • Have guests for a Dessert Party. This can be done in the late afternoon or early evening after dinner time (Probably the earliest would be 7:30 or 8pm depending on whether many of your guests have young children and eat on the earlier side and between 2pm and 5pm on a weekend day.) You can create a beautiful dessert buffet and serve different flavored coffees and teas.
  • Cocktails & Hors d'oeuvres or Wine & Cheese in the late afternoon before dinner or at 8 or 9pm (and serve a themed cocktail instead of having an open bar) - Make sure that you have ample non-alcoholic beverages, and that if you use a themed drink it can be served with or without alcohol so that the mommy-to-be can enjoy it as well!
  • Have a Continental Breakfast with muffins, croissants, wonderful breads and preserves, cheeses and coffee, tea and juice. Have one hot dish such as our blintz casserole or Challah Kugel (Like French Toast in a casserole dish) - e-mail us at party support@settocelebrate.com for the recipes!
  • Have a snack fest. Invite everyone to enjoy all the snacks and junk food from their youth – fill the table and room with Doritos, Cheetos, M&Ms, Flavored Popcorn, Cheese Wiz & Crackers, Twizzlers, etc. If you want something a little more substantial included, order some pizzas with different toppings and cut them into 2 inch, bite-sized pieces. You can also buy big boxes of the little hot dogs in pastry at the supermarket or wholesale club - these are always a HUGE hit! Play some great music and serve a great themed drink. Great for a co-ed baby shower or a baby shower for the dad!


PARTIES OUTSIDE THE HOME

1. A bar/restaurant that has a happy hour may allow you to take over a seated area and bring a cake and some desserts with the idea that either you or your guests will be purchasing the drinks. Since you will have very little expense, you may even be able to pick up the tab which you can pre-specify as soft drinks and wine and/or beer. In many places, bars and restaurants are smoke-free so there are no issues for the guest of honor and her new little one. Pick a place without a loud or very young crowd. You can probably also bring a few decorations like a banner, a centerpiece, decorative cocktail napkins, decorative plates for the cake and balloons.

2. If you live in an area with perpetually nice weather, have your shower in a local park, just make sure it is not too hot for the new mom or that she has too walk too far. Pick a picnic table or a few tables in a shaded area, bring a tablecloth, tableware and some fun picnic foods. You can even bring a centerpiece and balloons to identify to area as guests arrive. This is the type of party you can also assign menu items to different guests - salads, drinks, brownies & cookies... This is also a great idea for a baby shower for a second child that can include the whole family.

3. If it is a small party, ask the other guests if they would mind going to a restaurant. Everyone can pay for their meal and either all split the mommy's or you could pay for her as part of your responsibility as host. You can probably bring a centerpiece and balloons as well as decorative napkins. If you are against a wall they may even allow you to put a banner up! Back to Tips & Ideas List

3. Different ideas for games and entertainment at your baby shower...
- Advice for the New Mom Cards Even though from the moment a mommy's belly starts to bloom, everyone wants to impart advice, a shower is the perfect place to do it. Include a note card or piece of paper with every invitation. Each card should have a place for the name of the guest and "Advice tfor the New Mom", or "Words of Wisdom". Ask guests to write their advice for the new mom or dad and attach it to their gift. For guests that are unable to attend, ask them to mail or e-mail their advice. Suggest that the advice can be practical or funny. It makes opening gifts even more entertaining, and invites everyone to be participate in the party. If you were planning on doing a wishing well, why not have people make their wishing well gift something that corresponds with their advice card. If the advice is "don't wear any clothes that you like when burping, feeding or changing the baby" the gift could be baby laundry detergent or different types of stain removers.

- Books from our childhood are some of the fondest memories for many of us - what better than to help the new parents build a library? Instead of a wishing well, ask everyone to bring their favorite book from childhood. To ensure that there are not duplicates, you can prepare a list ahead of time to e-mail around. Ask everyone to RSVP with the book they would like to bring. To make it even more personal, they can glue a picture of themselves, maybe even with the new mom and dad, and write a message to the baby welcoming them and telling them how they know their parents or even a funny story about the parents. For another nice touch; Check out the website www.MyHomeLibrary.org - You can download fun, free bookplates for children - color, and black and white. Print them on full sheet Avery labels, cut them out, and include them with the invitation. You can read the inscriptions while opening gifts.

- Pamper the mommy and the guests - have a spa activity for your baby shower. If you can't afford to hire a massage therapist or two to give back or foot rubs, or a manicurist to do manis and pedis, there are still lots of fun things you can do. Look online for recipes for facials using products like eggs and yogurt. You can offer different options like a moisturizing facial or a tightening facial. Have them mixed up and have towels ready to put around your guests' shoulders and to pat dry. Have mirrors around the table so everyone can apply their facial. You can also do moisturizing hand therapies. Get a good moisturizer or look online for a recipe and a good cuticle moisturizer. Heat some towels in hot water and wring them out (not too hot!) and people can moisturize their hands, wrap them in the towels for 10 minutes and then use another towel to wipe off for beautiful nails and cuticles. You can buy little bottles of moisturizer, clear nail polish and files for your favors. Don't forget to have nice spa-like music playing and maybe light some lavender or other scented candles (Preferably not strong floral scents as they may not be pleasing to some people and the new mommy - "Body Shop" has some great ones.).Serve light, spa food like finger sandwiches, fresh salads, crudite & dip, fruit, etc.

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4. Creating a wonderful bris or baby naming on a budget...
Unfortnately, you are often at the mercy of the Mohel to determine when you are having your bris. If he or she has more than one bris scheduled that day, unless you are the first one to call, you are often just given a time slot. If you have an option, choose the time based both the bris guests that will be attending & where they are coming from as well as on your budget. The most important thing is; If possible, don’t call the bris at a time when people expect a full meal if you have budget constraints!

    li>Have a 10am continental breakfast with muffins, croissants, wonderful breads and preserves, cheeses and coffee, tea and juice. Have one hot dish such as our blintz casserole or Challah Kugel (Like French Toast in a casserole dish) - e-mail us at party support@settocelebrate.com for the recipes!

    - If you are having a lunch and are on a tight budget, use more expensive items such as meats or fish as an element in a larger dish such as a pasta salad with chicken or grilled chicken sandwiches, wraps or pitas sandwich (cut pita pockets in half to get 2 sandwiches out of one bread) which use less meat than serving whole chicken breasts as an example..

    Preparing sandwiches ahead of time versus having trays of meats, cheeses or fish will also cut down. You would be surprised at how much people can pile onto a sandwich. Just make sure you have a selection of both meat, and non-meat items such as tuna, egg salad, grilled vegetables, cheese, etc. and use nice condiments and breads.

    There are wonderful gourmet sandwich shops all around – go on-line and search “gourmet sandwiches” to get ideas. Some of our favorites are: Turkey and Honey Mustard; Broiled Chicken with Avocado, Lettuce and Tomato & Lemon Garlic Mayonnaise; Italian Tuna salad with Provolone, Lettuce and Tomato; Mozzarella, Grilled Portabello Mushrooms and Roasted Pepper; and Mozzarella, Tomato & Basil. Mix up some mayonnaise with lemon juice or balsamic vinegar as a compliment.

    - If you are having a bagel brunch on a budget, instead of ordering a fish tray, serve different cream cheese options and Lox Cream Cheese instead of sliced smoked fishes. You can even have a cream cheese bar with vegetable cream cheeses, fruit cream cheeses, lox cream cheese (very easy to make just schop lox and mix with cream cheese), chive cheese and a selection of flavored hummos with pita bread. And don’t forget our lactose intolerant friends and have a little tofu cream cheese for them. Have your focal point be a beautiful vegetable tray with sliced tomato, onions, cucumber and red peppers, and serve some inexpensive salads such as egg salad & tuna salad or whitefish salad.

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    5. Basic guidelines for calculating the amount of tableware you need for your party...
    The 2 things you need to consider when ordering are what you are serving and how many people you are having. The following covers 3 different types of parties and the estimated amounts of tableware you will need to order. We have given conservative estimates as there is nothing worse than running out of cups, napkins, forks, etc. and having to scramble to find something to fill in like paper towels or standard white paper plates, creating an eyesore when you worked so hard to create a beautiful coordinated party. We also have an easy to follow chart of this information that we will be happy to e-mail you. Send us your contact information and put “Tableware Chart” in the subject box of the e-mail to PartySupport@SetToCelebrate.com.

    - Buffet Brunch, Lunch or Dinner: With a buffet, people will often take a few items and then go back to the buffet for salads or seconds and take a new plate. If you have a lot of men, you can assume that there will be more people taking seconds and a second plate than if the party is predominately women.

    • Lunch Plates For every 10 guests you need 1 Plate per person plus an additional 5 Plates
    • .
    • Dessert Plates For every 10 guests you need 1 Plate per person plus an additional 5 Plates
    • .
    • Lunch Napkins For every 10 guests you need 1 Napkin per person plus an additional 5 Napkins
    • .
    • Beverage Napkins For every 10 guests you need 1 Napkin per person plus an additional 5 Napkin
    • .
    • Hot/Cold Cups For every 10 guests you need 1 Cup per person plus an additional 5 Cups
    • . (If you are using the hot/cold cups for all your drinks, you need 2 per person)
    • Plastic Cups For every 10 guests you need 1 Cup per person plus an additional 5 Cups
    • .
    • Forks For every 10 guests you need 2 per person – 1 for the meal and 1 for dessert
    • .
    • Knives 1 per person plus 1 extra package as back up.
    • Spoons 2 per person – assuming 1 for the meal and 1 for coffee.
    • Guest Towels 1 package per 25 Guests.


    - Seated Lunch or Dinner:
    • Lunch Plates For 10 to 50 guests you need 1 Plate per person plus 1 additional Package of Plates. 50 to 100 Guests, get 2 additional packages of plates if there are 8-10 in a package and 1 if there are 24 in the package
    • .
    • Dessert Plates For 10 to 50 guests you need 1 Plate per person plus 1 additional Package of Plates if there are 24 in a pack and 2 if there are 8-10. 50 to 100 Guests, get 2 additional packages of plates if there are 8-10 in a package and 1 if there are 24 in the package
    • .
    • Lunch Napkins For 10 to 50 guests you need 1 Napkin per person plus 1 additional Package of Napkins if there are 50 in a pack and 2 if there are 20. 50 to 100 Guests, get 1 per person and 2 additional packages of napkins if there are 50 in a package and 4 if there are 20 in the package
    • .
    • Beverage Napkins For 10 to 50 guests you need 1 Napkin per person plus 1 additional Package of Napkins. 50 to 100 Guests, get 2 additional packages of Napkins if there are 50 in a package and 4 if there are 20 in the package
    • .
    • Cups The safest bet is to get 2 cups per person. If you are using both Plastic Cups and Hot/Cold cups, you need 1 per person of the hot/cold cups plus an additional 24 and 1 per person of the Plastic plus an additional 24 up to 50 people. 50-100 people, get 1 cup of each kind per person plus and additional 50
    • Forks 2 per person – 1 for the Meal and 1 for Dessert plus 1 extra package of 24 for backup
    • .
    • Knives 1 per person plus 1 extra package as back up.
    • Spoons 1 per person and 1 extra package.
    • Guest Towels 1 package per 25 Guests.


    - Continental Buffet Breakfast or Brunch
    • Lunch Plates For every 10 guests you need 1 Plate per person plus an additional 5 Plates
    • .
    • Dessert Plates For every 10 guests you need 1 Plate per person plus an additional 5 Plates
    • .
    • Lunch Napkins 2 per person
    • .
    • Beverage Napkins 2 per person
    • .
    • Hot/Cold Cups 2 per person. *If you are both hot/cold cups and plastic cups you can generally or an extra 5 cups of each for every 10 people
    • .
    • Plastic Cups 2 per person. *If you are both hot/cold cups and plastic cups you can generally or an extra 5 cups of each for every 10 people
    • Forks For every 10 guests you need 5 extra
    • .
    • Knives 1 per person plus 1 extra package as back up.
    • Spoons 1 per person plus 1 extra package as back up.
    • Guest Towels 1 package per 25 Guests.


    6. How to create a menu for your party...
    If you are not ordering or catering, serve food that is easy to prepare. It is understandable that you would want to show-off your best dishes, but try not to do that at the expense of time and sanity. Choose one favorite dish as the centerpiece of your menu and then fill in around with things that are easy to prepare or can be made a day or two ahead of time or frozen and re-heated.

    Make sure that the food goes together. Yes, we know that eventually it all ends up in the same place, but make sure your dishes are complimentary. Lasagna, pasta salad and potato salad are way too many starches and carbs for one table. Choose 1 or two main courses and 2 or 3 side dishes for a buffet. You may also choose to be conscious of dietary issues that people may have – lactose issues and issues with nuts are good ones to address by making sure that not every dish or dessert has cheese or dairy in it, or nuts. When we do a brunch we always make sure to have tofu cream cheese available and soy milk for coffee.

    Know your audience. Is this a pure meat and potatoes crowd or a health-conscious crowd? Do you need to do a green salad? Can you do unusual, spicy or ethnic dishes or will you scare people who can’t identify them at first glance?

    Make sure you prepare enough. Try not to skimp and don’t assume that everyone will have an average of ½ or 1 serving of something unless you are offering a lot of options. Besides, after all the energy you are going to expend, won’t it be nice that there are leftovers in the fridge the next day? Also remember that men at a party will tend to consume more than women.

    If you are on a tight budget, use more expensive items such as meats or fish as an element in a larger dish such as a pasta salad with chicken. Sandwiches and wraps also use less meat than serving whole chicken breasts as an example. Preparing sandwiches ahead of time versus having trays of meats, cheeses or fish will also cut down. You would be surprised at how much people can pile onto a sandwich.

    Just make sure you have a selection of both meat and non-meat options. Tuna fish, egg salad, cheese dishes or trays, etc. and use nice condiments and breads. There are wonderful gourmet sandwich shops all around – go on-line and search “gourmet sandwiches” to get ideas. Some of our favorite sandwich ideas are: Turkey with brie and honey mustard; grilled chicken with avocado, spinach & lemon garlic mayonnaise; Tuna salad with provolone, lettuce and tomato; Mozzarella, Grilled Portabella Mushrooms and Roasted Pepper or Mozzarella, Tomato & Basil. Mixing up some mayonnaise with lemon juice or balsamic vinegar as a compliment is an easy way to add a gourmet touch!

    Don’t be afraid to order some things in – a fruit or cheese tray, sandwiches, a side dish or some desserts. Just make sure that you have tasted and/or seen the food from the place you are purchasing prior to ordering. There is nothing worse than preparing beautiful dishes only to have something sloppily prepared or unappetizing added to your table.

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    7. Setting a functional and beautiful buffet table...


    The first and most important thing is to determine the flow - how people will move down or around your table. The easiest way to do this is to mentally create “stations.” People should pick up their plates and utensils, move to the main course station, then to salads and side dishes. If you are serving breads, rolls or bagels & muffins, you generally put them at the beginning of the table if they are essential to the main course like a Bagel Brunch, Continental Breakfast or you are having trays of meats and cheeses for sandwiches. Otherwise, they can go at the end of the table.

    If desserts are going out on the main buffet, they should be last. Otherwise, desserts can be put out after the main buffet is cleared. This also allows you to break up the party, making dessert an activity that can happen after games or opening presents. It is also a nice way to wind down the party, allowing people to relax and chat before they leave.

    For events over 50 people, you may want to have plates & utensils set up at either end of the table with the same foods on both sides, or two separate tables with a round or square table in the center for the plates and utensils. This way guests are not relegated to standing in a long line and can enter the buffet from both ends. Visit our "Photo Gallery" to see how our customers have set up their buffets.

    - A pre-organized table is particularly important if you have other people contributing to the menu. Always know exactly what people are bringing and what they are bringing it in, and have extra bowls and serving trays available if someone for instance, brings their salad or dessert in Tupperware and you do not want to put that on your table.

    - Don't just drop things randomly on the table. When you place your square, rectangular and oval dishes, have them placed at the same angle to each other all the way down or around the table. You will be surprised how much more professional and appetizing it looks. Space your trays and bowls evenly from each other. It is always the details that take a party to the next level. People will not necessarily know why the party looks great, but they will know when it looks average.

    - Drinks can be in a separate area, particularly if you have hot coffee and water that needs an outlet, but should also be organized nicely with ice near your cold drinks and cream & sugar near your coffee and tea. Use a tablecloth that matches the main buffet, and if you need to put spoons or stirrers out, place them in one of your themed or colored cups with a decorative napkin from your buffet inside.

    An easy coffee solution is to order Dunkin' Donuts or Starbucks coffee-in-a-box – quick, disposable and always good! Make sure you have decaf available as well as caffeinated. Set To Celebrates "Buffet Cards" are great for identifying the items on a beverage table. They can be hand-written or printed from the computer: "Coffee", "Hot Water", "Decaf", "Half & Half", "Skim Milk", etc. They match our "Table Sprinkles" and are a perfect little detail that incorporates your party theme in an unexpected place.

    - Using risers to elevate different dishes or your centerpiece is a great way to create dimension on your table

    • How to make a riser You can use books (make sure you cover them with plastic so that if anything spills they don't get ruined), a pot turned upside-down, or a small, sturdy box. Square or round risers look the best, and a minimum of 3 inches off the table and up to 18 inches will give you good height. Your riser should be at least the size of the base of the item you are placing on it for stability – Larger is fine and can look nice, particularly on lower risers.
    • Making your riser decorativeCover your riser with fabric the same or close to the color of your tablecloth. It is easiest to work with a piece of fabric that is square or round, and the fabric should fall 10 or more inches beyond the base edges of the riser (excess-see below) when it is placed over. (If you are buying fabric, the formula is (the width of your riser) + (the height of your riser x 2)+ (the desired excess x 2).
    • Setting up your risersWhen setting up your risers, you can use 2 or 3 together at different heights for a nice effect. Don’t put risers randomly around your table. Risers should not block access to other food that is sitting on the table.


    - Make sure you have a place for guests to dispose of their tableware when they are finished. If you are using paper tableware that guests need to dispose of when they are done eating and drinking, make sure that there is a trash can available. However, try to put it somewhere a little discreet, like a corner of the room, and make sure it is clean with a fresh bag inside. Nothing is more unappetizing and unattractive than a dirty trash can, and it will definitely detract from your party.

    If you are using tableware that is not going to be disposed of, place a tray on a small table in the corner of the room near the buffet or drinks table that guests can place their used items on. You will need to delegate the job of clearing the tray regularly to someone. If it is an option, hiring a helper for the party is a great plan. They can be responsible for clearing used plates & cups, replenishing food on the buffet, making sure that the ice bucket or creamer is full, and generally being available to allow you to enjoy the party. When you hire someone, make sure that you tell them specifically what you expect of them and where things are located in the kitchen. This way you do not need to constantly go to them to tell them what they should be doing and they do not need to bother you. Also, make sure you tell them what to wear. You wouldn't want to have someone in jeans and a t-shirt running around in the middle of your nice luncheon or cocktail party. If you are unsure, a white blouse or button down shirt and black pants or skirt are always a safe bet.

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