Get it going on for summer!Bottom Highlights, Entertainment Feature Thursday, June 7th, 2012
It’s time to pull the white shoes out of the closet, clean off the barbecue and plan your outdoor soirée. I love this time of the year. About now is when Skecthalina Jones, Nikki Fierce and I get together on my private outdoor patio overlooking the Hillcrest strip once a month for lunch and cocktails (and a lot of gossip).
I love creating new themes for our little tête-à-têtes. (That means “head-to-heads” in French. Yes, this humble girl from Texas can speak a petite bit (un peu) de Francais.) I believe that a fabulous hostess always makes her guests feel like queens, especially if they’re the kinds of queens I know. If you want to do likewise, serve any kind of food you want. But what makes the party memorable is the atmosphere you create for your guests.
When I was growing up in Tackysburgh, my momma would throw Sunday afternoon teas once a month for herself and the neighborhood ladies. She loved to create a Southern tea party in the backyard by using items such as colored table linens and fancy tea cups she had collected from church rummage sales through the years.
She’d put me in an all-too-cute bright summer dress she had hemmed up after it had been “hand-me-downed” from one of my older sisters. Then, I’d help momma by makin’ up name-cards, which would be placed in colorful butterfly ornament pieces. That way, Jeannie Mae Hensshaw wouldn’t sit where momma had meant Odessa Smith to sit. You see, Odessa was a beautifully big woman, who had to be provided the sturdiest lawn-chair we owned, while Jennie Mae was a little fumbly with her fingers (I guess these days I should say she was dexterity-challenged). It was a foregone conclusion that Jennie Mae would drop her teacup and break it at some point during the party. So momma always made sure her place-setting included the cheap china.
The centerpieces were bunches of fresh-cut flowers, usually from the neighbor’s yard, because my momma could never keep a plant alive. But, I digress. It wasn’t until I was a little older did I realize that the ladies were not drinking “tea,” but rather straight-up whiskey with a sprig of mint! I may not of known it then, but momma’s tea-party friends were my kind of girls!
There are many types of themes you can create for your outdoor parties that are fun and easy to pull off. It just takes a little imagination, a couple of yards of your favorite fabric and a hot glue gun. I have compiled a couple of party themes that have proven reliable every time. I know you and all of my Wendy’s Trendsetters will enjoy designing your own outdoor summer parties.
If you need any ideas for your fabulous summer soirée you can always send me a note on Facebook.com/trenwen. Who knows, I might even drop by to lend y’all a hand. Just have my cocktail ready. I’m not too picky about what kind, just as long as it’s strong and pretty like my men.
Trendy Wendy’s Summertime Outdoor Party Themes
Movies under the stars – Buy, borrow or rent a DVD projector and a screen and show a classic movie like Whatever Happened to Baby Jane. String twinkle lights overhead; have your guests dress in black-and-white outfits (because it is a black and white movie). Pick up some old wheelchairs as seats and best of all serve your food on covered trays and serve lots of hard alcohol, as well as creative non-alcoholic beverages (Google or Blekko.com search) for your teetotalers. For extra credit, go to a thrift store, discount department store or Macy’s if you can afford it and search for a cookie jar that looks like a mouse (or more accurately to the Baby Jane theme, a rat) and use it for your key bowl so no one drives home drunk.
A swap party – My personal favorite. There’s nothing more exciting or more of a surefire way to get folks laughing, hootin’ and hollerin’ than gathering friends to swap various prized (and not so prized) possessions. I’m talking about everything from collectables, bric-a-brac, clothing. Hell, you can even swap husbands. Again, I digress. That’s a whole different kind of party. Back to the theme at hand: Set up a large table outside where guests can deposit their items, and get them arranged by category. Use vintage or retro dinnerware and glassware. Have each guest write their names on tags to identify the pieces they want. Serve casual food and light minty cocktails. Handmade invitations and thoughtful party favors set a festive touch from start to finish.
A country-chic party – This one is precious and always reminds me of home. I’m getting teary-eyed just thinking about it. Use inexpensive overhead hanging light bulbs or pan lights strung overhead. Create the rustic décor by using bales of hay for seating, natural burlap table clothes and fresh sunflowers as center pieces. Can’t you just hear some soft Patsy Cline in the background and taste those yummy country ribs and tall fruity cocktails? (Sigh.) It’s just like momma’s tea parties.
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