garden party prep {4 days out}

Let's Fête garden party I wanted to invite you all along the week leading up to a little get-together, so you can see how I attempt to plan things. Now, there are about a bazzilion ways to approach it, but I always love learning new tips and tricks, so here are mine.

We’re having some of our old neighbors over to the new pad, the first time they are seeing it! We’re so excited to hang out with the whole gang again – in total there are 8 adults and 11 kids (yes, 11!), so a little planning is in order.

At the very least, 4 days out I start to narrow down the menu. What style of food should I serve? What are good kid solutions? What can I prep in advance? What are things I don’t have to cook vs cook? I like a balance of  what I can prep in advance so I’m not a mad person while guests are there, but I do oftentimes want something freshly cooked to compliment things.

For this party, the weather should be lovely (fingers crossed) and we’ll be spending most of the time in the back garden. Grilling is probably the best deal, but not mandatory. I am going to need to nail things down as the week progresses, but for now I need to wrap my head around some big buckets (no recipes needed quite yet if you’re not there, clearly I am not):

snacks: something to be on the table when guests arrive so they can munch and mingle. I don’t like to put a ton of effort in here, there are so many options for no-cooking-needed items that you can save the hands-on time for something else. I’m thinking a platter of grilled bread, spreads, meats, veggies and cheeses – it will look lovely, but be fairly straight-forward to execute.

salad: I’m probably going to go light here since the apps are robust. Something leafy with a fruit included probably.

protein: I’m leaning toward a grilled fish of some sort – probably whatever the local fish shop has that morning. We have a FANTASTIC place just around the corner that stocks up fresh each morning. Glad they can do the fishing for me!

starch: I tend to leave this out in the summer, just because it gets a bit heavy, but I could do a light pasta dish with lemon, olive oil and parm…mmm…

dessert: what’s super summery? cobbler, ice cream and grilled fruits, fresh whipped cream and berries. I have a little work here, but you see where I’m going.

Sounds like I have a theme brewing – perhaps a Mediterranean vibe I can ride. Throw some sangria in the mix? Sure – love that it can be prepped in advance!

drinks: A few options are needed for this size group. Kids drinks for sure, juice, water, perhaps an infused water or sparkling to offer, wine and beer. I’d say a mixed cocktail as well, if this were a later in the evening event, and especially sans kids. But since we’re starting at 3 and there are plenty of kids in tow, we’ll keep booze on the lighter side. However, I have a pretty stocked bar if anyone wants to help themselves!

kids: now, I don’t usually make my kids something totally different than the adult meal, but when I’m having a group of them over I do try. It’s just a big group to please and the last thing you want are for kids to whine because of what is being served. I’m thinking I’ll throw together individual picnic boxes for each kid (need to source those boxes…) with a drink, sausage or hot dog which can be grilled with the fish, fruit, vegetable and maybe the pasta too.

Ok, so that’s my stream of consciousness for today. Tomorrow I nail the menu down and start talking seating, wednesday we’ll discuss activities (mostly kid focused here!), thursday will focus on decor and Friday on schedule & prep. Seems like a lot, but when you break it into something each day, it’s not so bad, really. It’s when you wait until the day of the party that you’re running around like a chicken! Prep = sanity.

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