Ahhh… party planning. You either welcome it or dread it. Hosting can feel like a lot of pressure. You want your house just so, the food to be spectacular, and for your guests to have the best possible time! We suggest you don’t let the stress dissuade you from making a memory with your friends and family. Just go for it!
So, what to do? If you’re not a seasoned host, then make sure you give yourself enough time and enlist help from someone who enjoys the process. (Or who loves to cook!) Then make your lists:
1. Build a Menu
If you’re expecting a casual crowd that includes children, you’ll want to go with a wide variety of hand-held foods. And even if a more upscale event, finger foods are just easier and more fun for guests. Then they don’t have to balance utensils or sit down when they’d rather walk around and socialize. This makes for a much more festive affair when people can feel relaxed enough to mingle!
What you can also do is hire someone to circulate with trays (or delegate that task to a family member) for at least the first course. It’s a lovely way to receive guests to your home by delivering savory treats, poolside. We’ve got a few scrumptious suggestions!
Pepperoni and Cheese Pizza Hand Pies need 15-20 minutes in the oven for a combination of cream cheese, butter, flour, and sea salt to blend for a nice dough. Then just chill for an hour. Roll out, stamp with a large cookie cutter and fill with pizza sauce, mozzarella, pepperoni, and a sprinkle of oregano. Brush with a little egg and milk wash and bake. Pop them on the trays with a little more sauce on the side for dipping, and you’ve got the party started!
For an even cheesier launch of the festivities, look no further than these No-Bake Gorgonzola Cheese Balls! You can actually prep them the night before as the recipe calls for the smoked gorgonzola and low-fat cream cheese to be at room temperature to begin. When the cheeses are ready, you can blend them along with fresh chopped rosemary, a splash of white wine, and a dash of Worcestershire sauce. The next morning you can scoop up some deliciousness and form it into balls, then refrigerate for 15 minutes. Roll the cheese balls in a plate of crushed nuts, garnish each with a sprig of rosemary, and place back in the frig until they’re ready to load up on the serving platter.
To finish off that happy first round of snacks, consider Petite Ropa Vieja Tacos that can also be prepped ahead of your guests’ arrival. Just place a couple pounds of seasoned skirt steak in a baking dish covered halfway with water to which you add tomatoes and chilies. Then you can wrap peppercorns, yellow onion, garlic, and bay leaves in a square of cheesecloth, tie with baker’s twine and add to the pan. Cover with foil and simmer about three hours until the meat just falls apart and can be easily shredded. Add some delicately sauteed bell peppers and onions for added zest, then load up some mini tortilla rounds bursting with flavor!
Delish serves up all the classic recipes from appetizers, to sides, to decadent desserts. You might want to take a look at their Best-Ever Crab Cakes. Panko-encrusted, they’re chock full of fresh ingredients that combine easily for simmering in a skillet and serving with tartar sauce and lemon wedges. Yum!
You can also peruse these 37 hand-held recipes from HGTV! But wait, there’s more! Check out these 49 Labor Day Recipes for A Perfect End-of-Summer Party.
And never forget that burgers, dogs, and potato salad (courtesy of famous foodie, Ina Garten), never go out of style when it comes to pool parties on Labor Day! And also never forget you can ask friends and neighbors to come bearing their signature side dish along with a serving spoon, so you don’t run out of either!
2. Decorate with Flair
Because the color scheme for July 4th and Labor Day are so similar, you can opt to purchase some décor including flags and table covers that can be re-used over and over. With those as the foundation, you will find an abundance of paper goods like streamers and plates and even plastic serving platters to outfit your party with a vibrant vibe.
Balloon bouquets always make a nice addition to the buffet table. Weighted down and adorned with scrolling ribbons, they provide a festive touch. Music is also considered décor, so plan a playlist that you can just set and forget for continuous background ambiance.
You may also wish to use the occasion of a holiday like this to up your pool float profile. Pool flotation devices have become as advanced as pool design and technology; you can actually establish a floating family room with all the recliners and multi-faceted design options these now sport. Colorful inner tubes are great for the kids and add splashes of color to your pool’s surface.
Good Housekeeping suggests 20 Ridiculously Fun (and Safe) Pool Games for Kids that will keep them occupied and active. Country Living chimes in with their take with 20 Best Swimming Pool Games to Play This Summer.
Remember to fill some wicker baskets or bins with sunscreen and extra towels. You may even find some fun hats in the party store to pass out to the guests to unite them with festive holiday garb.
3. Invite Everyone, Early
There’s no doubt that people make the party! Figure your date early enough so everyone can get it on their busy calendars and have something fun to look forward to.
As far as the day of, even if your crab cakes turn out soggy, when you can look around your yard and see your friends and family sharing stories and laughing, then you’ve got a successful bash on your hands!
Life is all about connections – the people we’ve cherished forever and the new friends we haven’t yet met. So, introduce your college pals to your neighbors and your brother to one of your favorite co-workers. It’s a wonderful world when we’re in good company. Happy Labor Day from all of us here!
Providing pool and home improvement loan solutions since 1979, Lyon Financial loves backyard pools and celebrating the American workforce. We also love the difference we can make for your family by providing something that puts years of memories within reach. Call 877-754-5966 for more information about creating your ideal backyard oasis.