Fall Dinner Party on a Budget

Here are some tips on hosting a fall dinner party in an affordable way.

We did ours outside because there was more space and it felt more free. Decide where you’re hosting and how many guests you want to serve. We had 8 including the hosts. I feel like this is the perfect amount – it feels full, but you’re not making 100 pounds of food.

We wanted a menu that was fall-ish obviously, but it had to also be easy to cook while hosting and accommodate different dietary restrictions. We chose:

Creamy butternut squash pasta (cheese optional)
Goat cheese salad (cheese optional – just a simple salad with lettuce, balsamic dressing, kalamata olives, tomatoes and cucumbers)
Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies (paired with optional pumpkin ice cream and hot fudge)

We put out a cheese and meat board appetizer with wine to start the party.

We made the salad and cookies before guests arrived. We cooked the pasta/mingled while the appetizer was out. We served the pasta on individual plates and let guests add their own cheese. We put the salad out in a bowl for people to serve themselves. After dinner, we cleared the table and brought out the cookies and ice cream on bamboo dessert plates.

Now the fun part – setting the table! I wanted a fall, outdoorsy, greenery vibe.

TABLE:
White table cloth ($5) – This is my go to party table cloth. It comes in pink, green or white and is disposable. It’s made from a thicker paper material and looks much nicer than a plastic table cloth. I think you can recycle any clean parts of the cloth and reuse it if it doesn’t get dirty. And the bottoms are scalloped!

Burlap table runner ($8) – I use this for a ton of different parties and themes – it’s very versatile.

Greenery garland ($10-$20) – Michael’s has a ton of these with different greenery options. They usually have a 50% off coupon that you can use too. I chose to do a plastic garland so I could re-use it again (another example with succulents added). I placed this along the center of the table on top of the table runner.

Candle holders + candles ($2 total each) – I went to Salvation army and got two clear taper candle holders, two small orange tea candle holders and I found a bigger orange holder to be the center piece. You can get taper and tea light candles at Michael’s for really cheap, use their coupons! I placed these on top of the runner mixed in with the greenery.

Pumpkins ($1 each) – I got mini pumpkins at the Farmers market – orange, white and a combo.

PLACE SETTINGS
Plates (Free) – We used our normal dishes that were just plain white. I think any white plate would work for this.

I put out bamboo plates for appetizers and served dessert on them as well.

Napkins ($2.50) – I love the greenery feel of these! They have matching plates and other accessories if you want more. Place this on top of each person’s plate.

Menu (Free) – I made the menu in InDesign and printed it out on brown kraft paper. You can obviously print it on any paper! Put a menu on top of each person’s napkin.

Place settings ($6) – I got little pumpkin clips from the Target dollar section and wrote each person’s name on them. I like how they clipped the napkin and menu together. You could DIY these with any clip or seasonal item. You can also paint over the names if you want to use for something else/another party. OR give them away to each guest at the end of the night.

I clipped a fresh sprig of rosemary in there above the menu as well.

Glasses ($12) – I found green cocktail glasses at Salvation Army – a set for $12. I love vintage colored glassware – you could do brown, black, orange, any other fall color. I put these out as dinner cocktail/wine glasses. I then used our standard clear stemless wine glasses for water.

I put out a separate set of wine glasses (orange and green duh) and a carafe for drinking with the appetizers.

Flatware (Free) – I had a box of old silverware and I spray painted the ends of it gold. Obviously you can just use whatever you have at your house. Or there probably is cool gold flatware at Salvation Army for pretty cheap.

I hung up string lights above the table for when it started to get dark. That with the candlelight really created a vibe!

I think this party cost me a total of less than $150! You can obviously upgrade anything or use more of things you already own. I’d like to do more seasonal or themed dinner parties – they are so fun, easy and intimate.



5 Summer Days in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

We wanted to go on a COVID safe vacation and there’s no where more social distanced than the Upper Peninsula. We’ve been a few times and wanted to do something new so we went all the way to the peak – Copper Harbor. I love being in the UP because it’s so calm with water and crazy views literally everywhere you turn! There’s never a shortage of awesome things to see/do.

Some tips on going to the UP:
– Everything is pretty far apart – be ready to drive a lot
– There’s no guarantee of phone service – it’ll go in and out constantly
– Because of the lack of service, it might be worthwhile to get a paper map or download maps on your phone before leaving each morning
– The food options aren’t great and there are rarely vegetarian options (outside of a grilled cheese)
– Everything closes pretty early – sometimes small towns will close down by 7pm (including food)
– Because of the last two points, it’s good to plan out where you’re going to eat or bring your own food so you’re not left starving

DAY 1: PICTURED ROCKS/MUNISING
We drove up and got here mid-afternoon. It’s about a six hour drive from the metro-Detroit area. If it’s your first time to Pictured Rocks, I recommend doing one of the boat tours vs. hiking. It’s the best way to see the rocks and is more relaxing. Since we’ve already gone the boat route, we decided to hike. Here’s what we did on the first day:
– Sable Falls – pretty waterfall, easy access
– Log Slide Overlook – one of our favorite views, easy access
– Hurricane River/Twelve Mile Beach – both are beaches, you could just do one – we liked Twelve Mile better
– Munising Falls – pretty waterfall, easy access
– Dinner at the Roam Inn – “fancy” UP food, a cute atmosphere, make a reservation
– Drinks in downtown Munising at By George Brewing and/or East Channel Brewing


DAY 2: PICTURED ROCKS + HOUGHTON
We wanted to do a few more Pictured Rocks sites before driving the 2.5 hours to Houghton/Hancock.
Falling Rock Cafe – get coffee/tea (they had breakfast sandwiches that looked really good too)
Bay Furnace Bagels – we got some sandwiches here to save for lunch later
– Coves Campground/Beach – we did the 3 mile round trip hike to this beach – it’s sooo calm and beautiful with crystal clear water
– Chapel Area/Mosquito Beach – this is a really popular trail route and the best way to see the rocks from land – when we went, it was super crowded so we decided to opt out
– Miner’s Castle/Falls – the castle is actually a famous rock formation – it’s super easy access and the water is a pretty green/teal
– Sand Point Beach – we stopped here to drink a beer and say goodbye to the area – it’s a nice beach with a view of Grand Island and the rocks – it would be a good place to spend the day

We then drove to Houghton – it’s a cute little college town with awesome views! To cross off two more breweries from our list, we went to The Library for dinner and then got beers at Keweenaw Brewing Company. I would recommend staying in Houghton if you can – it’s definitely the most lively city in the area and centrally located. We stayed in Calumet and it was cute, but we definitely preferred Houghton.

Hancock is another little downtown across the bridge from Houghton that you can check out as well.

DAY 3: COPPER HARBOR
From Calumet we drove north as far as we could!
– Eagle River – a small waterfall/museum and cute little town
-The Jampot – a small roadside stop for really good jam/baked goods – it’s owned by monks which is slightly weird/religious
– Eagle Harbor Lighthouse – right on the water with tons of maritime history
– Brockway Mountain Overlook – this was my favorite part – you can drive up via Brockway Mountain Drive (mostly trees) or Lakeshore Drive (on the water) – you get to the top and there’s a gorgeous view of multiple lakes and lots of trees
– Downtown Copper Harbor/Brickside Brewing – there are gift shops, a candy store and more
– Fort Wilkins State Park – historical buildings on the water
– Copper Harbor Lighthouse Overlook – a small beach with picnic tables with a view of the lighthouse

We ended the day back in Calumet with dinner and drinks at Red Jacket Brewing. Another option to do in the area is tour a real copper mine – the Quincey Mine. You can call to make reservations and it lasts about 2 hours. We didn’t feel like we had enough time for this stop.

DAY 4: PORCUPINE MOUNTAINS + MARQUETTE
We woke up early and drove the 1.5 hours to Porcupine Mountains to see Lake of the Clouds. It’s an easy access overlook to crazy view. There are a bunch of trails options as well. Then we drove 30 minutes to Summit Peak. It’s an easy 0.5 mile hike to a viewing platform with lots of trees.

We then drove 2.5 hours to Marquette. This is my favorite city in the Upper Peninsula! It’s a college town with tons of nature and a cute downtown. The vibes are amazing.

There are a ton of breweries here! The most popular are Black Rocks Brewing and Ore Dock Brewing. We wanted to go to places we’ve never been so we chose Barrel + Beam and Drifa Brewing. Both were really cute with good beer.

For our nature fix, we went to Dead River Falls. And then drove the Presque Isle Loop. Make sure you stop at the actual Black Rocks and jump off if you’re brave enough. We got dinner at BODEGA at night.

Other Marquette hike ideas:
– Sugarloaf Mountain – easy access/short hike with great view
– Top of World
– Harlow Lake
– Hogback Mountain

We stayed at an Airbnb downtown this time, but a few years ago we stated at Nestledown Bed and Breakfast. It was so cute and nice!


DAY 5: ESCANABA + MANISTIQUE
We got tea and muffins at BabyCakes before hitting the road. We wanted to do some stuff on our long ride home. First we stopped at Hall Farm, right outside of Escanaba. They have a huge sunflower field with two viewing platforms and it’s free! You can leave a donation to cut a few stems.

Then we drove into Escanaba and tried to go to Upper Hand Brewery, but they were closed :/. We did try our first pasties at Dobber’s and Gram’s – the two competitors in Escanaba. Gram’s didn’t have any vegetarian options, but my Dobber’s pasty was good. It’s basically like a portable pot pie.

Then we went to Manistique to check out the Big Spring or Kitch-iti-kipi. There’s teal/clear blue water with a moving platform over the area. It’s a cool site!

From there it’s about 5.5 hours back to the Detroit area.

QUICK ITINERARY
DAY 1
– Sable Falls
– Log Slide Overlook
– Hurricane River/Twelve Mile Beach
– Munising Falls
– Dinner at the Roam Inn
– By George Brewing and/or East Channel Brewing

DAY 2
Falling Rock Cafe
Bay Furnace Bagels
– Coves Campground/Beach
– Chapel Area/Mosquito Beach
– Miner’s Castle/Falls
– Sand Point Beach
– Drive to Houghton/Hancock (2.5 hours)
The Library
Keweenaw Brewing Company

DAY 3
– Quincey Mine
– Eagle River
– The Jampot
– Eagle Harbor Lighthouse
– Brockway Mountain Overlook
– Downtown Copper Harbor/Brickside Brewing
– Fort Wilkins State Park
– Copper Harbor Lighthouse Overlook
– Red Jacket Brewing

DAY 4
– Lake of the Clouds
– Summit Peak
– Drive to Marquette
– Dead River Falls
– Presque Isle/Black Rocks
– Brewery of your choice
– Dinner at BODEGA

DAY 5
BabyCakes
– Hall Farm
– Upper Hand Brewery
– Gram’s or Dobber’s
– Kitch-iti-kipi





Three Day Friends Trip in Boyne City, Michigan

Every year our group of 10 friends goes up north together. 2020’s choice was Boyne City! A nice centrally located city. We stayed in an Airbnb that was walk-able to downtown.

DAY 1: HARBOR SPRINGS/CROSS VILLAGE
We drove up on Thursday afternoon and stopped at the historical Legs Inn for lunch. It’s a cool/old building that’s a Michigan landmark and has been named one of the most iconic in the state. They have outdoor seating on the water and serve traditional polish food. They do have vegetarian options. There’s a few gift shops to check out too. After lunch we drove through the Tunnel of Trees on our way to Boyne City.

After our friends arrived, we got dinner and drinks on the water at Cafe Sante.

DAY 2: PETOSKEY
The next day, the guys and girls split up for the morning. The guys went golfing at Crooked Tree. The girls got coffee at Lake Charlevoix Coffee and then went over to Lavender Hill Farm. The farm is super cute! We walked the trail around and through the lavender. The have a little craft section and a gift shop. We bought some plants, bath salts and bed spray.

Both groups met up for lunch at Palette Bistro in downtown Petoskey. They have outdoor seating and take reservations. If you sit inside there is a view of the water. They have vegetarian options as well! Then we walked down to Bayfront Park and sat by the water.

Next up was a beer at Beards Brewery. Again, you can sit outside and have a view of the water. On our way home we stopped at Burnt Marshmallow Brewing. It has a farmland vibe and serve beer, wine and spirits. This summer they required reservations.


DAY 3: TUBING
A few of us started the morning at the Boyne City Farmers Market. We got a bunch of stuff to make for dinner that night. The market was a lot bigger than most markets and had a lot of variety. Then the whole group got together to tube down the Jordan River. You can rent tubes, canoes or kayaks. It lasted around 2+ hours and was overall pretty relaxing. We got a cooler tube and filled it with drinks.

We then headed over to Peninsula Beach. It’s a small beach in downtown Boyne City. The water was super nice and warm. Another larger beach option is at Young State Park which is like a 10 minute drive from downtown.

At night, we cooked up our farmers market finds and had a little BBQ at the house.

I would definitely recommend staying in Boyne City. There’s a lot to do downtown and the vibe is super cute. You can drive in any direction and find more to do – other cities, nature activities, golf, etc.

QUICK ITINERARY:
DAY 1
Legs Inn
-Tunnel of Trees
Cafe Sante

DAY 2
Lake Charlevoix Coffee
-Golf at Crooked Tree or exploring Lavender Hill Farm
Palette Bistro
-Bayfront Park
Beards Brewery
Burnt Marshmallow Brewing

DAY 3
-Boyne City Farmers Market
-Tubing on the Jordan River
-Peninsula Beach or Young State Park

Read about other large group itineraries in Muskegon, Saugatuck and St. Joseph.

Ice Cream Party

Summer calls for ice cream and ice cream calls for a party! Below is how I planned a full on ice cream themed bash for friends. (My ice cream obsession includes two cone tattoos and lots of ice cream themed home decor.)

SUNDAE STATION
Obviously, the most important thing at this party. I set up a station where people could make their own sundaes! I asked each guest to bring their favorite topping. I got a bunch of basic ice cream types (chocolate base, vanilla base, mint base, etc.) and the put all the toppings out in cute bowls. Make sure you have a good mix of hard toppings (sprinkles, oreos, candy) and liquid (hot fudge, chocolate syrup, caramel). I made little labels for each topping and put the name of the person who brought it on there too. I found little paper cups and waffle cones for people to choose from. I took bamboo spoons and painted the ends with stripes to elevate their look a little bit.

The decorations for that table included a sparkle banner that said “Sundae Funday”, pom pom garland and a sprinkle table cloth that I folded to look like a table runner. I also had this cute ice cream lamp that was perfect.

I got some cute ice cream sunglasses and temporary tattoos for guests to enjoy/take photos with.

FOOD TABLE
Outside I set up a table with food and desserts. I used my go-to party table cloth in mint and folded up another sprinkle table cloth as a runner. Then I got all the sprinkle/ice cream tableware that you can find: napkins, paper cups, plates. I found ceramic sugar cones in the dollar section at Target to hold plasticware.

We ended up putting a pastel tent over the food area because of a rainy forecast – it didn’t rain, TG. Above the table, I put up smaller letter balloons spelling out ALA MODE. I spray painted them white and painted on little sprinkles. I then got a big ice cream balloon and put it next to the table. I hung a bunch of honeycomb cones around the table, tent and anywhere else that needed some ice cream.

Now time for drinks! I made a good old fashioned ice cream punch and got a bunch of ice cream inspired beers like Oddside’s Fruitsicle, Decadent’s Strawberry Creamsicle, Saugatuck Brewing’s Neapolitan Milk Stout and more!

We served build your own sliders (vegetarian meat included), a black bean/avocado/corn salsa and other classic BBQ food.

SHOPPING LIST:
Table Top:
Plain table cloth
Sprinkle table cloth x2
Sprinkle napkins
Sprinkle paper cups
Sprinkle plates
Ice cream cone plates
Ice cream cups
-Plasticware
-Topping serving bowls
-Ice cream scooper

Decor:
Pom pom garland
Honeycomb cones
-Sundae Funday banner
Letter balloon banner (+ paint)
Ice cream balloon

Wearables:
Temporary tattoos
Ice cream sunglasses

Food:
-Ice cream selection
-Waffle cones
-Any toppings that guests aren’t covering
-Punch ingredients (sherbet, alcohol of choice, fruit) + punch bowl
-Slider ingredients of choice
-Ice cream inspired beer

Eat up and enjoy!

Choose Your Own Adventure Birthday

For my sister’s 16th birthday, we did a “choose your own adventure” day! We picked her up at noon and she had no idea what to expect. We got small 1-6 balloons and Sweet Sixteen headbands to decorate the car.

We made cards for each activity that we had planned for the day. Before each decision came up, she received two cards with different options to choose from. For example, the first stop was lunch. She got two cards with two different restaurants listed. She chose one and that’s where we went!

The other activities were:
-Dessert (ice cream or coffee with candles)
-Art activity (going to Detroit’s Dequindre Cut or doing a craft)
-If she chose Detroit – she got the option to go to Belle Isle or do a cemetery tour
-If she chose craft – she got to choose between doing face masks or going shopping

You can add as many activities as you want and make many different outcomes, especially if you’re going by location. Choosing Detroit led us to more Detroit options, while choosing a craft kept us more local.

It was a fun way to keep the day a surprise, yet making sure she got to do exactly what she wanted. Don’t forget to make a Sweet Sixteen playlist for the ride!

Girls Weekend in Traverse City, Michigan

No summer is complete without a girls night or trip to Traverse City – so we did both at the same time! We stayed in a VRBO in Capri Apartments which was a nice central location for everything we wanted to do.

DAY 1LEELANAU PENINSULA:
We left early in the morning and arrived around lunch time. We went over to one of my favorite breweries, Hop Lot. They have great food and lots of outdoor seating. Then we drove 7 minutes north and got another outdoor drink at Tandem Ciders.

Depending on how much time you have/how tired you are after lunch…you can either continue north and go to the Grand Traverse Lighthouse. Or head west to the fishtown of Leland. Or take the Sleeping Bear Dunes/Glen Arbor route. For something closer/more low key, you can walk around Suttons Bay before heading back to Traverse City.

After settling in, we walked a few minutes to Rare Bird Brewery. They had a ton of outdoor seating, beer and a vegetarian options. We then got cocktails next door at The Parlor TC. Again, a huge outdoor patio with lots of drink options.

DAY 2: BEACH + WINE
We started our morning with a really cute/healthy breakfast at Rose and Fern Cafe. They have easy carryout and it was only a few minutes from our place. Then we headed over to Traverse City State Park (don’t forget your Rec Passport) to lounge on the beach. It wasn’t too crowded. Another close option to downtown is Bryant Park.

On our way home, we stopped at The Candle Factory of Grand Traverse. Would definitely recommend! It was so cute and they have every type of candle under the sun. One of us got a HUGE pumpkin candle that was to die for.

We then hopped on a Wine and Beer Tour trolley through Old Mission Peninsula. I would definitely recommend doing an Old Mission tour vs. a Leelanau Peninsula one – the views are hard to beat! It was a 4 hour tour and we went to four wineries. They pick you up at your place and drop you off there after. My top favorite wineries were Bonobo and Bowers.

For this quick trip, we did all of the best things you can do with your girlfriends – tan on the beach, shop and drink lots of wine!

QUICK ITINERARY:
Day 1:
-Suttons Bay
-Hop Lot
-Tandem Ciders
-North Port, Leland or Sleeping Bear
-Rare Bird
-The Parlour TC

Day 2:
-Rose and Fern
-Traverse City State Park or Bryant Park
-Wine and Beer Tour

Check out a Fall Traverse City itinerary here!

Tropical Stars + Social Distanced Fourth of July

It didn’t feel quite right to be full on red, white and blue this year. I decided to do a tropical theme and integrated some stars for tradition.

I tried to stick to turquoise/green, pink, white and silver/gold decor. I hung up star and tropical garlands. And found a cute pink flamingo.

We did individual portions for everyone (vs. doing a cheese board or something) to keep things safe. The menu was:
– Small bowl with caprese on a toothpick, smoked Gouda slices + crackers
– Large bowl with blue tortilla chips + shooter of salsa
– Plastic cup (labeled with their name) with strawberries, blueberries, red grapes, Twizzlers + a straw – people could add wine/a seltzer to the fruit or eat the fruit first and then use the cup afterwards
– Individual lemon no-bake cake balls
– We served hot dogs/brats later in the day

For alcohol, I made strawberry jello shots, got flag rosé and lots of tropical seltzers. We used star and round silver plates, tropical napkins and a turquoise plastic table cloth. We also gave everyone sparklers!

Overall, I think this was a fun and different way to decorate for the holiday!

TO BUY:
Star garland : $8
Tropical garland : $5
Tropical napkins : $3
Star plates : $7
Silver plates : $4
Blue paper bowls : $2
Paper straws : $7
Star plastic cup : $12

OVERALL DECOR BUDGET: >$50

Three Day Trip to Saugatuck & Holland, Michigan

The west coast of Michigan is the best place for beaches and beer – our two favorite things! We camped in our tent at Holland State Park and headed to all the nearby cities.

DAY 1 – FENNVILLE AREA
We drove up and headed to our reservation at Fenn Valley Vineyards. You can make a reservation online and then sit outside with your wine. You can probably split a tasting between two people if you’d like. Then we went over to Virtue Cider for a glass of their popular rosé cider. Another option in the area is Waypost Brewing. Make sure to check their hours because they are closed a few days a week.

Next we went to Evergreen Lane Farm and Creamery. It’s a super small, cute, purple house that allows tastings (not during COVID) and has a variety of home made cheeses. We got some to take back to our campsite. We then went to downtown Fennville for lunch at The Root Cafe. This place has a great variety of food, outdoor seating and is connected to an art gallery type of store. This downtown area is very small, but it does have a few cute stores.

Some other good stops in the area are Pier Cove Park (a super small area of beach with great water views) and Summerhouse Lavender Farm (you have to make a reservation during COVID times).

We then headed back to Holland to set up camp. We got dinner in downtown Holland at Big Lake Brewing. Another place you can stop for dinner/beer is Guardian Brewing on your way north. This place is newer, really nice and has a huge patio.

DAY 2: SAUGATUCK
You can’t start your day in Saugatuck without something from Uncommon Coffee Roasters. Everything in there is so cute and delicious! We then walked around downtown and along the boardwalk. Then we headed over to the famous Oval Beach to lay out and enjoy the sun. For lunch, we went to Saugatuck Brewing Company and of course had to stop at Blue Star Antiques afterwards.

Then we went to a beach with a little more adventure – Saugatuck Dunes State Park. We walked the longer trail this time. There is a 0.5 one that takes you straight to the beach or a longer one that takes you to a dune lookout. We got to the lookout and it was so peaceful! We ended up just getting pizza to go that night since it started raining.

DAY 3: HOLLAND STATE PARK
We decided to stay local on our last day. We brought our bikes and rode the short ride over to the Holland State Park beach to see the Big Red Lighthouse and get a little bit of sun. Another biking option from the park is to go the other way to Tunnel Park for more beachy views.

We then explored a little bit more of downtown Holland. There are lots of cute shops and restaurants with outdoor patios.

Then we went back to the park for another short bike ride to Mt. Pisgah. You climb a bunch of stairs for a great view of the lake and lighthouse! It’s extra beautiful at sunset. For dinner we got takeout from Ottawa Beach Inn which is right by the campground.

QUICK ITINERARY:
DAY 1: FENNVILLE
-Drinks at Fenn Valley Vineyards, Virtue Cider and/or Waypost Brewing
-Cheese from Evergreen Lane Farm and Creamery
-Lunch at The Root Cafe
-Pier Cove Park and/or Summerhouse Lavender Farm
-Dinner/more beer at Big Lake Brewing or Guardian Brewing

DAY 2: SAUGATUCK
-Breakfast/coffee at Uncommon Coffee Roasters
-Walk around downtown Saugatuck
-Oval Beach
-Lunch at Saugatuck Brewing Company and shopping at Blue Star Antiques
-Saugatuck Dunes State Park

DAY 3: HOLLAND
-Holland State Park Beach or Tunnel Park
-Downtown Holland
-Mt. Pisgah
-Dinner at Ottawa Beach Inn

Check out a friends trip itinerary to Saugatuck here.

Midsummer/Summer Solstice Dinner Party

I’ve always loved the vibes of the Swedish celebration of Midsummer to commemorate the first day of the season. I decided to try my own version this year. I did my best to research what actually happens in Sweden, hopefully I didn’t butcher the holiday too much.

Teal and pink were my two main colors accented with other bright summery colors. I set up my two 6 foot tables in a T shape. I wanted everyone to still be able to see and talk to each other. I feel like a super long table separates people. An L shape cuts some people off from the conversation. I topped the tables with my typical white paper table cloths and two table runners – one teal and one pink.

Each setting had a pink or gray dinner plate – I wanted something better than paper plates, but didn’t want to use my plain (boring) white ceramic plates. I found these plastic ones at Target and am a little bit obsessed. They feel high quality, look chic and come in many colors. And are only $0.80 each! I topped each plate with a teal cloth napkin and menu. I printed the menu on brown kraft paper and added some flower graphics.

Glasses were very important for this party! I used clear stemless wine glasses as water glasses, got some light teal goblets from Salvation Army for wine/cocktails, clear champagne glasses for champagne (duh) and clear shot glasses for snaps shots. I liked having all the glassware on the table at once because it acts almost as decor in my eyes.

Snaps shots are a traditional Midsummer shot made by soaking vodka in a variety of spices. Here is the recipe that I used. I placed a little song card in there with a portion of the Snaps Song in there for us to use as we toasted. We took the shot before we started eating dinner! I used this step by step guide to make an ice bucket to hold the bottle of vodka.

I filled in the rest of the table with faux tea light candles, string lights and lots of flowers in jars. I like to get flowers from Trader Joe’s – cheap and a nice variety. I also hung string lights around outside of the table. I really love this set of vertical curtain string lights.

Okay so now for food! We made a cheese/meat and veggie boards for “cocktail hour” (aka when people can drink/eat while we finish up dinner.) I tried to find some Swedish cheeses at a specialty store! I used paper plates and napkins that I already had laying around for this.

We then served actual dinner! We tried to choose things that were at least kind of authentic to a traditional Midsummer dinner. We read that fish is usually included so we made salmon with lemon and dill. Our other main dish was a hemp heart/sun dried tomato rigatoni pasta. Sides included Swedish potato salad (salad/small potatoes with dill and butter basically) and roasted vegetables (we did asparagus, leek and eggplant).

For dessert, we made a naked strawberry cake with dairy free buttercream frosting. To save time, we used a white cake box mix and only made the frosting by hand. Then topped with strawberries and some sprinkles. We served this with champagne!

After dinner, we had a bonfire and did a little ritual that I found online. Everyone wrote down something that they wished to sacrifice to the flames: something that you’ve completed that you want to seal with fire, something you wish to be rid of forever or something you want to give up gain something else. It was a fun way to end the night!

TABLE TOP DECOR:
White paper table cloths : $10
-Table Runners (currently unavailable at Target) : $10
Faux tea light candles (pack of 18): $10
-Flowers (Trader Joe’s): $12
String lights: $18
Ice bucket : $0

PLACE SETTINGS:
Dinner plates : $8
-Cloth napkins: Already owned
-Wine/water glasses : Already owned
-Goblets (Salvation Army) : $6
Champagne glasses (set of 12): $10
-Menu & Snaps cards: $0

MENU:
-Cheese/meat board
-Veggie tray
Snaps shots
-Grilled salmon
-Sun dried tomato pasta
-Roasted vegetables
-Swedish potato salad
-Strawberry white cake

Decor total: $85
Food total: $125
OVERALL BUDGET: ~$200

You Are a Star Bachelorette Party

I believe in having a theme for every and any type of party. For this bachelorette party, I chose stars! It’s simple, but keeps everything cohesive. Stars, silver/gold, pink + purple = success.

GUEST WEARABLES TABLE
I set up a table with everything that a bachelorette party guest needs to survive. I love doing this because it acts as a set of decorations before everyone picks up their stuff. I found star disco cups (no longer available, but similar disco ball ones are here). I cut out gold stars, wrote out each person’s name and taped them the cups.

Then each guest got a penis necklace whistle, a pair of paper star glasses and a light up diamond ring to use in the photo booth. The bride got a special necklace and a bride headband. I got paper gift bags for each guest to put their stuff in to take home.

For the backdrop of this table, I taped crepe paper down vertically in alternating colors. Then made a glitter banner that said “She said yaassss” with a glitter star banner underneath.

FOOD + DRINK TABLE
I used my go-to party table cloth in pink and covered it with a silver table runner. I put peonies (from my garden!) and gold penis confetti all over. I got star straws, cups, napkins and plates. We also got some star sparklers which are cute as table decor and can be fun to use when it gets dark out.

We got a bunch of wine, champagne and made this rosé punch. For food, we just got a bunch of finger food appetizers and asked guests to pitch in.

Of course, balloons are a main center piece! We got a bunch of silver stars and then big MRS balloons.

GAMES + PHOTO BOOTH
All the best parties have a photo booth! I set this one up using crepe paper and balloons around an arch. I printed out large faces of the groom and had a chalk board sign with the wedding hash tag. As stated above, I got star glasses and rings too!

We played gift bingo. I think this makes opening gifts a little more interesting for guests. I printed out this game and got heart stickers for each person.

We also played Drink If. I like this game because it involves everyone and you can personalize it to the bride and party. Each card says “Drink If……” with something on it. Like “you have no tattoos” or “have given birth”. Put all the cards in a bowl and each person takes a turn drawing a card and reading it aloud. You drink if you have done the the thing on the card, duh! There are lots of these games online for purchase, but I like making my own. You can do specific things that you know happened to the bride, you can make them as dirty/clean as the party allows, and you can target guests. For example, if you know a lot of teachers will be there, you can do a few cards specific to them. Here’s my template!

SHOPPING LIST:
Table Top
Straws
Cups
Napkins
Plates
Table cloth
Table runner
Confetti
Sparklers
-Plasticware

Decor
-MRS balloons
Silver star balloons
-“She said yaasss” banner
Glitter star banner

Favors
Necklaces
-Star glasses
Light up diamond ring
-Bride: special necklace + bride headband
-Disco plastic cups

Activities
Bingo printable + stickers
Drink If printable
-Crepe paper
-Balloons
-Large face cutouts
-Other photo booth props


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