Top 5 Tips for an Awesome Pride Party

pride-party-by-karen-kennedy

Spring is upon us and glorious summer is just around the corner. Perhaps your thoughts are turning to spring cleaning—finally washing those windows, detailing the car… maybe organizing that junk drawer?

If those are the kinds of thoughts you’re thinking, please stop reading now. I cannot help you.

But if spring means for you, as it does for me, pulling out your cutest summer frock and throwing a party, pull up a chair. (In fact, just bring your chair over to our house because we’re mixing up fruity cocktails right now.) Spring also means PRIDE is upon us! Don’t wait for an invitation—start making a guest list and impress your friends after the parade with an easy-breezy cocktail and hors d’oeuvres affair. Here are my top five party-throwing tips for you.

  1. Invite a Diverse Group: Don’t be afraid to invite from across your spectrum of both you and your partner’s friends. But be thoughtful. Take a moment in advance to think about the things your guests might have in common and help them out. Who just got back from Europe, and who’s thinking of planning a trip? Where did everyone go to college?  Introduce them and tell them right up front what they have in common—they can take it from there.
  2. Create a Signature Cocktail: Put it where everyone can help themselves. Make it something easy to mix up when it starts to run low, and make sure you’ve got plenty of ice! Put the bar in the area farthest from the entrance to keep traffic flow moving.
  3. Create a Lovely Tablespace for Your Food Buffet: It only takes a few extra minutes to make it look like it was done by a pro. Choose a festive tablecloth (or shower curtain, or piece of fabric) and layer it over several risers of different heights. You can use milk crates, shoe boxes or inverted pots and baking dishes. Put together a nice vase of flowers and set it on the highest point of the table. Arrange all of your platters so that they face the starting point, where the plates and napkins are, and don’t forget serving utensils for each dish.
  4. Bite-Size is the Right Size: When your guests are walking around trying to juggle a plate and the all-important cocktail, they’re not going to be able to negotiate a fork and knife too. Create delicious, one-bite treats that they can pop in their mouths and chew quickly if their crush finally comes over to chat.
  5. Have a Diverse Menu: The odds are pretty good that there’s going to be at least one vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free guest. Kill all of those birds with one stone by serving at least one item that covers all of those bases—Sriracha hummus, white bean dip or guacamole with fresh veggies does it all. And don’t try to grill. You’ll end up a hot mess and miss most of the fun. Grill a pork tenderloin the day before and then slice it the day of the party and make sliders on mini croissants or Hawaiian buns with some goat cheese, arugula and mango chutney. Round out your menu with delicious little phyllo tartlets, chips or mini twice baked potatoes and iceberg wedge salad skewers. If you want to serve dessert, pick up some plastic shot glasses and mini spoons and make “shooters” with bits of brownie, caramel sauce, nuts and whipped cream. Set everything out at least 20 minutes before your guests are due.

If you are relaxed and having fun, your guests will too. Pride only comes around once a year, so make the most of it and have a blast!

Peachy Pride Cocktail: 

In a two gallon beverage dispenser, mix ½ bottle of citrus vodka with a full bottle of Trader Joe’s Dixie Peach nectar. Add two cups of Prosecco. Garnish with rainbow fruit skewers. (Raspberry, cantaloupe, mango, kiwi, blueberry and a sprig of fresh mint.) Serve over ice.

Easy Phyllo Tartlets: 

Pick up a few boxes of mini phyllo tart shells (available in the freezer section of most grocery stores.) Fill with any combination of your favorite ingredients. We love gorgonzola, spiced pecans and a dab of fig jam, or Brie with apricot preserves and a sliver of fresh jalapeno. Finish with a drizzle of reduced balsamic vinegar and a snip of fresh herbs.

Photo by Karen Kennedy