Whether planning a small get together or creating an elaborate theme party like a sweet heart social, there are many factors to take into consideration when entertaining at your home. Co-owners of Lemon Grass Creative Concepts Beatriz Gamboa-Marty and Vanessa Marty, MBA share their creative expertise in party planning.
“A few questions will help you set the date, size and nature of the event,” explains Vanessa Marty. “What type of party/event would you like to have? Is there any special celebration, such a birthday, a special dinner, an anniversary or just a gathering with your friends? Is there going to be a theme? Who do you want to invite? What is your budget?”
Keep in mind the group of people you would like to have in your party to determine the size, entertainment, and even the food options. Marty adds a few more points to consider, “Do you want to invite only family and friends or do you want to invite coworkers or clients? Remember, since the location is at your house you are the one who knows best the size that fits your space. Try to be firm to it.”
Think about your guests in terms of entertainment. Background music played from an iPod, hiring a D.J., or a band can affect budget and atmosphere. “If it is a family friendly affair but you don’t have kids, keep in mind those who have children and offer them some kind of entertainment (e.g. like renting an age appropriate movie or have some board games available).” Vanessa Marty. “If there is a special celebration like a birthday party you may be willing to go toward an informal gathering with a fun theme, hors d’ oeuvres and drinks rather than a 5-course meal formal dinner. In terms of a theme, you just need to be creative. Any event can have a theme. Some are more elaborate requiring a lot of decoration and details, while others are not that difficult as you can choose only specific colors.”
Whenever possible, consumers should try to use local and fair-trade products when planning a social or in their day to day households. “Fair trade products go straight from the producer to the buyers and they receive a fair price. In today’s economy small producers are sometimes left out and fair trade helps them to get financial and technical assistant. Also, they have working conditions that are healthy and safe and they use ecologically sustainable methods.” Beatriz Gamboa-Marty clarifies how Lemon Grass Concepts supports fair trade. “For example some fair trade products we use are coffee, raw sugar and chocolate. On the other hand, whenever possible we use local products supporting the “Austin Buy Local” motto. Buying local products are a win-win situation for both local food suppliers and for customers. We always try to incorporate seasonal and local products when planning our menus. We make an effort to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables when they are in season in our area.”
When using a catering service, make sure the company is up-to-date on their Food Handling and Food Manager certifications within the State and County. For more information on Lemon Grass Creative Concepts services visit: http://www.lemongrassconcepts.com/
By Monica Pena
Austin Times Staff