• Theme parties give new meaning to the festive season

    By Karen Short of By Word of Mouth

    Theme parties – where everything from the food and drinks to the decor are co-ordinated – are more popular than ever, but there’s a distinctly different way of doing things these days.

    This fresh approach means no more sit-down dinners or sending out the waiters with trays of canapés. Instead, the fun thing to do is to create ‘stations’ where guests help themselves to different elements like food, drinks and even dress-up accessories.

    Theme parties candy station

    By setting up permanent stations, where dishes or drinks are served all evening, it also means guests can eat and drink when and what they want.

    There are many fun concepts for self-service stations – like tubs of craft beer or wheelbarrows with assorted handmade cool drinks to pick and choose from – which mean a significant saving in terms of staffing.

    When planning a party where the food and drinks are now regarded as part of the entertainment, all these elements need to enjoy as much attention and planning as the music, decor and even the dress-up theme.

    It’s definitely worth it though, since this style of entertaining is a lot more interactive than a dinner party, it’s a lot less effort than creating canapés and it’s certainly a lot cheaper than serving a roast with all the trimmings.

    Here are some ideas to consider:

    A German sausage and pretzel party. Ensure you have a variety of tasty sausages, plenty of mustard and a craft beer station that never runs dry and your party will be a huge success.

    Theme parties

    For a paella party, prepare the flavoured rice base and invite your guests to choose if they would like to add prawns, chicken, chorizo or fish. That way you’re laying on a participation angle and fussy guests are assured of a choice. Drinks can include beer or what about a Spanish wine bar?

    A pot pie party, where guests help themselves to a selection of pies, like duck and cherry, lamb and mint yoghurt, smoked haddock and leek.

    A popcorn station, where guests help themselves to a cone filled with gourmet popcorn flavours. Think truffle, chilli, lime and sesame, and even salted caramel popcorn. The current trend of serving your guests unusual cool drinks like ginger beer and home-made lemonade would go perfectly with this.

    A New York steak bar offers strips of marinated sirloin and chicken breast served with delicious green peppercorn or blue cheese sauce and plump rolls. Pair this with a chic city cocktail bar.

    A mash and stew station:  Go for delicious stews like hot and spicy chicken and butternut casserole, lamb stew with dried apricots and almonds, or delicious beef and mushroom stew with fresh thyme. Simply serve on top of garlic mash potatoes or creamy butterbean mash for a great impression.

    Tacos and Tequila, blinis and vodka, champagne and smoked salmon – these classic flavour combinations also make for great party stations and a fun time with friends.

    Theme parties champage

    Finally, if you’re on a tight budget, remember that a breakfast event is by far the most economical party idea you could choose – because you can get away with absolutely no alcohol at all. The menu could include fun breakfast treats like oat brûlèe as well as mini crumpets and syrup, in addition to the classics like scrambled egg baskets or crispy bacon rolls.