Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Navigating the Tablescape: Super Bowl for Kids

The NFL's Super Bowl XLIV [Sunday February 7 @ 6:30pm ET on CBS] is a huge day for parties in North America. It is reportedly the second-largest U.S. food consumption day, after Thanksgiving! But the fun shouldn't just be for adults, kids should get in on the football, party and food action as well!

I put together a kidcentric, healthy treat version of a Super Bowl party tablescape that you can try out for your kids and their friends on Super Bowl Sunday. Here are my tips for making it happen! [Click on the images for a larger view]

Lay down an orange table cloth [plastic of course - this IS a kids party!]. Orange is one of Super Bowl XLIV's colours. As a mock table runner, use some football-textured loose paper that you can pick up at Michael's or a specialty stationery shop. Add some football-themed toys to your tabletop, like the Finger Football goalposts I used here. Put down some coloured Hefty plates or other disposable tableware at each place.

You can get foam footballs at any craft store, or you can use brown construction paper and chalk to make the placecards. Use a black pen or Sharpie marker to write the names of each child on the football and place it on the plate.

For the snack containers, use several clear glass containers or colourful, unusually shaped servingware. Arrange the snack containers along the table and fill them with yummy snacks that kids will enjoy eating. Try boxed raisins, crunchy baby carrot sticks, Babybel cheese and Skinny Sticks garden veggie flavour, all of which I have used here. Go for a good balance of colour and texture and packaged single serve items and kids will load up their plates. Put a football sticker or construction paper cutout shape on the front of each glass container. Remove the labels from some bottles of water, flavoured water or juice and replace them with a football sticker. Suddenly drinking a bottle of water is fun and cool because it fits with the theme!

Give the kids some sort of themed takeaway, like these football whistles, and arrange it on the table as well. Other things you could try are temporary tattoos, pencils, lanyards or shoelaces. Embellish your tablescape with any other unobtrusive items that relate to your football theme. I used some colourful pom-poms.

What will you be doing for Super Bowl Sunday?


Wedding Wednesday: 2010 Trends

Some people don't like to follow wedding trends, they think it "dates" their wedding photos and/or video. Some like to describe their wedding as "timeless" and "classic", all the while citing weddings from decades past as their inspiration [does that even make sense?]. Personally, I love wedding trends. Of course, many weddings that are described as "timeless" and "classic" do end up transcending their eras, but I really like that you can look at a wedding photo and know generally when it is from. Trends help us put a name to a face so to speak, and is it really that bad to look back on your wedding photos and -gasp!- know what year they were taken? Just because you incorporate some "trendy" elements into your wedding does not mean that it will be less meaningful of a ceremony or less fun of a reception! Who cares that you see sand unity ceremonies, candy buffets and DIY faux-to booths on every wedding and event blog out there? If you want those, have them!

You can still incorporate many wedding trends into your big day without making it cookie cutter. Your wedding is your own unique day! So on that note, I present to you my take on what will be the big wedding trends of 2010!

Unique Venues: Though our economy is reportedly on the upswing, there is still some uncertainty. Couples will be looking past the traditional locations to have their wedding and selecting more unusual and unexpected venues that may have smaller rental fees. Think tree farms, summer camps, dance studios, museums, etc. Also, many venues will be pulling double duty for both the ceremony and reception. Use a tool like Event Source to check out alterna-venues.

Fondant-free Wedding Cakes: Buttercream will be the frosting of choice for couples this year with more emphasis on the taste of the cake. Intricate cake designs and cutesy cupcake displays will take a backseat to simple flowers or cake toppers.

Low Centrepieces: Solo flowers in bud vases and a stack of the couple's favourite books or a funky, textured green plant in a small planter with a dish of wrapped candies or flower petals surrounding candles on a vintage pedestal are examples of the kind of cross-table-conversation friendly centrepieces you can expect to find at weddings this year. Traditional large floral arrangements will be used on the cake table or gift table instead.

Unity Wine Ceremony: consider using a wine of your choice and a wine of your partner's choosing [make sure they work together; a winery, sommelier or U-Vint can help you] and combine them during your ceremony and each take a sip. At your reception, you can serve your pre-made custom blend to your guests. It's a twist on signature drinks and similar to a sand or candle unity element in your wedding ceremony.

What do you think will emerge as prominent wedding trends this year?

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