Three Easy Steps to Host Your Next Spring Dinner Party
It’s springtime in Texas. Bluebonnets are in full bloom, barbecue grills beckon from back porches and weekend brunches might now include frozen drinks to keep the afternoon heat at bay. It’s a time when we might open our homes for entertaining and welcoming in the new season.
“The earth is blooming, and it’s a really nice fresh start to the year,” says Cypress-based lifestyle expert Alley Leto. “It’s great to bring people together to celebrate that.”
For Alley, the key to hosting a festive spring dinner is this: keep it simple and enlist help. She breaks down her process into three easy steps: create a vision, get a guest list and then decide the details.
Step one: Set your vision. Will your party be indoors or outdoors? Formal or informal? What time of day? If you’re planning a spring theme, think of ideas or concepts that naturally come to mind and try to incorporate them into your decor or food.
“When I think of spring, I think of fun, happy, bright, airy,” she says. “It’s a celebration of new beginnings and a new season in our lives.”
For this month’s styled shoot, Alley worked with the Royal Standard, a home decor shop at the Boardwalk in Towne Lake, to make her spring dinner party ideas come alive. Her picks include whimsical dinnerware with petal-shaped edges, wicker plate chargers and pink Japanese magnolia blossoms.
When it comes to food, keep meals easy and light. Grilled chicken and veggies or salmon alongside seasonal greens such as broccoli, carrots or asparagus are Alley’s suggestions. She also suggests twisting up traditional table wine by serving it frozen. Use a freezable cocktail maker to make something known as frosé, a frozen rosé wine slushie, to get guests mingling.
“I love having pieces at the table that can help break the ice,” she says.
Step two: Get the guest list going. How many will you have? Do you want a sprawling party or something more intimate? Decide on a crowd size that’s comfortable for you.
“If you’re not a party-thrower, keep your party small so it’s not overwhelming.”
Also, consider whether or not you’ll want children present, and communicate your wishes early with guests. Children can easily change the mood of a party, and guests may need advanced notice to plan for babysitters if kids won’t be joining parents for dinner.
Step three: Decide the details. Figure out what items you’ll create yourself and what you might outsource. Alley suggests getting help from places like the Royal Standard for styling your party decor or get food catered from eateries like Flying Vine Lakeside Grill at the Boardwalk in Towne Lake.
“You can still have a fancy little party at your house, and no one needs to know it was catered,” Alley says.
The restaurant supplied grilled chicken breasts with peppers alongside sauteed broccoli and a mixed greens salad while Iced Cupcakery provided tasty desserts. Now, onto making your own springtime fete a seasonal success!
1 bottle ros´
2 cups strawberries, fresh or frozen
2 tablespoons sugar
1-2 tablespoons orange liqueur
1. Pour wine into a freezable cocktail maker
2. Puree strawberries. place 1 cup of the puree into the freezable cocktail maker and mix.
3. Add sugar and orange liqueur.
4. Cover the freezable cocktail maker with lid and place in freezer overnight.
5. Remove from freezer and wrap carafe with the neoprene sleeve.
6. Squeeze the cocktail carafe with your hands until desired consistency is reached. Use a spoon for additional mixing.
7. Pour cocktails into glasses using spoon and enjoy!
Recipe courtesy of Alley Leto, LifeOfAlley.com.