When I started this series, I knew one of the people I wanted to feature was my friend Nida. I met Nida because she is the wife of one of the people who worked in Louisiana with me. (He was actually the one that inspired this post about how many different shades of blue there are.) She has been the host of two of the most fabulous parties I have attended in the past few years, both of which were first birthday parties for her children. You may remember this party for her daughter and this party for her son. For each of these parties I flew down to Atlanta and had the opportunity to help prepare. I’m always amazed by the amount of detailed planning she does ahead of time, and how strong her vision is for the party. The final outcome is incredible.
If you want to read more from Nida, you can check out her blog at Mommy 411. You’ll find posts about motherhood, family life, and party tips.
Below, Nida shares a lot of great tips for how to setup for the party, simple foods to make for the occasion, and of course, her best party hosting tip if you want to give party planning a try!
Tell us about your party-hosting style.
Hosting a party is not easy, or I should say hosting a GOOD party is not easy. I pay a lot of attention to details, and my perfectionist personality has to bring out my style. A few things I always do at my parties are:
- I always use big serving platters to serve food in. I hate platters which are too small, so when you take out food it spills everywhere. Also, when the food has room to breathe, it looks good and appealing to your senses.
- Next, I like to plan according to a theme. That’s the best way to host a party, it gives you direction and ideas for decor. Deciding a theme is very important to me, it gives me room for creativity. For example: My son’s birthday was a “Royal Birthday Party”. With the royal theme, I incorporated crowns, gowns, bling, royal blue color, and sparkles!
- Another hosting style I do, is to have different stations everywhere. If it’s at home I have a station for drinks, another for appetizers, and others for desserts and main entrees. If it’s outside, I try to do the same, so guests don’t feel cramped and have motive to walk around and mingle!
Where did your love of party planning begin?
When I was young, I always helped my mom in the kitchen. I enjoyed cooking and more than that enjoyed organizing and decorating. So, it was easy. Mom did the cooking, I did the planning. =)
What are your go-to appetizers?
Appetizers are something which I think should be quick so we can concentrate on other items. I like doing egg rolls, fancy salad, bread & cheese, soup, or grilled chicken bites. I love a good savory popcorn, or roasted nuts – even some cinnamon almonds are a nice warm up. For a sit-down appetizer, I almost always do a soup and bread with salty or infused butter. And of course – cheese, cheese, cheese!
What are your go-to entrees?
The way I plan my menu is: 1 appetizer, 1 salad, 3-4 main entrees, and a rice/pasta item. Desserts can be endless but minimum 2. =) Some of my go-to entrees are Lasagna, Bean Salad, Spaghetti & Meatballs, Kababs, and Garlic Bread.
What are your go-to desserts?
Yummm…this is my favorite part in hosting. I do not have a go-to dessert, it all depends on what I feel like eating and hoping guests will like it too. Some of my options are: Brownie Sundae, Flan, Cake or Cupcakes, Fondue Stand, Cheesecake, or Truffles (and yes, I make them homemade).
What are your go-to beverages?
Beverages depend on the season for me. If it’s summertime, I like to use peach, mint, mango, raspberries with club soda. If its wintertime, I like to use grapes, strawberries, and kiwi.
What do you usually bring to a potluck?
My famous Lasagna. I usually get it assigned before I can pick what I want to make. I also like to do some fancy salads. My favorites are: mango salsa salad, macaroni salad, russian salad, or a simple arugula salad with berries, some cheese, walnuts and bell peppers.
Do you decorate for the festivities?
Absolutely! I think décor pulls everything together. It is as important as having a good menu! I love using fresh flowers and food tags for all my parties.
Tell us about the best party you’ve ever hosted.
My daughters 1st birthday; where the theme was based on her “tutu dress”. It was a pink and brown tutu with polka dots. From backgrounds, to table covers, to party favors, to the photo booth, everything matched and looked amazing. Another best was my son’s 1st birthday. It was a “royal prince” themed party. I had royal blue and gold as the main colors, which were used from everything from table cloths, to stage backdrop, to photo booth, to the royal horse he came on for his entrance. It was a fantastic party too. =)
What’s your biggest hostess challenge?
Juggling my kids while I get so involved in hosting. I do not want to neglect my kids and want to give them the attention. However, I cannot depend on anybody else to help me (in the planning stages), because I have to do it the right way, which is in my head. I do work ahead of time; however time still seems to be running out the day of the party.
What’s your best tip for someone who wants to be a great party hostess?
PLAN PLAN PLAN. From ribbons to centerpieces everything requires details. And in my opinion, details is what makes a party fabulous. Go the extra mile and do the effort; results will show on there own. Hosting a great party requires a lot of hard work, so make sure you work days/weeks ahead of time.
Admittedly, I had no idea that Nida had a famous lasagna until reading this interview. Usually when I visit we eat some flipping delicious biryani, mutton, and other traditional Pakistani dishes, but next time I visit I’m putting a good word in for the lasagna. (Just to switch it up a little bit. Also, it’s famous.)
Thanks again so much to Nida for sharing your tips & tricks!
To check out other hosts and hostesses of the month visit the links below:
|Chrystina Noel||Chrystina’s Mom||Sweet Love & Ginger|
|Recipe for Success||
Brigette I Design
Parties for Pennies