Party Planning Ideas for Event Coordinators

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Recently, I attended a luncheon for event coordinators at the Century City Hyatt Hotel in Los Angeles.  This event gave me some great party planning ideas and a recipe for a twist on strawberry cheesecake that I would like to share with you. The event décor,  set-up and catering ideas from this event would also work for wedding parties or any other special event you may throw.

We were lucky enough that it was a typical sunny California day and that X-Bar, the hotel bar, has a great outdoor patio.  The event décor was simple yet effective one of the party planning ideas I discuss in Budget Bash – Simply Fabulous Events on a Budget. The event coordinators from the hotel used the existing lounge furniture and created multiple seating pods for the luncheon.  This is a great event décor idea for saving money because by using your existing backyard or home furniture for wedding parties or other special events, you provide comfortable seating and dining areas for your guests to mingle and eat in.

Another cool event décor element was that the hotel used metal lighting trusses, flipped them on their sides, stacked them and then placed plexi-glass on top to create buffet displays.  The triangular-shaped buffet was placed in the center making the food easily accessible to the event coordinators from where ever they were sitting.  Other creative and fun party planning ideas at the event included interactive panini stations whereby the chefs served filet of beef, scallop, duck confit and mozzarella, tomato and basil paninis.  These food stations are a great catering example of serving sandwiches but with updated flair, style and taste.  Believe me, I went up to the panini stations at least three times in the course of an hour.   These panini stations are also great for luncheon buffets at wedding parties since you can control your costs by selecting the type of panini you serve.  In addition, by catering small sandwich portions on little plates, the guests will have a variety of selections and more often than not become full quickly.

The desserts were another example of creative party planning ideas.   They were mini-desserts that you could easily pick up and eat without a fork.  One of the concepts I discuss in Budget Bash is that sometimes you can get away with using just cocktail napkins with your catering if you are looking to save money on rentals at wedding parties or other special events.  A sampling of the desserts served were peanut butter cheesecake squares, black forest cake squares on sticks (they were essentially lollipops) and a creative twist on strawberry cheesecake.  The strawberries looked like chocolate covered strawberries, but when you bit into one, there was cheesecake filling in the center.  Needless to say, I had to eat three strawberries to ensure that I could recommend them to other event coordinators.  What’s great about this recipe is that it is easy to make yet very impressive and delicious.  The catering department at the Hyatt was kind enough to share this recipe with me and here it is. 

Chocolate Covered Strawberry “Cheesecake” 

Halve 12 Driscoll strawberries

Scoop out center and fill with your favorite cheesecake filling.  If you don’t have a cheesecake filling, you can mix equal parts of cream cheese and powdered sugar together to create one.

Place strawberry halves back together, and dip in melted chocolate to create a holding seal.

Gently rub or sprinkle Graham Cracker crumbs while chocolate is wet and then cool before serving.

I hope that you can take some of these party planning ideas and incorporate them into your event décor and catering for wedding parties or other special events you might plan.  As event coordinators, we are always on the hunt for the next best thing, and I plan to post more of these event ideas for you to use and incorporate at your own parties.  Until next time, remember to be a guest at your own event and to make it simple, fun and delicious!

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