New post coming soon!  I promise.  I’m sorry I’ve been so neglectful. 😦  As most of you probably know, with exactly 2 months to go from today (!), I’ve been kinda busy planning this event thing happening in May. 😉  But I’ll try to post something here very very soon.

In fact, one post I’m waiting on putting up is a result of all this wedding planning … while good things can come out of it – like finding amazing vendors (Joe, Deb, Ron F, Em, Stephanie, Carol, etc…), bad things also do too – like finding not-so-amazing vendors (ahem, Kay’s!).  So I’m waiting on this particular situation to FINALLY come to an end … but when it does, oh boy, believe me, you will get to hear all about it …

In the meantime – planning a St. Patrick’s Day party this year?  Check out my post with some very clever ideas to help you host a lucky event. 🙂

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Oh, my dearest apologies for not writing sooner! It’s been a busy few weeks.

Here are some wedding updates:

credit: whitneyandbrycewedding.wordpress.com
  • We booked the venue! On Saturday, we submitted our deposit and contract for our May 15, 2010 wedding location. It is [drumroll please] the Holiday Inn in Mansfield, MA. We’ll be having the ceremony and reception all in one place; plus, the convenience of a hotel locale will be oh-so-handy for our many out of town guests. [If you go to the web site, please note that they’ve since renovated and haven’t been able to update the photos yet.]
  • We’ve started putting together the MOST important part of the event: the music playlist! Haha. We’ve started looking at DJ’s as booking the entertainment is the next priority on the list.
  • We’ve chosen the color scheme! I guess you would call it plum wine and chartreuse (aka lilac/purple and pale green). We’re still playing around with the many shades of the colors but now we can really start to get other elements together…
  • …like the stationery and icon themes. Man, it is SO hard to come up with the overall scheme. I want modern, but now vintage is looking like a lot of fun, too. And picking an icon is so hard.

Slowly but surely we are tackling some of the other elements, bit by bit … Mom and I are going dress shopping soon, so if you have any suggested bridal shops in the Boston area (north or south shore), please let me know!

On a side note, it is very difficult to plan a cheery, warm spring wedding when it is snowing out – again! [Sigh] My only hope is that the endless snow this year will pave the way for a very nice summer.

And don’t forget – only 16 days until St. Patrick’s Day! Start getting your green in order.

Since it’s the first day of March, it’s fun to look at the month ahead to all the great things coming up. I’m excited about getting the DJ for the wedding, warmer weather, No Doubt tickets on sale this Saturday, more sunshine each day, and the many birthdays of this month that will be a blast to celebrate. What are YOU most looking forward to this month?


St. Patrick’s Day falls on March 17 every year, and it’s the most popular holiday in March.  Most partygoers head for the Irish pubs on this day; however, if you are planning on celebrating at home, I’ve come up with a variety of themes to make your party that night’s “lucky” destination.

Here’s a quick history of St. Patrick’s Day from the History Channel: The modern secular holiday is based on the original Christian saint’s feast day also thought to be the date of the saint’s death. In 1737, Irish immigrants to the United States began observing the holiday publicly in Boston and held the first St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York City in 1766. [MK note: Way to go Boston, my current city of residence, and NY, my former home!]

March-ing and Spring-ing Into Party Planning, Part II-A
St. Patrick’s Day Party Themes:

St. Patrick’s Day
Date: Monday, March 17, 2008
Best days to celebrate: Friday, March 14; Saturday, March 15; and Sunday (brunch), March 16

Traditional Theme

  • Description: Standard, by-the-rules celebration – lots of Guinness, “I Love Ireland” shirts, “Shipping Up to Boston” on repeat
  • Decorations: iParty or Party City
  • Attire: All green, all over
  • Food: Everything green (of course!)
    • Sugar cookies – use a roll of sugar cookie dough and add a few drops of green food coloring before you bake them in the oven, or cover with white frosting and green sprinkles when they’re done
    • Green M&M’s, jelly beans and Skittles – handpick from the bag or select from specialty candy stores like Dylan’s Candy Bar
    • Irish soda bread
    • Lime flavored Tostitos and lime salsa
    • Green veggies & dip – cucumbers, broccoli, and green peppers with ranch dip
  • Drinks: Guinness, Bass, and Killian’s.  To make a festive punch, in a large bowl pour 1 gallon of Hawaiian Punch Green Berry Rush, a few splashes of Absolut Raspberri, and a splash of Absolut.  Add ice.  Slice a lime and float the slices in the bowl.
  • Music: Make a mix of Irish favorites – the Pogues, Dropkick Murphys, the Corrs, U2, Elvis Costello, the Cranberries.  Rent a Michael Flatley “Lord of the Dance” DVD and have it play in the background.
  • QUICK TIP: Go to a fabric store (such as Joann Fabrics) and buy a few yards of green fabric.  Many places will have a sale bin or shelf with marked down fabrics.  Hang the fabric sheets on any large, empty wall for a quick splash of color.  If you use blue painter’s tape between the wall and the fabric, it won’t damage the paint or wallpaper when you remove it.  Fabric or craft stores may also sell long strands of green or shamrock-accented beads that you can hang in doorways.

“Get Lucky!” Theme

  • Description: Festive St. Patrick’s Day party with a hint of flirtation
  • Attire: Ask guests to wear their sexiest green threads.  Have them bring 1 lucky item to wear or carry with them (see Quick Tip below).  Purchase green Hawaiian lei’s and drape on guests as they arrive so they get “lei’d” the moment they walk in the door.
  • Decorations: iParty or Party City standard decorations work fine.  Buy giant cardboard or paper clovers or print them out from a Google image search and hang them with string (or floss, on a budget!) in doorways to pose as festive mistletoe.  Buy fake lucky rabbit’s feet and spread them around tabletops or hang them around your home.
  • Food: Same as “Traditional Theme.”  But add lots of Lucky Charms cereal!
  • Drinks: Same as “Traditional Theme.”
  • Music: Same as “Traditional Theme.”  Toss in romantic crooners like Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Marvin Gaye, Michael Buble, and ballads by U2
  • QUICK TIP: Set out ice breaker games to set the mood, like poker (a great game that sticks with the lucky theme – you can even use the Lucky Charms marshmallows for poker chips)!  Recruit one friend to be the judge to determine whose lucky charm is the most original.

Dubliner’s Brunch Theme

  • Description: Who says it has to be evening to drink?  Brunch it up in the way do it in ole Baile Átha Cliath!
  • Attire: Cable knit and isle sweaters, lots of scarves.  Have a little fun and pick up some red wigs for guests to wear.
  • Decorations: Think comfy Irish pub.  Set out large pillows for extra seating.  Set up large white pillar candles in different heights around the living room.  Add woolen blankets & pick up some Celtic crosses from a party store.
  • Food: Go traditional.  Corned beef & cabbage, bangers & mash, and shepherd’s pie.
  • Drinks: Irish coffee and Irish-blend coffee.  Set out Guinness & Killian’s if you’re feeling up for it at that hour.
  • Music: Classic Celtic tunes.  Check out a CD from your local library or download from iTunes.  Or put on a Frank McCourt (“Angela’s Ashes”) or James Joyce novel on CD.
  • QUICK TIP: Rent a classic Irish flick like “The Secret of Roan Inish,” “Waking Ned Devine,” “Circle of Friends,” or “In America.”  Get books on Irish poetry to set out and have guests write their own limericks

Up next: Spring Equinox and Easter party ideas. . .

Throwing a party in March and looking for ideas, suggestion, or themes?  In this two-part series, I thought I’d share some tips for hosting a fantastic bash.  Part One will consist of handy advice and suggestions that I’ve picked up from others or from experience.  Part Two will be specific theme parties for March, with ideas for decorations, food, and more.

I absolutely adore hosting events, especially theme parties.  Some of my past celebrations still live in infamy.  There was the 1920’s Great Gatsby-themed garden party in 2005 which is still raved about today.  Or the Halloween event of 2006 which still has people referring to other attendees by their costumes, even almost two years later.  Or the summer luau of 2007, where we hung a 6 foot inflatable monkey outside of our window which is now frozen in time on Google maps . . .

The tips below can help with any event at any time of year, with any number of guests.  It is mostly aimed for parties you would have at your home.  Let me know if you want to read tips for parties at public areas or other houses (like a shower or surprise birthday party), and I’ll be glad to create a Part Three.

March-ing and Spring-ing Into Party Planning, Part I
Golden Rules to Remember:

  • Create a theme!  A theme is a great incentive for people to attend.  Plus, if you suggest guests come dressed in easy-to-find costumes or accessories, then it will increase the interest level. 
  • The Half-Guest Rule.  For all of the guests you invite, half will attend.  This rule is harder to follow for parties under 10, but is pretty much true for parties at 15 and above.  If you want 40 people to arrive, invite 80.
  • Cleaning.  This is key, but if time is an issue, then only clean the main rooms people use – the kitchen, bathroom, and living room.  Make sure to focus on the areas most popularly used at parties, such as the kitchen counters, the kitchen and bathroom sinks, the toilet, and the fridge.  Throwing a party is a great incentive to clean out your fridge; you want to make sure you have plenty of room for guests to put the beverages & perishable snacks they bring.
  • Keep the kitchen the cleanest.  For some unknown reason, regardless of the size of your place, everyone gathers in the kitchen at parties.  Make sure this room is in tip-top shape – you don’t want to scare off guests with your pasta crumbs from last week’s dinner!
  • Prepare all elements.  Pretend you are a guest.  Or think of the best and worst parties you’ve been to.  Start from arrival to departure – what did you need as a guest?  Or what was in place for you that worked?
    • Details count to make guests comfortable.  Especially if you are blending groups that don’t know each other well.  You want them to be at ease as soon as they walk in the door.  Consider the weather, too.  Make sure there is a place for coats, boots, and purses or overnight bags.  Lay out plenty of garbage cans and a place for empty bottles.  Stock up on toilet paper and water bottles.  Set out multiple bottle and wine openers.  Ask your guests to take their coats and offer them a drink as soon as they walk in the door.
    • Be easy to find!  Give out details about finding your place, nearby parking, and significant landmarks (basically, anything they won’t get from Mapquest).
    • Set out ice breaker games.  Invest in basic, fun games like Taboo, Apples to Apples, UNO, or even regular playing cards.  It’s a great way to have guests who don’t know many people at the party interact.
  • Music is crucial.  If going with a theme, then make half of the playlist related to the theme (Irish jigs, Dropkick Murphys and the Pogues for a St. Patrick’s Day party, etc.).  It’s a good idea to make the other half of the playlist well known, mid-tempo Top 40 songs.  Your best shot?  Use songs popular the year that your guests graduated high school and/or college.  (Wikipedia offers some great lists if you need song ideas.)
  • Get yourself together.  If the party start time comes faster expected, make sure to get yourself ready first.  Then finish setting out food and cleaning.  Especially if you have a theme, you’d hate to be half dressed when guests start arriving.  If you’re ready but still slicing veggies, you can always recruit them to help.  It will make them feel more comfortable as the first arrivals, too.
  • Go cheap and creative!  Colored plastic tablecloths help with easy cleanup and add a quick splash of color.  Don’t be afraid to use them on side tables or to cover air conditioners.  Other suggestions:
    • For a luau theme, turn a kids’ inflatable pool into a cooler.  Use a hollowed out watermelon to hold candy & treats.
    • For a SuperBowl or other sports themed party, do a Google image search and print out colored images of the team logo.  Cut out the logo and plaster your walls with the images.
  • Keep an eye out.  Monitor food and drinks.  As the night wears on, refill food dishes and chip bowls, and toss out empty bottles and containers. 
  • Go for the unusual.  For maximum guest attendance, choose a less popular holiday, such as Presidents’ Day, an awards show, or a random summer weekend for a luau or fiesta.  Try to avoid major holidays and their corresponding weekends where you would run into serious competition, such as Halloween, Christmas, and New Year’s.
  • Avoid duplicates.  For every guest that asks what they should bring, tell each one a different item.  This will help avoid having 10 bags of the same flavor of Doritos (though they are always a guaranteed party hit, they can get tiresome!). 

Stay tuned for Part Two . . .