Have you ever been at a wine tasting and wished there was more than the usual cheese and small bite canapes to snack on? Usually, if there is meal quality food served, it’s no longer a wine tasting, but a catered dinner. I don’t know about you, but I want to relax when I’m having wine. Well, if you want something done right…
There’s really no need to call the caterer. Your friends will cater it! You just change the title of your event to include “pot-luck.” Pot-luck get togethers do not have to be casual either. You can elevate this party without too much effort and without losing the relaxed atmosphere.
1. Choose the Wine
The wines you are presenting will ultimately dictate the tone of your party. For instance, if you have several French wines to sample, consider giving your party a French theme. If you have a hodgepodge of eclectic wines to choose from, maybe throw an around-the-world or locally-grown party. Remember that the wine will be the guest of honor, so you do want to be sure that you trust your sources and don’t end on a sour note by serving vinegar to your guests (I’ve done that).
However, if you are asking your guests to provide the wine, ask them to bring one dish to go with their choice of wine. Also, make sure that you have a variety of different wines coming if you are not asking them to keep to a theme.
2. Set the Tone
The atmosphere of your party is entirely up to you. The wine will cooperate. If you want to go all the way, old fashioned, pot-luck casual, you can indicate that on your invite (or evite) and set that with your decorations and table settings.
3. Get Creative
Please don’t just go buy all your decorations and table settings! Where’s the fun in that? The whole idea of pot luck is the original, individual investment of each attendee in the overall party. Besides, DIY decor is very chic these days.
You can add seasonal touches by collecting leaves, pine cones, sticks, flowers, rocks, or fruits and berries at your local park. Wash them and arrange them in a clear vase as a center piece, or cover them in paint or glitter and scatter them around everywhere.
Large assorted scarves make wonderfully eclectic table runners, and you can repurpose literally hundreds of things to make napkin rings:
- Cut empty toilet paper rolls into large rings and glue beads, twine, flower petals, or tinsel around the outside of them.
- Wrap old Christmas light strings into napkin ring sized spirals, hold them together with twist ties, and snip them with wire cutters. Tinsel can also be used.
- Use curtain rings or even shower-curtain rings.
- Children’s bracelets can be perfect napkin rings, as well as adult bracelets that are size-adjustable.
- Other materials, such as wide ribbon and construction paper can be cut and taped or glued into napkin rings.
I love to make my own garlands and banners to string over the tops of tables. Simply use yarn, string, or twine; and add just about anything that holds together well and cuts easily with a hand-held hole punch: fresh leaves, paper decorations, greeting cards, paint swatches, fabric, ribbons, and thinly sliced veggie pieces work. Pine cones can be strung onto twine by just wrapping the twine around them a few times, and even colorful pieces of candy can be glued to twine or yarn.
For a South American theme, you could make a garland of chili peppers, napkin rings from colorful beads or corn glued to paper or cardboard, and a centerpiece could be feathers, sticks, and beans in a vase or jar with colored tiles as a base.
For a French theme, garlands of flowers, napkin rings of gold ribbon, and a centerpiece of a ceramic teapot filled with flowers.
Seasonal themes are the best because you can just use whatever fruits, flowers, leaves, sticks, nuts, or candy you would already have around.
Whatever you use, you can’t go wrong if you take some time to get inspired and keep the DIY simple. Also, about those friends you’re inviting:
Ask some of those party guests to come over the weekend or day before the pot-luck to make decorations, help arrange table settings, and get an early sample of one of those bottles of wine. If you can find an excuse to throw a party to prepare for a party, you’re my kinda people!