Party Like a Pro: How to Plan an Epic Labor Day Party
Every first Monday of September, Americans across the country celebrate a much-earned day of rest and relaxation. Labor Day is a time that friends and family gather to enjoy a long weekend together. No one you know planning a party? Congratulations! This is the perfect opportunity to start a new tradition and plan your very own Labor Day Extravaganza. Planning a cookout can seem like a daunting task, but don't worry. Stick with us, and we will teach you all we know.
Set the Stage
The first step in party planning is to set the stage. Since Labor Day is considered the unofficial end of summer, think of this soiree as a "Farewell to Summer". A beautiful backyard setting allows your guests to soak up the last bit of the summer sun, and adds deliciously rich sounds, smells, and sights to your get-together. If you are not sure how to start preparing your backyard for a party, consider these three essentials: tables, seating, and shade.
Ditch the card table setup and tacky plastic table cloths. Invest in a sturdy table you can use even after your guests have all gone home. The Family Expansion Teak Table by Royal Teak Collection features a self-storing butterfly leaf that adds an extra 18 inches to your tabletop. Extendable tables are perfect for those who love to entertain, giving you the option of adding extra space when needed.
To go with your beautiful new table, consider some arm chairs like the Compass Arm Chairs by Royal Teak Collection. No one likes to be squished together like sardines, give your guests the elbow room they deserve. Plus, arm chairs tend to be more comfortable and roomier than traditional armless dining chairs. Traditionally, arm chairs are placed only at the head of the table, but fixed design rules are made to be broken.
There are few things more uncomfortable than having to stand or sit in the hot sun without shade. A big beautiful umbrella can bring some respite from the blistering sun, and are perfect for smaller gatherings. With the Sonoma Wood Pergola by Outdoor GreatRoom Co., your backyard will never lack shade again. With plenty of shade for everyone, this gorgeous structure will become a natural focal point, as well as a picture-perfect spot to add a string of market lights for ambient lighting.
Set the Mood
Moscow Mule Punch presents a unique twist on party punch. Source: Delish
Big-batch cocktails can help you spend less time playing bartender, and more time enjoying your own party. Moscow Mule Punch is a crowd-pleasing twist on classic punch bowl cocktails. Bonus points for copper mugs and extra lime wheels for garnish.
Moscow Mule Punch
- 4 cups Ice
- 4 cups Ginger Beer
- 3 cups Vodka
- 1 cup Fresh Lime Juice
- 1 cup Mint Leaves
- Lime Wheels for Garnish
Add all ingredients together in a large punch bowl. Enjoy!
Set the Vibe
Party games aren't just for those turning 5. Adult party games are a great icebreaker featuring lots of laughs.
Embrace the spirit of friendly competition by organizing a couple of group games for your outdoor party. But wait, before you dust off the old pin-the-tail on the donkey, read on for some easy, adult-friendly games that are sure to get a ton of laughs.
For this long-form game from Apartment Therapy, each party-goer gets a sheet of stickers upon arrival (dollar stores are a perfect place to find cheap stickers). The goal of the game is to get rid of all the stickers on your sheet- by putting them on other guests. To successfully get rid of a sticker, you must place the sticker on another party-goer without them knowing. But be careful! If you get caught, they get to put a sticker on you! At the agreed upon ending time (usually after a couple of hours), give out some small prizes for the winners! (The first person to get rid of all their stickers gets the grand prize, the person with the least stickers on them gets second place, the person with the most stickers on them gets a prize, etc.) This game is a ton of fun and a good reason for your guests to mingle.
Starfire Direct Ecommerce team had a great time playing Telephone Pictionary. Check out our results!
- To play this hilarious game from Ultimate Camp Resource, each player should be given a piece of paper and a pen.
- Give everyone one minute to write a phrase at the very top of the paper (portrait orientation).
- Once their time is up, each player passes their paper to the right.
- Players now have two minutes to draw a picture of their interpretation of the phrase on their new paper (make sure to draw the picture right under the phrase).
- After the two minutes is up, they must fold the paper so the only thing showing is their picture and pass the paper again to the right.
- Once passed, the players must look only at the picture showing, and have one minute to write a phrase describing the picture.
- They will once again fold the paper so the only thing showing is their phrase.
- Have them pass the paper one more time, and they now have two minutes to draw their interpretation of the phrase showing on the new paper.
- Unfold the paper and let the hilarity ensue!
Set the Table
Give your guests a spread they will talk about for years to come, but don't slave over a hot stove for the entirety of your party. With these simple recipes in your pocket, and a little pre-party prep, you'll be able to present a Martha Stewart-esque feast without breaking a sweat.
Rainbow Veggie Skewers
Eat the rainbow with these colorful skewers. Source: Gimme Some Oven
- 1/4 cup Olive Oil
- 2 tbsp White Balsamic Vinegar
- 2 cloves Garlic (minced)
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/4 tsp Pepper
- 16 Cherry Tomatoes
- 1 Red Bell Pepper (cored and cut into 1-inch squares)
- 1 Orange Bell Pepper (cored and cut into 1-inch squares)
- 1 Yellow Squash (halved and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices)
- 1 Yellow Bell Pepper (cored and cut into 1-inch squares)
- 1 Zucchini (halved and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices)
- 1 Green Bell Pepper (cored and cut into 1-inch squares)
- 1 Large Red Onion (peeled, quartered, and cut into bite-size pieces)
- 8 Purple Potatoes (halved)
- Make the vinaigrette by whisking together all ingredients until well blended.
- Bring a pot of water to boil. Add the purple potatoes and boil for 10 minutes or until fork tender, stirring occasionally. Drain.
- Add potatoes and other veggies to a large bowl, and toss with vinaigrette until combined.
- Cover and refrigerate for 10 minutes (or up to 8 hours when needed).
- When you are ready to cook, heat your grill to medium heat. Thread your veggies onto skewers in rainbow order.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then place your skewers on your oiled grill and cook for 5-7 minutes per side.
- Remove and enjoy!
Pro Tip: Avoid having to soak wooden skewers overnight. Use the stainless steel Grill Skewer Set by DCS, and you'll always be ready to throw some kebabs on the grill.
Beer Can Chicken
Beer Can Chicken is as fun to make as it is to eat. Source: Three Many Cooks
- 2 Whole Chickens
- 2 tbsp Salt
- 4 tsp each: Pepper, Italian Seasonings, Paprika, and Lemon Zest
- 2 tsp Garlic Powder
- 2 cans Dark Beer (Stout or Ale)
- Mix seasonings together and pat mixture all over both chickens- including the cavities.
- When ready to cook, preheat your grill for 10 minutes on high.
- Open beers and pour out 1/3 of each can. (Don't let it go to waste!) Place each chicken over a beer can.
- Cook chickens over indirect heat with the lid closed. Maintain an internal temperature of around 400° F (204° C) until the chickens are brown and cooked through. (usually about an hour, depending on chicken size and grill type)
- When chickens are cooked throughout, remove from grill and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Remove from beer cans and enjoy!
Pro Tip: Use a beer can chicken holder like the one that comes in the Meat Lovers Starter Kit by Napoleon to avoid potentially disastrous toppling chickens.
Create a Watermelon Pizza Bar for a light and healthy dessert! Source: Good Housekeeping
- 1/2 cup Ricotta
- 1/4 cup Softened Cream Cheese
- 1 tbsp Honey
- 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
- Watermelon Slice (1" thick)
- Fresh Berries
- Fresh Mint
- Toasted Coconut
- Slice a large watermelon into 1-inch thick rounds. Place on serving tray.
- Mix together ricotta, cream cheese, honey, and vanilla. Place in a bowl with a spatula for spreading. (Double or triple this mixture for larger parties)
- Add berries, mint, and toasted coconut (or come up with your own toppings!) in bowls for your guests to choose from.
Pro Tip: Serve your watermelon slices on the Himalayan Salt Block by Napoleon to impart a nice salty contrast to the sweetness of your fruit.
When it comes to backyard bashes, don't be afraid to think outside the box. Remember to work smarter, not harder. Take advantage of the many tools available to you that make entertaining easier and more fun. Here at Starfire Direct, we love to entertain, and we love to share our tips and tricks. From seating to eating, our trained hosts with the mosts can help you out of your party rut. Give us a call at (866) 578-8538, fill out this simple form, or chat us live on the site. We would love to talk party with you. Enjoy your Labor Day!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Katrina contributed to Starfire Direct's blog from 2018 to 2019. She is an entertainer by nature, and a lover of all things theatre, film, and music.