how to: throw a last minute party

header lunchIt’s no secret that the Party Girl team is obsessed with celebrating even the smallest of moments. That’s why our meetings have typically been pretty intense, featuring new recipes we’re test running or diy projects we’ve worked on. But with us all busy with our day jobs, keeping up with our amazing social media community, plotting out new blog ideas, and working on the official launch of the first Party Box and it’s prototype photo shoot (!!!), our last meeting snuck up on me.I remembered the night before at like 8pm (while I was stuck downtown at the office until 9 I might add) and hysterically texted Justin a last minute grocery list (and then bribed him to do said shopping, and since I had to suffer through his movie pick that Friday night as a result you better have liked it girls!).

But what exactly can you do when you have no time to prep the night before and you work until 5 on the day of your 5:30 PG meeting? 

The answer? A LOT! Thanks to some easy project ideas we had on our list of posts to do I already had some ideas, and some go to favourites for last minute party snack pleasers. It turned out to be super cute, super delicious, and super easy! It got me thinking about how this set up could work for any last minute get together.

Your girlfriends are coming over on a lazy Sunday? Read this. Your grandmother is surprising you by dropping by for tea in three hours? Yay! We’ve got you covered. Read on for how you can pull off the perfect afternoon snack for any last minute party!

The Goods:

step 1

1. Beverages

Obviously you can change this up depending on what kind of situation you’re in. Our last meeting involved some sangria, and it was amazing, but it also wasn’t super productive. There’s something about summer wine that makes it harder to talk about business permits and more fun to talk about our love lives. Weird. 

Anyways, this time I figured we needed something a little more meeting appropriate, so I stuck with juice. I bought this amazing juice container at Superstore for like $18 or something ridiculous. It’s two stackable dispensers that each hold 1 gallon of juice (or sangria, or whatever), and the third container at the bottom holds ice. It’s amazing. I love it. You may remember it from my birthday where we set it up with red and white sangria and made a sangria bar. I am just now considering how much wine is featured on this blog. 

This time I made ice tea and lemonade, which was perfect for a killer hot summer afternoon, and paired perfectly with the light snacks. 

2. Finger Cookies

Okay, so I am the product of a grandmother obsessed with the perfect snacks for entertaining, so sometimes my Miss Manners-esque education slips into my party planning. Finger cookies is absolutely my favourite lesson I learned from my grandmother. I have no idea why I love them so much, but they fit perfectly on tea cup saucers (that’s probably not the reason but it’s a fun perk; ever balance a cupcake on one of those? no, you haven’t) and they always look so pretty and girly. 

For this meeting, I made a couple different options and placed them on a lace doily (of course I did) on a cake plate. They looked adorable. I had some left over royal icing from who even knows what sugar cookie post at this point, and I dipped the ends of strawberry wafers, fortune cookies (the reason I have those is another post for the future) and Scottish shortbread fingers in them and then rolled them around in sprinkles. I actually couldn’t stop staring at them they looked so cute. The shortbread was the best. 

3. Desserts

I feel like this one speaks for itself. I love mini cupcakes. I actually do. You can eat so many of them and not feel bad, and they’re so fun and sweet. These ones were just little tiny vanilla cupcakes with buttercream icing. I made them yellow and blue because it was the most summery dyes I had in the cupboard AND because I had just made that footed vase with the sunflowers and it just was too perfect to pass up. 

4. Salt

This one is not pictured but its another party staple for me because a) I’m obsessed with nachos and b) the layered nacho dip is a specialty in our household that we’ve perfected to the point it needs to be showcased whenever possible. 

Everybody makes this differently, but I mix 1 package of cream cheese with about 3 generous tablespoons (the kitchen spoon variety) of sour cream and blend in the mixer until smooth. Then I spread it in a glass dish, pour salsa over it, add grated cheese and sliced green onions, and voila. My mother in law makes it with a layer of ground beef with taco spice in between the cream cheese/sour cream and salsa layers, and my friends make it with guacamole added in there somewhere. It’s all good. EVERYTIME.

5. Mini sandwiches

If you don’t look closely, maybe this looks like a lot of horrible sugary desserts (you’re wrong! how dare you!) and some weird girly snack fest, and okay you aren’t totally wrong because we love to eat and it’s damn good food, BUT there are substantial items on that table! Mini sandwiches are the best snack food you can ever learn to make. And they are WAY easier than real sandwiches, which is good because who has time for that? 

I learned how to make mini sandwiches after I had to read The Importance of Being Earnest in university and I couldn’t get over the scene with the cucumber sandwiches. I assumed they were this big fancy deal (and some recipes ARE ridiculous) but then I got the idea to make the easiest tea party snack ever and you’ll love me forever. 

I usually make more than just cucumber because not everybody is obsessed as I am. Some people think these are weird. Those people have questionable taste. Anyways, I always throw in some deli meat in half so they don’t feel bad. I buy a really long baguette at the bakery and then slice it all up into thin-ish slices perfect for mini sandwiches. Your bread choice is crucial. Just get a baguette. It’s already the perfect size and honestly you think you’ll do better with bread but then you’ll have to make weird shapes and get out cookie cutters and it just doesn’t make sense. On a quarter of the slices put some deli meat, mustard, mayo, whatever your guests are into. Put another quarter of the slices on top. To make a sandwich. You see? 

On the REST, spread some cream cheese. You can use any flavour but I stick to the original because the cucumber matches it perfectly. But if you want to be all risqué fine. Slice a cucumber up and place one slice on each cream cheese-covered slice of bread and combine into sandwich form. That’s it. You just made an English delicacy. You’re welcome. 

6. Fruit

Okay this can’t be understated, if you’re going to toss that many dessert options you need salt to tone it down (nachos). If you’re going to have nachos you need beverages to absorb the carbs. This is a real thing. Anyways, that’s the juice. If you have sandwiches you need something light and juicy and delicious to make you feel like you’re eating a meal even if you’re actually shoving seven mini sandwiches in your mouth. Enter: fruit. Fruit platters are like the best party trick ever. All your food tables should have fruit somewhere. EVERYBODY LOVES FRUIT. Unless you’re rich and/or desperate for time, don’t waste your money on a fruit tray. Just buy some berries, some grapes (are grapes berries? hmm…) and you’re good to go. You can also buy a watermelon if it’s summer and you don’t mind the time to cut it up (hint: I do). Berries are versatile. You wash them and throw them in a pretty tray. That’s it. You’re done. You’ve providing something colourful and delicious and good for you and you did it for the quarter of the cost of a professional tray with like zero fruit but a high calorie chocolate yogurt dip which, let’s be honest, is a weird concept. 

7. The “fun” item

If you like trying new things, every party needs to have one fun element that people look at immediately and go “holy crap that’s amazing I love that idea it’s so neat”. People don’t even need to EAT the fun item. Just by virtue of BEING there you have completed your party table. This is the best advice I will ever give you. At our fiesta party I made cactus cupcakes. They were gigantic and almost physically impossible to eat in a social setting, because they were in  clay pots and piled high with icing and a huge mess, but they looked adorable. People still talk about those cupcakes, even though I would see a small fraction ate them at the party (I sent them home with people, and the rest with my brother, who apparently I don’t count as people, because I didn’t want two dozen giant icing cupcakes in my life after my birthday). At our St. Patrick’s Day brunch it was the rainbow jello shooters that looked amazing but turned out to get everybody immediately wasted at 11 in the morning because each layer had a ton of alcohol in them (it was an IRISH brunch okay?) and I didn’t take that into account. But they looked so sweet! They fit the theme perfectly. THERE WAS A GOLD COIN ON TOP! This is the fun item in action.

At our meeting the fun item was the meringue nests. There are a couple of important things to note about this:

1) I found these at the grocery store in the wrong aisle (I was looking for wafers and it was this whole ordeal just never mind) and I was feeling righteous and putting them in the right place but I couldn’t find them (what is meringue? where does that go in a grocery store? come on people) and I just gave up and put them in the cart. It was a really strange “well if I can’t put them away I’LL JUST BUY THEM” moment that makes no sense but oh well. I remembered them the morning of the meeting and decided to use them. But how to display? Age old question.

2) I wanted to do this super cool chalkboard platter but I couldn’t find it in the Chapters across from my office on my way home from work (are you paying attention, this is 5pm and I’m not home yet to prep for the meeting, this is LAST LAST MINUTE people) so I popped into Dollarama on a whim and found a cheap wood cutting board and some black craft paint and thought why not? It turned out AMAZING. Actually I love it. It cost me $3 to make it and I wiped off the chalk with a wet cloth after and it came off fine. I can use it forever. For anything! SO SO SO fun. The moral of #2 is that you should go out right now and buy a cutting board and some black craft paint because it will make any last minute party look like you planned for days when in reality you got home fifteen minutes before your friends come over and whipped this all up. Yes. 

step 2

I wanted you to have a closing image of those finger cookies because I don’t think I can accurately describe how sweet they looked. But that’s it! These 7 steps are literally all you need to toss together an emergency party. If you don’t have time to grocery shop you can amend most of these things from what you dig out of your cupboard, but your guests will never know! 

Unless you laugh about it and tell your friends the whole meeting how little time you put into it and then blog about it on a website you share with those friends. In which case that’s on you. 

Happy Tuesday! Hope you’re recovered from your long weekend 😉



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