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Food and Drink Features

Fall fête

From theme to food, Oklahoma City offers pin-worthy seasonal party ideas.

Malena Lott October 2nd, 2013

Does the thought of hosting a dinner party cause heart palpitations and dry mouth?

Earl's Rib plate
BY: Shannon Cornman
There are fancy pins of perfect tablescapes and recipes on Pinterest boards. However, where to start and how to actually pull off a fabulous dinner party is another thing entirely.

Thankfully, better than any app or site, the metro is flush with experts and retailers at the ready to ensure guests gush about your party for weeks to come. Well, at least until the next one.

Nothing makes a party more cohesive than a well-planned theme, whether it’s seasonal, sports or birthday-inspired. Kindt Steven Myers, director of private events at Oak Tree Golf and Country Club, 700 Country Club Drive, advised to start with a strong theme.

“Carry your theme throughout each piece of the process — from napkins, to cuisine, to invitations, to your host or hostess outfit,” said Myers.

Invites and guest list
Wonder if your friends from work will mesh with your college pals? Etiquette expert and owner of Expeditions in Etiquette,, Cary Sue Vega urged hosts to bring together an interesting mix of people by careful consideration.

“I personally think 6 to 12 people makes for a great dinner party,” Vega said.

She recommended assigned seating to ensure conversation flow and also suggested splitting up couples.

“People make the party,” echoed Myers.

Once the guest list selection has been made, it’s time for invitations! Is it okay to go digital?

Vega recommended printed invitations for formal parties, while digital invites lean toward a casual affair. Chirps & Cheers has a variety of stationery available, including custom options, at 100 N. Broadway in Edmond.

Kris Balaban, owner of A Date with Iris, said the popular theme for flowers is on trend with the food itself.

“A huge emphasis is on locally grown and Oklahoma’s own flowers, as well as the produce and meats,” Balaban said. “Right now, we are seeing rich colors of velvety coxcomb and different varieties of sunflowers. Combin[ing them] with native grasses such as cat’s claw make these Okie arrangements perfect for the return of fall and casual dinners with friends,” Balaban said. They are requested often at the store, 4201 N. Western Ave.

For a more formal occasion, Balaban said, “Lovely, lush mounds of white hydrangea never go out of style.”

Kindt Stevens Myers
BY: Shannon Cornman
Consider seasonal availability, and don’t feel shy to ask a florist for advice.

Myers is a fan of Marianne’s Rentals for Special Events, 225 W. Britton Rd., where rentable items range from tables and chairs to linens and china. Marianne’s also has you covered for glass and flatware and table décor, as well as outdoor items like bar setups and red carpets, if the event merits. Myers recommends adding specialty lighting to your event for added ambiance.

To purchase table decorations, shop The Paper Lion. It carries a variety of recognizable brands and products suited for everything from an intimate gathering to a fancy soiree, at 1389 E. 15th St. in Edmond.

Don’t let the fear of food preparation cancel a celebration before it has begun. Consider catering or getting take-out to fill the gaps or for the entire meal. Myers prefers to choose local.

For Mexican, consider Ted’s Cafe Escondido, several metro locations, or Iguana Mexican Grill, 9 NW Ninth St.

Prefer Italian? Try Vito’s Ristorante, 7521 N. May Ave.; Bella Vista Italian Kitchen, 5801 S. Western Ave.; or Stella Modern Italian Cuisine, 1201 N. Walker Ave.

A casual or sporty dinner party, one that might also end with the viewing of a football game, calls for ribs or briskets from locals like Steve’s Rib, 7202 W. Hefner Rd., or Rib Crib or Earl’s Rib Palace, which both have several metro locations.

Finish strong with a nice coffee and dessert bar. Both combos are available at Cuppies & Joe, 727 NW 23rd St., or Cafe Evoke, 103 S. Broadway in Edmond.

A Date With Iris' Stephanie Humes
BY: Mark Hancock
Wow Factor
Atmosphere is the final and most important component to a stellar party.

“Be focused on the moment — turn off TVs, put on some background music, put away smart phones and get ready to focus on your friends,” said Vega. “Plan to be ready at least 15 minutes before your guests are scheduled to arrive. Not only does this give you a moment to catch your breath, but it also allows a small window of flexibility in case something goes wrong during the preparations.”

Myers also suggested entertainment or that extra something to make the party more memorable.

“Bring in a live performer of dance, music or magic. The guests don’t expect it, so it’s a true delight,” he said.

Swap Facebook likes and retweets for warm hugs and fond memories.

“Bottom line — just do it,” Vega said. “Don’t stress about things such as, ‘My house isn’t perfect,’ [or] ‘I don’t have the right dishes or silverware.’ ... Set the stage and atmosphere for a lovely evening of relaxing with friends and enjoying good, old-fashioned face time.”

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