Something that is always on my mind when I’m planning a party is trying to make it as Earth friendly as possible. For me, this means serving food that I would normally buy for our home, creating as little waste as possible, choosing a theme that isn’t too detailed, and keeping a small amount of entertaining essentials around. No matter how I go about being eco-friendly with my entertaining, with Earth Day coming up I thought I’d take some time to share some ways that I try to host a more Earth friendly party.
1. Choose a broad theme.
It’s not often that I choose a theme for a party that is trendy or specific. I try to stick to broader themes that can translate across seasons and years, as those do best for finding decor that will too. If you do choose a theme that is specific, try to limit the theme specific decor to things like the cake and party favors.
Søren’s 5th birthday invite from Paperless Post.
2. Use paperless invites.
The day I discovered Paperless Post was the best day of my party-planning life. Not only are the invites stylish and waste-free, you can track RSVP’s, send updates or details, and schedule reminders all via the website.
3. Choose timeless decor.
This one is pretty easy for me because I don’t like to do heavily themed parties, but choosing decor that will span different types of parties and seasons is a must. I have a couple of tablecloths and runners that work for everything, as long as some go-to entertaining essentials that I reuse for almost every party I host. Instead of investing in a bunch of theme-oriented decorations, I try to create my own from items I’ll use again that are inspired by my theme.
4. Try to use as little disposable items as possible.
This is one that’s hard for me, as I do not always have 30+ plates and glasses available for a party. I’ve been slowly investing in entertaining essentials that I can store in a small area. Usually I can get away with using some of my 8″ dining plates or appetizer plates and paper cups. If I do have to use disposable items, I try to use ones that are compostable or recyclable. When shopping for new dinnerware or glasses, I usually think about how easily I could use them if I need to do some entertaining.
5. Finger foods are best.
I tend to stick to simple finger foods that don’t require utensils to eat, because not only are they easy, there’s less clean up too. Foods like fresh fruits or vegetables cut into bite sized pieces, crudité platters, baguette sandwiches, and pizza are pretty easy go-to’s for me. If I do use food picks or forks, I use wooden ones and usually raid my own silverware drawer for any serving necessities.
While I usually strive to create as little waste as possible for my parties, it does happen. I try to be sure that my guests are fully aware of our compost, recycling, and garbage situation. We do all 3 and while I am usually able to intercept things, it’s not always easy mid-party to remind someone that we recycle glass or which food items go into compost. When I have decor that is not as timeless as I’d like, I usually post on a local Mom’s board (kid parties) or on Craigslist to find someone to pass it on to who would like to use it for their own party with the simple caveat that they will do the same.
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What do you do to host a more Earth friendly party?