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Dinner Theater

Since our first issue 20 years ago to today, Elizabeth Kennedy has been sharing recipes and tips for throwing smash hit parties

Elizabeth Kennedy Catering & Company's Chicken Curry. Purchase our January issue for the full recipe!

Elizabeth Kennedy Catering & Company's Chicken Curry. Purchase our January issue for the full recipe!

January is the month when snowbirds flock into town and Vero Beach comes alive with social activities and festive gatherings. As the season swings into full gear, there’s no better time to reconnect with old friends and throw a party. 

And who better to advise us on all things social than the maven of entertaining, Elizabeth Kennedy? Featured in our very first issue 20 years ago, Elizabeth and her team at Elizabeth Kennedy Catering & Company have catered everything from casual family gatherings to elaborate extravaganzas to the delight of all who know her talent for planning, organizing and executing the best parties in town.

So whether you are a veteran host or an aspiring entertainer, let these tips from a professional party planner unleash your inner Martha Stewart and ensure you enjoy your party as much as your guests. 

THE EVENT

Elizabeth notes that people want to entertain on a much more casual scale today, but parties can still take many weeks of planning. If you are a novice, Elizabeth’s advice is to keep it simple and stress-free. “A cocktail party is the easiest to throw because the hors d’oeuvres can be ordered or made ahead of time,” she says. “Hot and cold hors d’oeuvres make a nice mix, but it’s all about variety and offering something to nibble on.” Bacon-wrapped dates with almonds and blue cheese dip, mushroom phyllo bites, sweet chili shrimp, smoked salmon blinis or mini BLT croustades all make great morsels to pop in the mouth and are easy to prepare. She also recommends getting help. “Even if you don’t use a caterer, have someone in the kitchen and someone tending the bar,” she advises. “When there are more than 10 to 12 people, you will need a helper.”

THE THEME

Picking a theme for your party can turn an ordinary affair into a lively and memorable event. Not only will it spice things up, but it will also dictate the dress, decor, food and music, making it easier to formulate a cohesive plan.