Creating unforgettable memories
Creating unforgettable memories can be created by family gatherings. And in this techno-savvy age memories are captured in real time and forever immortalized on social media platforms.
Whatever the occasion, it does not matter as any opportunity is fitting for a family gathering. From job promotions to graduations, family reunions, religious celebrations, farewell or welcome home parties, the list is endless. There are easy ways to prepare for memorable and enjoyable family gatherings. Having a frugal budget to hosting the most elaborate affair, the basic planning remains the same.
Once the reason for the family gathering has been established and a date has been set then preparing a comprehensive checklist should be drawn up to guarantee a hassle-free event. Are there any budgetary constraints? Then why not plan a ‘bring and share event’ otherwise there are many ways to pull-off a memorable family gathering.
What To Prepare For a Family Gathering
Cater for all guests including vegetarians
There are so many exciting dishes to prepare for non-meat eaters
10 Tips to include in your checklist
1. Send out invitations to “save the date” and use social media platforms or mobile phones to distribute invitations quick and easy.
2. Secure a venue for the event, example a public park for an outdoor event, community hall for a casual event. Hotels and conference centers have great venues for more formal events.
3. Outsource the catering and refreshments however a “bring and share” event would drastically slash the catering budget.
4. Determining the layout should include partitioning an area where food and refreshments would be served. Allocating sufficient seating for the guests and set up an area for dancing and/or a live band. Most successful events would apportion an area where kids could be accommodated and entertained.
5. Hire crockery, cutlery, Bain Marie, table clothes, draping fabric and LED lighting if needed.
6. Always prepare a striking conversation feature or selfie corner.
7. Order centerpieces and party favors for each table
8. Do not forget insect repellent and outdoor lighting for an outdoor event
9. Make sure that there is a safe parking area.
10. Providing entertainment is crucial to the success of any event.
9 Easy Ideas For a Comprehensive Family Gathering
Less is more
Simplicity is the latest trends
There are easy ideas to incorporate into a family gathering, ideas that save costs and provide that wow factor creating for a memorable occasion.
Here are 9 easy ideas to help you along:
1. DIY invitations
Take pictures of the venue (landscape and surroundings) and incorporate the theme and colors. The internet has great sites where you could secure layout ideas for homemade invitations that look as if they were professionally done.
2. Table Décor
Simplistic is currently trending. Have you heard that “less is more”? Drape a fabric runner down the center of a wooden table and scatter simple floral bowls along the table. Using simple magnetic wooden cut-outs are a great party favor.
Never forget to cater for children as well as guests that prefer non-alcoholic drinks. A refreshing blend of lemon wedges and mint leaves marinating in a soda and lemonade pitcher is the perfect refresher.
Homemade waffles with a store bought ice-cream and chocolate sauce make for a delicious dessert treat.
5. Catering for Vegetarians
Catering for vegetarians is not a perplexing feat. Making delicious ginger infused broccoli and mushroom couscous salad as well as baked butternut stuffed with delicious filling and topped with cheese.
Snacks can be creative and exciting. Try interweaving branches and greenery along the table and stuffing luscious strawberries along the bushy décor. Accompany with little bowls of chocolate sauce and watch guests eyes light up as they pluck their own strawberries and plunge them into the sauce.
Instead of hiring a live band or booking a DJ which can be quite pricey. Why not secure a karaoke system that will guarantee loads of laughter and interactive entertainment.
Hang a large wooden photo frame from an outdoor tree for great photo opportunities and selfies.
Serving drinks on arrival with a cheese platter is a great way to allow guests time to interact whilst waiting for all the late arrivals.
Fresh fruit centerpieces
Strawberries are fresh and appealing as part of the decor
FAMILY: Where life begins ..... love never ends!
Food in family gatherings
Nothing says family like homemade baked bread
At any function or event there is nothing that says family like homemade baked bread. Here are some tips on baking the perfect loaf. Ciabatta is a rustic Italian loaf - crusty outside yet soft inside. The secret to achieving a master dough is simply time and patience with a dash of the following:
- Higher hydration levels
- Long resting periods
- Consistent stretch and pulls
- High heat
- Steam during baking
Prepare the pre-ferment otherwise known as a starter 24-hours in advance
(High hydration (100 / 75) pre-ferment)
Mix all ingredients to form a soft paste-like dough and set aside overnight.
- 3 Cups of plain flour
- 2 Cups of water
- 2 Tablespoons of sugar
- 1 Tablespoon of yeast granules
- 1 egg (egg is not used in conventional ciabatta however I like the crumb form when using egg)
It always seems impossible until it's done
Step 2: Add the following ingredients to 2 cups of the pre-ferment
1 cup of water
1 to 2 cups pre-ferment
1 Teaspoon yeast granules
2 Teaspoon sugar
3 ¼ cup plain flour
Grease tray with oil and cornmeal to prevent sticking while baking
Ice cubes to create steam in the oven
On the stove top slightly heat milk and water. Allow cooling, then add yeast and sugar to liquid and allow to stand for about 10 minutes until creamy. Add pre-ferment and mix with hand mixer for 2 to 3 minutes. Then add flour one cup at a time and mix thoroughly.
Oil your hands well before beginning the stretch and fold technique. Pulling and stretching the dough upwards and folding over a few times then allow to rest for 1 hour. Continue to stretch and fold at least 3 to 4 times during the day to build upa structure.
Finally, roll the dough into a baking tray that has been prepared with oil and cornmeal to prevent sticking. The dough needs to sit for another hour for a final rise before placing it into a hot oven.
To prepare the steam before putting bread into the oven, place a pan at bottom of the oven and allow it to heat up. Then throw a few ice cubes into the hot pan. Immediately steam will start to rise up.
Place bread at the center of the oven and bake at 210 degrees for 45 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave the bread in the oven for another 15 minutes before removing it. Allow it to cool on a rack.
Games For Family Gathering
CHEEK 2 CHEEK
Games played with a large group is loads of fun
The Body Game
The entire party should come together in a circle.
Then everyone needs to pair off and partner with someone close by.
One person needs to stand out as the facilitator armed with a metal pot lid and a wooden spoon.
The facilitator will call out; cheek-to-cheek and each pair will place their cheeks together. They will remain in this position until the facilitator finishes drumming. Then the facilitator will shout ‘change places’ and everyone will look for another partner while the facilitator removes one person. The unpaired person falls out. Then the facilitator calls out a different position example knee-to-knee. At this point, most people will fall out if they are not able to stand on one leg for a long period. The facilitator will stop drumming and call out ‘change partners’ again. Again the facilitator will remove one person and the unpaired person falls out. Each position should become harder than the previous one. Head-to-head; Elbow-to-Elbow; Ankle-to-Ankle; Toe-to-Toe and finally ‘Lip to Lip’. This is where most people fall out because they don’t want to do the lip-to-lip position.
Music is the spice of life
Every nation, every creed, every culture has a special and unique way that family gatherings are organized. Food preparation may differ, music may be different but regardless of the variants, family gatherings will always be patronized as a moment where unforgettable memories are preserved.
Here you go, a good resource on how to have a good family gathering. Armed with these tips, and some proper planning, have fun and bond with your family and friends!