Book-Themed Engagement Party

This weekend I had the pleasure of hosting an engagement party for my college friend Kristen and her fiance Beau!  It was so much fun getting to know Beau’s friends/family and celebrating a couple and friend who has been so supportive of me throughout the years.

They are getting married at the historic (and gorgeous) James J. Hill library in Downtown St. Paul, so I thought a book theme would be fitting and fun!  I had some old books I had purchased from Goodwill left over from book crafts for my sister’s wedding (she got married at the same place!) that I used to create accents throughout the room.

We decorated the bar with a marquee sign using book paper letters and book paper pomanders (directions here)!  I also wrapped mason jars with book paper and ribbon to add a little more to the flowers!

To spice-up the plastic cups, i hot glued hearts to them as a place for people to write their names (by people i mean me, I always set my glass down and lose it!).  The outlines for the hearts then made great accents for the food labels!

I wanted to have some sort of activity, but with 25+ people I thought it would be tough to do an organized game.  Instead I decorated a mason jar and set-out popsicle sticks for people to write date ideas (not going to lie, the date ideas got more interesting as the drinks were flowing!).

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Kristen’s mom bought flowers from Trader Joes and set-out votive candle holders throughout the room which created a romantic atmosphere fitting for the occasion!

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Flowers and votive candle holders always add a romantic feel.

You guys know my thing is making food in advance and freezing it, but since I wasn’t hosting the party at my house (it was at the party room of my friend’s mom’s condo) I had time the day-of to prep.  Plus the menu this time was much simpler with shared ingredients.

I got the My Favorite Murder podcast going (shout out fellow Murderinos) on the speaker and zoned out! (my husband found it ironic that while making food for a love-filled engagement party I was thinking about murderers).

I asked the couple what their favorite foods were to help plan the menu and Kristen came back with pizza and salad (girl, lucky you your favorite food is salad!).  So after consulting with my super-cook sister I decide to go with various types of flatbreads and mini salads as the main course.

The flatbreads were really fun to do, I got to get creative and overall they were very easy to execute!  I just used pre-made flatbread from Target, prepped them all in advance, and baked them at the party (400 degrees for 8-10 minutes).  I made five different kinds:

  • Margherita – top the flatbread with olive oil and garlic powder, then layer thinly sliced tomatoes, fresh basil, and mozzarella

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  • Sausage & Pepperoni – top the flatbread with your preferred marinara sauce (i used Kirkland) and layer ground italian sausage, pepperoni, and mozzarella cheese

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  • Apricot brie with carmelized onions – top the flatbread with apricot jam and layer sauteed onions and brie cheese

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  • Buffalo Chicken – I had pre-made buffalo chicken by cooking a package of chicken breasts with 1/2 cup frank’s hot sauce and a package of italian dressinng mix in the crockpot (cook on low for 6-8 hours then shred, great for lettuce wraps!).  I topped the flatbread with olive oil then the buffalo chicken, green onions, bleu cheese, and additional frank’s hot sauce

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  • Cheddar Apple Prosciutto with Arugula – top the flatbread with olive oil and layer white cheddar cheese chunks and diced prosciutto.  Top with thinly sliced apples and drizzle with honey.  Add arugula after you bake it!

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For the salads, you guys know I want my food to be cute, so serving a giant salad bowl was out of the question.  I found these parmesan cheese cups  on Pinterest and they are my new fave.  SUPER easy to make and seem really fancy.  You essentially spread 1-2 Tbl parmesan cheese (I mixed with some garlic powder and rosemary) on parchement paper and bake for 350 degrees for 5 minutes, then carefully transfer to a shot glass so it forms a cup!

I used the same balsamic dijon salad dressing from New Years  and filled the cups with pre-mixed salad.  I loved the color and look, and can’t wait to fill these bad boys with dips, etc. – so much room for activities.

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To compliment the pizza and salad I made this Roasted Red Pepper and Artichoke Tapenade with crakers and Antipasto Kabobs (cooked tortellini marinated in italian dressing skewered with a mozzarella ball, salami slice, cherry tomato, and an olive).

For dessert, I made cream cheese miniatures and brownie bites.

Here is the full menu:

  • Antipasto Kabobs
  • Roasted Red Pepper and Artichoke Tapenade
  • Balsamic salad in Parmesan cups
  • 5 Different Flatbreads (Margherita, sausage/pepperoni, apricot brie with carmelized onions, buffalo chicken, and cheddar apple prosciutto with arugala)
  • Cream Cheese Miniatures
  • Brownie Bites

The food was a hit, but most importantly the couple had fun!  We had several cheers to the happy couple and enjoyed getting to know one another.  Can’t wait for the rest of the wedding festivities!

Congrats Beau and Kristen!!

 

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