On Tuesday we gave you a plug about what Manitou and Kent “The Deck Chef” Whitaker have to say about throwing a pontoon celebration. This is the second half of all the extensive and extremely useful wisdom we've accrued for you. After all, we're all in accord that the atmosphere on a pontoon is unbeatable, and we'll encourage you to get out there any way we can!
Enter the advice of tried-and-true event-designing experts to augment your party planning reserves—and boy do they have delicious ideas.
Celebrity Event Planner and Designer Sacha Patires of Whimsical Weddings & Events says that for family parties, picnic style wins out every time. Patires recommends choosing foods that can be premade without getting stale or soggy, such as meat-and-veggie kabobs. You can also prepare fresh fruit-and-cheese kabobs, as they’re a delicious, summery appetizer that can easily stay chilled in a cooler. Here’s a recipe for everyone's favorite Honey Chicken Kabobs or delicious Mushroom Kabobs for a vegetarian option if you want some ideas.
Patires also says that chilled pasta salads can be presented in festive cups or disposable champagne or margarita flutes—the stems are easy to keep a grip on and the bell of the cup is good for holding food if waves rock the boat. You can also prepare tea sandwiches to serve, as they’re little, neat and easy to transport.
She also recommends edible chocolate cups brimming with strawberry bisque, chocolate mousse, slivers of cheesecake and fresh berries for tasteful dessert options. Additionally, items that are already placed on serving ware are great options. “A combination disposable plate and wine glass make it easy to be social while still having a free hand to hold on to a railing or shake hands with cocktail party guests,” Patires suggests.
Event planning and public relations expert Apryl of Memorable Events by Apryl adds her advice of including shrimp cocktail and bruschettato to make a classy party. For a lighter party atmosphere you could instead consider chicken drummettes, assorted dainty sandwiches, a crudite platter, or lumpia to offer hungry guests. Here's a yummy recipe for Curried Chicken Tea Sandwiches to get anyone's tummy rumbling.
After the partying and eating are done and everyone is winding down, the clean-up commences. And spending hours suspended in water with no nearby garbage cans can lead to a mess worth undertaking. Thankfully, these tips should make the job much easier for you.
Before heading off to greet the waves and the breeze in your boat, make sure to stash a tote full of clean-up supplies onboard—include things like handy wipes (for hands and surfaces), hand sanitizer, trash bags, small towels and rinsing water, if possible.
It’s always safe to double-bag everything so no trash or odors spill out onto the boat. Keep the full bags tucked away under your boat seats or in some other compartment so nothing blows overboard. Right about here is where you’ll be especially glad you used reusable plastic dishes and silverware, as you’ll have less trash to wrangle with in the end.
Now comes the really fun part of our advice—decorations. Pontoon boats already have the potential and hardware to become an effervescent party barge; all that’s needed for the transformation is the right decorations. One main thing to remember is to consider the weather and water conditions you'll be facing while you’re still in preparation-mode.
Again, the experts suggest avoiding glass, but there are plenty of heavier, reusable plastic tablecloths, flatware, and decor (which can be found at www.smartyhadaparty.com) that won’t fly away on you. Patires candidly points out that this is irritating to guests and unhealthy for the environment.
Steer away from wax candles if your pontoon will be roaming during most of the party to prevent fire hazards, and consider whether your decorations require electrical outlets if you want to light up the night.
One last word—implementing a good theme can turn your pontoon party into an all-out boating bash. Manitou suggests Nautical, Hawaiian/tropical, Mardi Gras, Fourth of July, Fiesta, Pirate, Casino, or Game day/tailgate on the water themes, to get you started thinking about what atmosphere you want most.
Whatever you decide, have fun and know that following these tips from the experts will ensure that you have a frazzle-free time of it.
Visit Manitou’s website here if you want to read more about what they have to say; you won’t be disappointed!