What inspires you to host a party? While I was unpacking my box of fall decor in early September I realized I didn’t have a lot of basic fall decor, but I did come across my soup tureen. I either picked it up from my grandma’s house or bought it years ago on a random shopping outing. The thing is, I have never used it. Which got me thinking, I should use it! So, I thought it would be fun to have people over this fall for a potluck soup and s’mores party.
An Afternoon Gathering
We invited a large number of friends for a Saturday afternoon of soup sampling and s’mores on the outdoor fire. The party was only a few hours long. The party start time was 2:00pm and we set an end time of 6:00pm. We didn’t want to have a long open house. We just wanted to relax with friends, enjoy the outside weather before winter arrives, and offer up some warm food and drinks.
It turns out we selected a date that almost all of the invitees had other plans. While this could have stopped us from hosting the party on that date, we decided to keep the date and this small intimate gathering would allow us more time to really spend with the guests who did come over.
It also turned out to be an EXTREMELY windy day so we had to decide that morning not to do an outdoor fire! UGH! There goes the whole s’mores ideas, right? Nope! I had a backup plan. I mean after all, I did have LOTS of chocolate candy bars and a new box of graham crackers.
So let me start at the beginning and explain how I set it up, the obstacles we faced and our backup plan.
We sent out a Facebook invite. Since it was a very casual gathering and I was asking guests if they wanted to bring a dish to share with others. Fcaebook provided the best opportunity for everyone to get all the updates.
This is what we wrote in the invite:
Let’s get together for one more outdoor party this year!
Fall means cozy sweater, football, apples, beautiful colors, soup and s’mores!
Join us for a soup and s’mores party!
We will provide 2 soups and light the fire pit. We will have the basic s’mores goodies.
If you’d like to bring a soup to share, a side such as bread or crackers or some s’mores fixings (have a fun filling you want others to try?) we’d love the contributions.
We will also have some mulled wine, hot apple cider and cold beer.
Please bring your outdoor chairs.
Children are welcome.
Hope you can join us for the family FALL fun!
Please RSVP by October 8
Once my husband and I decided what soups to make I shared it on the invite page. We were torn between Taco Stew and Chili so I posted a poll on the invite too. This gave us the feedback to decide AND it also was a gentle reminder to the guests to RSVP to the party. (Need help getting guests to RSVP to your party? Check out my 5 Tips to get Guests to RSVP article)
I knew my parents were going to bring cornbread so I added that to the invite comments so that other guests wouldn’t bring cornbread.
Facebook invites are a great way to handle these types of updates.
Soup and S’mores Menu
I usually go all out on party menu planning, but this time the menu was in the party title! Soup and S’more Party says it all! We will serve soup and we will serve s’mores.
Our menu was:
Pot of Minestrone Soup
Pot of Chili
Gallon of Apple Cider from the grocery store (I heated it up on the stove)
1 Liter of Mulled Wine from the liquor store (All the spices and flavors were already mixed together in the bottle so I warmed it in a crock pot)
S’more Cookie Bars from Lovin’ from the Oven site
This really made preparing the food the day of the party super simple. Soups can easily be made early in the day and kept warm for the party. I cooked up the soups in the morning and transferred them to the crock pots to keep them warm until the guests were ready to eat.
Due to uncooperative weather, we knew early in the day we would not be able to light the fire pit. It was a beautiful, warm fall day but the winds were SO strong that the fire would never light. And if it did, you would never know which way the smoke would start to blow or how long the fire would stay lit.
When you are planning to have a party outside, you need to be ready with a backup plan. We were going to have s small group over so we knew it would be comfortable inside with everyone. BUT, half the party was our dessert – S’mores! And windy weather meant no fire, which meant no toasted marshmallows, which meant no dessert. But I had a backup plan for that, THAT morning! I had everything I needed to make S’mores Cookie Bars. This is a great recipe from Lovin’ from the Oven. I have made it several times for other parties so I quickly looked up the recipe, took out my stand mixer and made a batch of these bars so that our guests would still be able to enjoy s’mores.
Preparing for the Soup and S’mores Party
I’ll be honest, we did not follow my party planning checklist or use the 5 Quick Cleaning Tips for Your Party before the party. If we had, it would have been a lot less stressful the week of the party!
We faced so many obstacles and had many mishaps the week of the party due to poor planning. Therefore, we did most of our cleaning the day of the party.
What we did do right!
We had people RSVP early enough so we could get our party shopping done in time for the party.
I had this idea that I wanted everyone to have a very distinctive bowl so that they wouldn’t get mixed up with one another. To help people know which bowl was theirs, I purchased several different large mugs from the thrift store. They were cheap and we went on the day that everything was an additional 50% off. We decided to buy large mugs instead of bowls so that it would be easier to hold the soup while outside. Since we were less than a week away from the party, we couldn’t visit other thrift stores, so we had to buy what we found at that store. Therefore, we had to buy some pairs of mugs, but that was okay because we figured couples could have the same mug design.
We set these mugs between the crock pots and guests were invited to choose their own bowl when they were getting their soup. I was planning to clean them all up and donate them back to the thrift store, but my husband suggested keeping them so we can have them for another party like this next fall. Over the next year, I will look at places that have large mugs for sale very cheap so I can grow our supply for the next party.
It’s great to have these because we didn’t have to use our collection of bowls, the handles are helpful for moving around the party easily and the unique designs help people know which bowl is theirs. It’s also much cheaper than renting bowls from a party rental store.
We also shopped early and went to a food supply store to pick up the graham crackers in a large box, a big bag of marshmallows and cups for hot drinks.
We shopped for the fresh ingredients for the soups a couple days before the party.
Decorating for the Party
We didn’t add any extra decorations to the house for the party.
While I stated at the beginning of this article I did not have many fall decorations to unpack, I did have some by the time of the party. I was visiting family in September and we visited a farm stand that had awesome decorations for sale. So I picked some up for our house. I also bought some flowers from the craft store and cutthem to fit into mason jars I already owned. Therefore, those were already out for decoration.
I also used a fall themed table cloth we bought a few years back.
There didn’t need to be a lot of extra decorations for this party. I did have yellow plastic plates for the bread and s’mores and orange napkins to incorporate the colors of fall.
You Should Host a Soup and S’mores Party too!
This was a simple party to plan and host. If you’re willing to plan a party that relies heavily on good weather with a good backup plan you should host a soup and s’mores party. This is a great place to start if you are just getting used to hosting parties. The menu is super simple and you do not need to decorating for the party. Just pick a few of your favorite soup recipes, set up crock pots to keep the food warm and enjoy catching up with your friends. The funny thing is, I wanted to have this party because I had never used my soup tureen, and I STILL haven’t used it! I ended up keeping the soups in crock pots! Oh well, maybe next year.
Want to remember this post? Post this Soup and S’mores Party Plan to your favorite Pinterest board!