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Easter Celebrations

FOR A SUCCESSFUL EASTER CELEBRATION

Everyone knows that holidays are a time for families and friends to gather and celebrate together. Whether you're planning a light Easter brunch or an elegant dinner to honor the rebirth of Christ, some careful planning and preparation are needed. So how do you pull off the perfect gathering and appear as the host of the year?

The most important step is to actually plan your feast, don't wait until the last minute and try to whip something together-chances are you won't be very successful. To be a success, plan everything from the time your guests arrive to the minute they leave. How many guests are attending? Where will they sit? Will you have appetizers and planned activities? What about dessert and gourmet coffee? All of these questions need to be answered to feel confident and ready for your Easter gathering.

If you've done your research, you probably have an award-winning recipe you've been waiting to try, would you settle for anything less than a comparable table setting?

The presentation of the meal is just as important as the meal itself. No matter how wonderful your culinary skills, a meal isn't complete without a beautiful table presentation. Too often the table is overlooked with the hopes that the meal will be so tasty the guests won't notice the drab surroundings. True, the food is the highlight, but wouldn't it be great to have a table as wonderful as the dish itself. It will only add to the success of the meal and everyone will applaud your hosting skills! Believe it or not, you don't need an ounce of creativity to pull together a stunning centerpiece and table top theme. The only thing stopping you is your imagination!

Let's pull out the tablecloth or runner and get started! Don't be intimidated by the amount of emptiness staring at you-it will soon be an unforgettable masterpiece. To get your imagination going, buy fresh flowers and candles in varying heights and widths. The different sized candles are key-it adds interest and a decorative contrast. For the candle arrangement, try to stay to one dominant color-we don't want a rainbow of contrast.

Your color will be added with the selection of flowers. To stay within the Easter theme, try using Lilies as the highlight of your table. Traditionally, images of Lilies are portrayed throughout art and literature as symbols of the purity and rebirth associated with Easter. The Lilies leaves will add just a touch of green and appear ever so elegant coupled with cream candles.

For the centerpiece, you can feature your lovely bouquet surrounded by candles or add a personal touch by placing a single bouquet clipping in small decorative bottles for each guest. If you decide to go with the individual clippings, arrange your candles as the focal point and scale down the use of flowers in the centerpiece. Accent groups of candles on a charger or decorative plate with loose petals, smooth river stones, or ivy vines from your garden. Once again, use your imagination-anything small and eye catching will work.

The most important step for ensuring a successful celebration is to plan ahead. Organize the guest list, activities and wonderful meal at least a week in advance. Make sure you have the necessary cooking supplies ready for Easter day. There is nothing worse than discovering you're missing a certain type of pot or pan in the middle of your Easter cooking frenzy! With all the organization taken care of, it's time to have some fun! Gather the selected flowers, candles, and greenery and let yourself experiment. Don't feel overwhelmed by the amount of possibilities, just dive in and start playing with different combinations. Experiment until you feel proud to say, "I did this myself !" Remember- simplicity equals elegance and if you keep simplicity in mind, you can't go wrong!

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