Catering specialist Wendy Pashman offers suggestions for making your party extraordinary and pleasing your guests at modest cost:
¢ Forgo elaborate sweet tables and make colorful cupcake towers. Pashman decorates trios of graduated (24-, 36- and 48-inch) round wooden boards to match a party's decor, balancing them on glass pillars to look like an old-fashioned wedding cake. Each level is loaded with an easily refilled selection of frosted temptations.
¢ Say goodbye to costly blooms. Decorate guest tables or food stations with clusters of candles. Try an arrangement of various-sized glass cylinders filled with delicate floating candles, or arrange candles on mirrored stands of varied heights for a shimmering effect.
¢ Control amounts of expensive foods like shrimp by passing them on tiny bamboo skewers instead of in limitless amounts on buffet platters.
¢ Cut rental fees on plates and flatware by limiting a cocktail buffet to finger foods such as apricots sporting a dollop of Gorgonzola cheese and a sliver of prosciutto; or a variety of tiny sandwiches like sliced duck breast on walnut-raisin bread with honey-ginger sauce. (Guests often prefer not to be encumbered with a plate and fork as they mingle and circulate.)