Car-side tailgates aren’t always practical, especially as the weather gets colder or games are away. And entertaining at home just feels good. Today I’m bringing the tailgate indoors and showing you MBI’s favorite tips and ideas for hosting a game at home.
Any gathering is a reason to decorate and design cohesively. And it doesn’t have to include streamers or excessive props (but it can if you want to go all out). Simply choosing the right serving pieces and adding a fun design element here and there will bring the aesthetic together.
For this set up, I had fun with materials and textures that reminded me of football but also kept to the home’s overall aesthetic. Silver trophies, wood platters, slate and even astroturf to serve food and drinks from made the rest of decorating easy. The mixing and matching made it easy to find things that I already had that would work.
A floral element is pretty much party of any gathering I host, this tailgating party is no different. I kept things casual and color cohesive with these yellow faux stems. One great thing about college football in Iowa is that you can never go wrong with a yellow gold accent at a tailgate — it represents all the state schools! Placing these stems in trophies gave the perfect look to the spread.
Adding in playful pieces really brings the look home—it’s a tailgating party after all! These fun drink koozies and football inspired popcorn tubs are always a hit with my friends at tailgates. Signs and flags with insignias and cheers are easy to make or find downloads for online.
Start here. What do you want to serve? I love a mix of healthier option with the traditional game day foods. Something I like to think about is what can be made in advance and pulled out in time for the party and what takes a little more effort day of.
I love salads in jars and canisters for this reason. They look great and make game day super easy. Plus they have that touch of something special that guests appreciate. Desserts can also be made in advance, like these cute pretzel sticks and sugar cookies. Hire them out or make them yourself a day or two before.
Simple things that come together easily right before the party are a meat and cheese platter and store bought corn dogs baked in the oven. (Frying your own might make the house a little messy and smelly but it sure would be impressive!) When choosing fruit for a fruit salad, think about what holds up from being prepped the night before. Bananas and apples get brown and mushy when presliced so selections like grapes, cut melon and pineapple might be the way to go if you plan to cut and refrigerate overnight.
I used the kitchen island as the center for our party but a dining room table would work well too. When setting up, think about how you want people to use the space. Do you want them to stay to one side of the kitchen counter or do you want them to travel around the space for their food? This helps determine how to set it up. Jessi and I decided that putting everything facing the outer edge of the kitchen was going to be best for flow. To encourage that, we used height and scale at the back edge of the buffet with vases of flowers and the larger serving pieces and then layered in smaller, lower items in front. Adding height with cake stands, platters, and in this case trophies, is a great way to add visual separation between food options.
How do you tailgate? Any crowd pleasers you’ve discovered at your own game day parties? Happy footballing!