A lovely lemony theme evokes feelings of spring and summer, with warm days and blooming flowers. The cheerful hue and natural fragrance creates a welcoming atmosphere that is inexpensive to create. Lemons make a diverse palate pleaser for your menu, lending a sweet pucker to a dessert or an acidic bite to the entree. Incorporate lemons in your party favor for a relaxing treat, create summery drinks to take it easy and try a new sweet treat for fun.
• Lemon “Tree”
• Place holders
We used cut branches from a Fig tree, but any leafy branch will work. Make sure they are sturdy enough to hold a lemon or two, but not too thick that you cannot cut. For a quick tip, we pushed medium sized paper clips through the length of the lemon, creating a tab at the end to hold it on, and a hook on the other to hang from the branch. You can also use ornament hangers, but be sure to puncture the lemon far enough down so that it can bear the weight. We added additional greenery to make it more like a “tree”. You can also use Styrofoam floral balls or wired floral tape to hold the sticks in place within the vase.
Use lemony-hued wrapping paper as a smart, but sturdy table runner. Traditionally, runners are placed lengthwise, but we tried it cut it across the table width for fun. Make sure the runner hangs over the table at least 12 inches.
A dainty ice cream dish works well as a placeholder. The lemon served as a bright background for lemon shape cutout nametags. Place some greenery around the lemon for the complete look.
WHAT TO DRINK:
Pucker Up Spritzer
• 1 oz. Vodka
• ½ oz. Lemon juice
• 1 packet (or 1 tsp) of sugar
• 3 oz. Lemon lime soda
• Extra sugar for dipping
• Sliced lemon for garnish
Use a lemon wedge to swipe the glass rim and dip into sugar. Add a packet of sugar into the bottom of the glass. Pour vodka and lemon juice into a stainless steel shaker over ice, and shake until completely cold. Add ice and lemon slices to glass. Pour in vodka and juice mixture, add soda and serve.
• 1 cup sugar (less if you like it a little tart)
• 1 cup water (for simple syrup)
• 4 – 6 lemons for 1 cup fresh lemon juice
• 3 cups cold water
• Lemon slices and ice
1. To make traditional lemonade, try dissolving the sugar before mixing to ensure a perfect cup every time. Make a simple syrup as the base, heating sugar and 1 cup of water in pan.
2. Extract 1 cup of juice from lemons while sugar is dissolving.
3. Add the juice and the simple syrup to a pitcher. Add 3 cups of cold water (or more to taste) and refrigerate.
4. Serve with ice and lemon slices.
WHAT TO SERVE:
Lemon Herb Chicken
• 4 Skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
• 2 lemons
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 pinch dried oregano, rosemary or spices of choice
• Minced garlic to taste
• Lemon slices and sprigs of fresh rosemary
• Rice, pasta or couscous of your choice, prepared as directed
1. Cut lemons in half, and squeeze juice from 1 lemon on chicken. Season with salt to taste. Let sit while you heat oil in a small skillet over medium low heat.
2. When oil is hot, put chicken in skillet. As you sauté chicken, add juice from other lemon, pepper, garlic and oregano/rosemary or favorite spices to taste. Sauté for 5 to 10 minutes each side, or until juices run clear. Serve with rice or couscous. Add sliced lemon and a fresh rosemary sprig for garnish.
• 1 cup flour
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1/3 cup butter
• 3 medium eggs
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 2 tablespoons flour
• 1 ¼ teaspoons lemon zest
• 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
• Powdered sugar to garnish
1. Preheat oven to 375. Spray a 9x9 pan with nonstick spray.
2. Mix flour, salt, and sugar together. Cut in butter or mash together with your hands until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Pat mixture evenly in the pan and bake about 15 minutes until the edges are lightly brown. Cool and reduce heat to 350.
3. While you're waiting for crust, mix all the topping ingredients together (except the powdered sugar) and mix until well blended. Pour mixture on top of the pre-baked crust and bake for about 15 - 17 minutes.
4. Cool completely to cut and remove from pan. To prevent sticking, rinse knife off with cold water between slices for neat squares. Sprinkle with a bit of powdered sugar and serve.
• Cardboard gift boxes $1.99 each
• Coffee mug or tea cup $1.00 each
• Ribbon $1.00
• Assorted lemony teas $3.99 for a box of 12
• Tissue paper $.99
Gift boxes, ribbon and tissue paper were purchased at Michael's. The tea cup is from Ikea, but thrift store finds are even better. There's no need to present matching cups, an eclectic mix is just as charming. Teas were purchased from a gourmet specialty store, but grocery store brands will work as well. We made each of these party gifts for less than $5 each.
At the reception table, we staged a lemonade “stand” with a heartwarming poem that integrated the lemony theme and the pending wedding. Add some fresh flowers and whole lemons, to create a warm welcome to all of your guests.