Even if one chooses to eschew a themed mishloach manot for Purim, it has become a ubiquitous part of the day’s observance for many, with families coordinating their costumes (children included) with the food, to weave a thematic experience across the board.
Not to be left out, in recent years Purim seudahs have started to embrace the theme idea as well. The Simcha Link turned to event professional Raphi Heimowitz of Papaya Events, a full-service floral and event-design company for some tips readers can use to throw the ultimate themed Purim seudah.
“The first step in any themed event is to pick a unifying element,” explained Heimowitz. “It can be something as simple as a color, but it gives you a starting place for props and decor.” Menu items can also be worked into a theme. Often people find a cultural- or country-based theme easy to work around for both decor and menu items. “Purim is a unique time for planning because you can be fun without the pressure to be elegant and formal. It gives you a chance to be creative and decorate in a way you normally wouldn’t,” said Heimowitz, who even suggested hanging decorations from sconces and chandeliers to enhance a theme. Chairs, tablecloths, props and accent flowers all add to the theme for anyone who wants to take things to that level.
“Centerpieces are an important part of an event, and no table is complete without it. It finishes the table,” Heimowitz emphasized. Centerpieces can be a do-it-yourself activity without costing a lot of money, and he urged people to start in their garage and storage areas since what they have already is free. After that, try low-cost stores—dollar stores, Five Below, Amazing Savings and even Home Depot and IKEA can be a gold mine of centerpiece add-ons. He also advised people to keep their mind open to potential. “Many times, color can be adjusted with a can of spray paint, so look beyond face value of an object.”
But Heimowitz also offered cautionary advice, based on his own experience—the most elaborate and beautiful centerpieces will eventually take backstage to the food, and the guests’ desire to talk across the table. Keep the size of the centerpiece in mind, because the hostess may feel a need to remove it should it be too cumbersome. “Low, small centerpieces are the current trend,” he described.
Heimowitz encouraged hosts not to fear disposables in hosting their seudah. “Disposables have some great options to add flair but keep things manageable.” He suggested splurging on one accent piece—maybe a cool, patterned plate, or fun napkins, while keeping the rest of the table settings standard and doable.
True to Heimowitz’s words, many families who have embraced the themed-seudah trend have gone all out and gotten creative in a variety of ways. Themes have included Italian food, Persian food—as a tribute to the setting of the Purim story—and Shabbos-type of food, with seudah favors including Shabbos-related giveaways.
So hosts and hostesses—go all out and be creative. And don’t forget to post to Facebook so friends can be inspired and jump on the Purim-seudah bandwagon for the next year.
Chag Purim Sameach!
By Jenny Gans