From The Experts: 

US Open Entertaining Ideas

We asked four of the most creative party-planning pros in the industry how to turn a tennis-themed soirée into a grand slam.

 

The last days of summer may be dwindling, but that just means one of our favorite sporting events is about to kick off: the US Open! And you don’t have to be in the seats of Arthur Ashe to enjoy all the excitement. This summer has been all about entertaining for us here at JMC, and the US Open is the perfect excuse to throw a party. Because aren’t parties better when the ball is in your court? 


But there’s a fine line between chic and cheesy when it comes to a theme party, so we tapped four of the top event planners in the industry to share their clever ideas for giving your US Open viewing party the advantage. And after careful deliberation, the party-planning officials have called it: personalization and customization are key for elegant, elevated tennis parties. 

 

“We threw a tennis-themed birthday party for a client who loves the sport—the theme was ‘40-love.’ The event signage had cute puns (‘we serve you desserts’ for example) and we required tennis-themed attire for the party. It was on the lawn and all the guests wore white—like Wimbledon. The birthday girl, we’ll say, received multiple tennis bracelets and solver frames for gifts.”

Jung Lee, Fête

Get out your tennis whites and start warming up the court—er, oven—because we’ve got so many stylish US Open party ideas in store (and a few more tennis puns too.)

1. Pick Your Game Time

As a multi-day event, the US Open is obviously not something you can entertain for in its entirety, so choosing specific high-profile matches or events, like the semi-finals and finals is the way to go. Even then, one match can go on for hours if there are rain delays, so choose a start time slightly before the match is scheduled to begin so your guests can enjoy a cocktail and hors d'oeuvre before the first game begins. (You can also invite guests to stop briefly to watch a game or two, and come and go as they please throughout the match.)

2. Set the Table with Clever Decor

“If you have a ping pong table, use that as a buffet table. And if not, you can lay sod on a table if you cover it, and use that as a way to set up your whole entire buffet. (Obviously, you would want to cover the table with some sort of protective plastic and then put the sod down on top.)—Eddie Ross, Maximalist Studios


“Order colored tennis balls or get something printed on them, like a monogram, and put them all in a big bowl as a centerpiece. Or you can get old tennis trophies on eBay.”—Lulu Powers

“If you’re doing passed hors d'oeuvres, get a white tray from West Elm or Crate & Barrel, put felt on the bottom of it and paint it like a tennis court with permanent marker in white or silver.”—Keren Precel, Simply Perfect Events

“We went to a party where they were using tennis racquets as serving trays to pass hors d'oeuvres, which was very cute. And it was nice because it had a handle for the servers!”—Eddie Ross

Photograph by Jake Rosen via BroadStreet

3. Serve Snacks that Last

“I wouldn't do a grazing table—cheeses and meat don’t hold up after an hour. I’d do something that feels totally summery and fresh, is very easy to eat and is still refreshing, even if it sits out for a few hours. Like summer salads that incorporate fruits, like a burrata and beet salad or an heirloom tomato and corn salad—even lamb lollipops. Things that you can serve at room temperature and don’t have to get up to prepare or refresh during the match. Because especially with those long matches in the final, you want to savor every moment.”—Keren Precel, Simply Perfect Events


“Individual-sized desserts shaped like tennis balls, or a cake of a racquet topped by a molten chocolate tennis ball.” - Jung Lee, Fête

Tennis ball macaroons by Macarahrah, courtesy Spaceships and Laserbeams

4. Make the Cocktails a Smash

“The Fête team adores an ice, shaved limoncello formed in a sphere. “ —Jung Lee


“A Round Robin would be a cute name for a tennis cocktail—[something that you could make as a large format cocktail with mint], like a caipirinha. I would definitely set up a cocktail bar where it’s self-serve so people are doing it themselves, and you’re not waiting on them nonstop.” —Eddie Ross


“Name cocktails after Tennis players.”—Lulu Powers 


“The US Open, apart from being known for tennis, is known for its signature cocktails, and every year they have a branded cup that some people collect. One of the cocktails that we like to make during the summer is a cocktail that’s very famous at the US Open, the Honey Deuce. It has small melon balls inside that look like tennis balls.”—Keren Precel

courtesy, Grey Goose Vodka

 

How to Make a Honey Deuce, the signature cocktail of the US Open, by Grey Goose Vodka

 

Ingredients:

1 ¼ oz Grey Goose(R) Vodka

3 oz Fresh Lemonade

½ oz Chambord ® raspberry liqueur

3 Honeydew Melon Balls

 

Method: 

1. Fill a chilled highball glass with cubed ice and add Grey Goose Vodka.

2. Top with fresh lemonade and raspberry liqueur

3. Garnish with a skewer of 1 or multiple frozen honeydew melon balls

 

5. Ace the Attire

“We threw a tennis-themed birthday party for a client who loves the sport—the theme was ‘40-love.’.. We required tennis-themed attire for the party. It was on the lawn and all the guests wore white—like Wimbledon.” — Jung Lee

6. Score Points with Takeaways

“For takeaways, anything branded, like branded hats with the US Open logo on it would be cute If I had a US Open party, I would replicate the collector’s cup that they have every year, but write the family name on it.”—Keren Precel

“We like to use ready-made things that are somewhat in theme. For example, [tennis-player Maria Sharpova’s brand] Sugarpova makes green tennis ball candy. It’s something super chic and expensive." —Keren Precel

“I like the social portion and competitive spirit of any Open. The clean lines of the court, the preppy attire and the fun sunglasses make spectating tennis all the more enjoyable. But it’s the fire in the players and the friendly-classy competition that inspires me.”

—Jung Lee

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