When I think of Germany, I think of their culture of gemütlichkeit. Gemütlichkeit (literally “comfort” or “hospitality”) generally involves mixture of music, food, and drink to create a relaxed, friendly atmosphere. When you are throwing an Oktoberfest party, you want every aspect to contribute to the feeling of Gemutlichkeit, not work against it, so anything that is too fussy or formal needs to go! These laid-back homemade Oktoberfest decorations add just the right amount of festivity to your dinner table.
Even though my cousin and I had a guest list of 15, we wanted to preserve a cozy atmosphere, so we pushed several tables together to make one long feasting table.
Because the party was meant to be very relaxed, we just used disposable plates, napkins, and tablecloths in the colors of the German flag. Who wants to spend all the prime, post-dinner party time washing up dishes, anyway?
Each adult at the party got a large glass stein, purchased from the dollar store, to hold their beverage of choice. The steins are crucial for the pre-meal “Prost!” The traditional Oktoberfest toast is this: Eins! Zwei! Drei! G’suffa! Pronounced like “Ines, Zvi, Dry, Zoofah!”, it means “One, Two, Three! Drink up!”
Guests were also greeted at their seats with a stamped place card that assigned them a German name for the duration of the evening. On the back of the place cards, we wrote some funny German sayings that the guests were asked to try and translate. Did you know that the German idiom for “it fits like a glove” translates as “it fits like a fist in the eye?”
The centerpieces were simply informal arrangements of fall colored flowers in German-style pub glasses that I also found at the dollar store.
The other table decorations were German related items we already owned: German beer coasters, decorative steins, and brass dachshunds (dachshunds are the official mascot of Oktoberfest).
If you don’t have authentic German souvenirs to use as décor, any fall decorations will work. Layer them on top of a Bavarian-themed stamped table runner, serve up the delicious food, and your guests will be laughing and toasting before you know it. Sehr gemütlich!