Although this is going to be focused on the Gators, everything can be purchased in different colors or with your team's mascot :)
First I have to say that when I was accepted to the University of Florida, I had no clue what game days were like or whether we were even good at sports. My decision was based clearly on 3 things: Is it in Florida? (Obviously, yes. I had this thing about going to the warm weather and a big school because they were so opposite of where I grew up) Is the campus pretty? (YES, gorgeous!) and Would I feel comfortable and safe here? (Yes and yes, a friend of mine from high school went there as well)
I know it seems ridiculous that the education wasn't on that list, but I was going for my Chemistry degree (Lord knows what I was thinking at the time...) and I figured Chem is Chem, regardless of what school. Fast forward 4 years, I experienced 4 National Championship wins (2 football, 2 basketball), met my future husband, made ridiculously awesome friends, got a duel degree in Anthropology and Criminology, and somehow managed to stay alive while going out 4-5 nights/week and passing with honors. Whew! I think I got pretty lucky :)
So before I get into my favorite tailgating essentials, here are a few snippets from my college experience. You can see my friend and I sporting jorts and a jirt (jean skirt = jirt?)... While girls from other Southern universities and Florida sororities were dressing to the hilt and being super pretty, I was one of the many girls who didn't feel like wearing all that jazz while standing in sweltering heat, in the Swamp, for 4+ hours. Now I like to dress up but probably because we're watching the games indoors.
Aside from your typical tailgating essentials, like a grill and actual food, here are some of my favorite ways to personalize a tailgate or if you're us, a game-viewing party at our house!
1. Gameday Dress
Judith March, Natalie Kim, and Mudpie have gameday collections with lots of cute dresses that come in various colors to match your team. Look for boutiques that carry their designs or find them online!
2. Rebecca Minkoff 'Mini M.A.C.' Shoulder Bag
Cross-body bags make eating, drinking, and playing cornhole much easier. This bag comes in a lot of colors, but I consider it a splurge especially if you're buying an obscure color like orange. Target has a lot of cheaper crossbody bag options, like this for $20!
3. Cornhole Boards
Cornhole, or 'Bags' depending on where you live, is a must at a tailgate. It's easy to play and some people
4. Diana Kelly Monica Wedge with Alligator Brooch
Diana is a fellow Gator, went to high school with my husband, and is a really successful businesswoman with her own line of gorgeous shoes! Sorry non-Gator fans, there are other brooches but these Gators are the only ones that relate to a college football team unless your mascot is an elephant, turtle, or starfish!
5. Tervis Tumblers
I've talked about Tervis tumblers before in my workout favorites, but there are great for tailgates too. They can hold your morning coffee and/or your beer later in the day, plus they are indestructible so if you commit a party foul, your cup will survive.
6. Paper Straws
There are tons of Etsy vendors selling every possible color and design of paper straws you could ask for. Striped. Chevron. Polkadots. I would get them in every color if it were more acceptable to have a cupboard full of colorful straws.
7. Crate & Barrel Stick Beer Can Holders (On sale now... bonus!)
We have these, the wine glass version here, and another set of drink holders from Target. They are great if you're tailgating in the grass but don't want little tables sitting around everywhere.
8. Haymarket Designs Monogrammed Collegiate Koozies
If you're not drinking out of a Tervis, what could be better than using a monogrammed koozie with your favorite team's design?! You can pick your monogram style, colors, etc. or get the wine tote here. Order early because it takes a while before they get to you.
Bunting or Garland (Not pictured)
By now you probably know that i love bunting and garland of all sorts. Decorate the food table at your tailgate with burlap bunting with your team's name on it, tissue paper garland, felt garland, or a fabric banner. Whatever you use, it will make an otherwise boring table look festive!
And, I leave you with this photo of Tim Tebow as he was walking over to hug me after the game. Yeah, right. ha!
If you haven't yet, make sure to enter Home Sweet Ruby's first giveaway for Halloween bunting here! Giveaway closes on Friday night!