So you're having a party?
Planning tips for a fun rather than a 'work' day.
Whether you’re planning a small dinner party or a 4th of July blowout, planning ahead can help you streamline the day so you can focus on what's important, enjoying time with your guests. And avoid those last minute runs to the store for forgotten items. Writing up your game plan gives you an opportunity to review and ensure that all is accounted for, from the food, to decor, to end of party cleanup.
What are the key things to keep in mind when planning a gathering?
Number of guests
First, who’s coming? By this we don’t mean whether you should invite your auntie’s best friend, who you haven’t seen in years or the neighbor who you chat with every day. Get an idea of the number of people you intend to host. Now, this might be dependent on the kind of party you are looking to have and of course your budget. This will help to plan the menu, amount of beverages needed and guide you to the items you need to stock up on such as plates, cups etc.
Determine the type of party
Estimate the number of guests that will attend.
The type of party that you’re planning to have will help narrow the menu menu options. A cocktail party, a sit down dinner, a potluck or a cookout will likely all require different types of dishes. For a cookout for example, you may want to have a couple of meat options, vegetable side dishes and of course dessert. Choose dishes that can be made or prepped in advance so that there is minimal work the day of the event. Knowing the dietary restrictions of your guests will allow you to plan accordingly so that everyone gets fed.
Have vegetarian or vegan dishes that are complete and hearty options but can also do double duty as side dishes for meat eaters. This reduces the number of dishes you’ll have to make.
Be sure to have a few bites ready to go for when your guests arrive, even if you are planning on cooking while they are present - like during a cookout. This way no one is hungry.
Decide the type of party you are hosting.
Consider dietary restrictions of guests.
Choose dishes that can be made or prepped in advance.
Have both non-alcohol and alcohol options available. Prepare punches in big batches ahead of time to have ready for when your guests arrive and you can even give them fun names.
Prep big batches of punch ahead of time.
Have both alcohol and non-alcohol options read.
The things that we tend to think of at the last minute tend to add to the stress of hosting an event. Outlining everything you need from materials, to drinks, to ingredients helps you to just execute when the time is ready. So be sure to add items such as serving platters, plates, cups, cutlery, serving utensils, and any decor needs to your list. Perhaps you have everything needed in stock already but reviewing prior to your event goes a long way to ensuring you’re enjoying your party rather than running around crazy. Don’t forget cleanup items such as garbage bags, and paper towels.
Make a list of everything you’ll need by category.
Here are some resources to help you on your way.