Whether you’re throwing a pregame tailgate, intimate dinner party or a holiday party for friends and family, indulge yourself in the spirit as you plan the get-together. Some people are masters at throwing together a last-minute soiree without panicking. Others would never contemplate having any type of event without a lot of lists and planning. Regardless of which category you fall into, here are some tips to make it as stress-free as possible:
Start as early as possible, get organized, and make lists. Create a plan of action. Writing up a schedule listing each step, from grocery shopping to prepping ingredients, will help cut down on last-minute stress and minimize forgotten details. Plus, planning a menu well in advance allows time to think things through, preventing any less-than-ideal ideas, such as a menu that depends on last-minute assembly, from becoming a reality. Did you decide to have a last-minute dinner gathering? Or are you the one who will host the holiday party?
Create a guest list so that no one gets missed. If it is the holidays you are hosting, then the guest list should be relatively easy. Family? Friends? If you have decided to host a last-minute dinner party or euchre night, deciding which group of friends to invite is the next step.
Sending out the Invites:
As soon as you can, mail, email, or make phone calls so your guests can check schedules and get back to you as soon as possible. If you have chosen a fall euchre get-together, you definitely need an even number of couples to make play run smoothly. If one couple is not available, you will need to add to your guest list. When it comes to holiday dinners, there are often family members who will have to choose which invitation to accept. Some families rotate every other year. Knowing these facts before the holiday meal helps with seating arrangements.
Limiting Your Options:
Apply this principle to everything from food to decor to drinks as this simplifies preparation and planning. Doubling up on batches of food and drinks is easier than preparing multiple dishes and makes replenishing empty platters and pitchers a cinch. Plus, sticking to a holiday cocktail and specialty beer or wine rather than offering a full bar should also help cut back on costs.
Planning a Theme:
As previously mentioned, if it is a holiday meal you are planning, the theme is relatively easy. If you are thinking you want to host a sit-down dinner party that has an air of sophistication, this may take a little extra planning. Maybe a Great Gatsby event, or how about a murder mystery dinner? What about a milestone birthday? How about a casino night?
Planning a menu is so simple if you are planning a holiday meal. Just plan around your family’s favorites. Many family holiday meals are pot luck, and everyone brings a family dish. Consider the guests you invited when planning your menu. Design a menu that will please all involved. If you are planning a euchre night, consider appetizers and cocktails. Maybe create a specialty drink. Offer a specialty bar with upscale liquors and coffee drinks or set up a blender for a twist on cocktail concoctions.
If you are not planning on having tables for everyone to sit at, remember to plan for some stand-up cocktail tables and maybe lounge-type seating for your guests’ comfort. If you are planning a euchre event, you may need to borrow additional card tables with chairs. Not everyone is comfortable eating while standing up.
House Party Planning:
When hosting the party at your home, remember the details. Place an arrival punch or champagne at your front entrance. Place flowers or a fragrant candle in the bathroom as well as hand towels. Never place fragrant candles in your kitchen or around food, as the competition of scents may be too much. Plan lighting and music. Your guests will notice the details.
Set up as much as possible, as early as possible. Put out tableware and platters the night before. Prevent any last-minute scrambles to find an extra platter or replace a broken dish by taking inventory the night before. Set up trash bin/garbage areas if necessary to control the mess and make cleanup easier. Plan ahead for returnables. Set a designated area to collect those bottles and cans.
Don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s party time! Once the food is served and the drinks are poured, the only thing that matters is having a good time. No one will know the difference if something doesn’t turn out as planned. If the host is relaxed and happy, the guests will follow suit.