When planning a party, get the basics down first:
- Who is the party for? (business, family, friends)
- What’s the reason for the party? (theme, birthday, special occasion)
- When is the party?
- Where is the party going to be?
- How many people are you inviting?
- What type of party is it? (brunch, lunch, dinner, hors d’oeuvres, dessert, buffet, sit‑down meal)
LET’S START PLANNING
Use this party planning checklist to guide you through the details:
- Make list of people to invite.
- Mark the date on your calendar.
- Send invitations (by mail, e‑mail, or phone).
- Plan the menu, including the beverages.
- Make shopping list (food, paper goods, decorations).
- Plan cooking schedule: Determine what can be made ahead and frozen, day before, and that day, and what you are buying already prepared.
- Make list of equipment needed (rental chairs and table).
- Plan the layout of the rooms. (Make sure all the food tables are not right on top of each other to ensure smooth flow for people to mingle.)
- Plan music.
- Plan lighting.
- Buy or make a centerpiece or other decorations.
- Check your stock of cleaning supplies for before and after the party.
- Make sure you have all the platters and serving pieces you’ll need.
DURING THE PARTY
Here are some things to think about for your guests:
- Coat rack (hangers or a separate room to put coats)
- A place to put boots or umbrellas
- Ice, ice bucket, ice tongs, or scoop
- Cocktail napkins (2 per person)
- Paper towels
- Extra toilet paper
- Plates (appetizer, salad, dinner, dessert) ‑ you can order deli trays for your party!
- Glasses (water, wine, mixed drink, beer, soda, coffee); some beverages can use the same type of glass
- Silverware (Think through each course; a fresh spoon or stirrer is necessary for coffee.)
- If grilling, check the tank, charcoal, lighter fuel, bug spray, and citronella candles
- Coffee and assortment of tea bags
- Cream and sugar
- Salt and pepper
- Wine, beer, and soda chilled
- Wine and bottle opener
- Bar garnishes (lime, lemon, olive)
- Charged camera battery
- Garbage bags
- Dishwashing soap
- Club soda (for anything that may spill, a great spot remover)
- Space to chill beverages. It takes beer, wine, and soda 20 minutes to chill on ice. A large tub or cooler can be used in a back room.
TAKE PARTY NOTES
After any party, it’s a good idea to record in a journal how much was left over and what people liked and didn’t like. This information will be a big help when you plan your next gathering. Think of your party journal as a reference to look back on when you are trying to remember your boss’s favorite drink. That way you can have it at the next event.