The world is finally getting back into the swing of things, and that includes social gatherings. Parties are finally back in vogue, and we have to admit, our party skills have gotten a little rusty since the last time we hosted or attended one. Never fear; we’ve got all you would-be party hosts covered with a list of party hosting and catering tips and ideas to keep even the most basic among you from committing a party faux pas. Whether you’re super fancy and buy cheese products online in Los Angeles or wherever you live (because honestly; what is a party without cheese?) or whether you’re more of a “theme party” kind of person, we’ve got some advice that will help you take your party to the next level. Read on for the details!
Keep It Simple
Now, don’t confuse simple with basic. You can keep an event simple and still have it lavishly decorated with a gourmet menu, for example. There is nothing worse than being all dressed up and geared up to attend the party you’ve been waiting weeks for, only to find out that it is an overly complicated “you sit here, she sits there”, a hundred starters and menu options or (god forbid) murder mystery type event. We’re only joking about the murder mystery thing…kind of.
What we are saying is, do whatever you’re going to do in a simple, smooth flowing manner. Guests come to a party to relax and have fun, not to follow a rigid set of complicated rules that they probably didn’t sign up for. Whatever your event is like, be it a formal dinner party, a get-together to watch a football game, a dress-up Halloween party, or a birthday celebration, keep things simple. The simpler the event, the less frazzled you’ll get while planning it, and the more you’ll be able to relax and enjoy it too, instead of stressing out over every minute little detail of your extensive plan.
Commit To Your Purpose
Choose your theme, style, or event “purpose” and stick with it. This will make all the rest of the party planning much easier for you, and then deciding what to wear and what to bring or what to expect is much easier for your guests. Let’s say you’re throwing a Superbowl party. Put that on the invitation, and don’t change your mind. Your guests will know it’s casual, that they’ll be relaxing, laughing, shouting, and snacking on finger foods, and they’ll dress and prepare accordingly. They’ll know what sort of drinks and snacks to bring (if you’ve asked your guests to contribute, which is more than fine!) and they’ll be in the right frame of mind when they arrive, which is so important when attending any social event.
Likewise, if you’ve gone for a formal salon or dinner party, make that clear to guests well in advance. They’ll have time to get a beautiful outfit together and be ready to make the conversation around a table. Deciding early on if you’re including children in your invitation or not, is crucial as well, as any parents attending will need to make other arrangements for their kids if they aren’t invited. Don’t mess your guests around with last-minute changes. Ensure that all the details of your event are clear on your invitation and encourage guests to reach out beforehand if they have any questions.
Whether you’re having your event catered or making the party nibbles yourself (well done!), there are a few things that you must consider long before the day of the event rolls around. The most significant food consideration is dietary requirements. Having a guest keel over, stone dead because they got a peanut laced entree that they weren’t supposed to will definitely put a damper on things!
If you’re having a sit-down dinner, provide menu options for vegan and meat-eating guests alike. Provide a space in the invitation or an email address and ask guests to write to you with any allergies or other dietary requirements (we know you don’t actually have a gluten allergy, Susan, not you.) when they RSVP. This will give you enough time to work everyone’s needs into your menu and budget. Do the same if you’re having a party with finger foods only: this won’t be as much of an issue as there should be a wide selection of clearly labeled dishes on any finger-foods table. The labeling of these dishes is imperative: for the reasons mentioned in the first paragraph of this section. The same goes for drinks: find out if there’s a need for alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks and provide carefully and accordingly.
If you are cooking anything yourself, read over all your recipes thoroughly the week of the party and make notes about what needs to be prepared and when. You’ll thank us on the day of the party when your schedule is all worked out, and there are no last-minute food hiccups.
These might seem like really basic tips and ideas, but these basics are the foundation of any good event. Get these basics right, and all of your other preparations will just fall into place.