How to Plan the Perfect Party

From the Kitchen

If you’re hosting an event, chances are you want it all: You want your guests to have a great time, you want the food to be delicious, and you want it to be as stress-free as possible. It actually is possible to plan the perfect party, and today we’d like to share with you our guide to doing just that. Here’s how to make sure everything goes off without a hitch:

 

2-3 Weeks Before 

 

Starting the party-planning process early will always make your life easier! Two to three weeks before your party, make an invite list, and pick a theme if you want one. This is also when you’ll want to start planning the menu, arranging for any help you’ll need, and sending invitations. Not sure how many people to invite? Pick a number that’s 20% more people than you have room for (typically only 70%-80% of your guest list will RSVP). Send invites by mail, phone, or email. Make, buy, or borrow decorations if it’s a theme party. Make a playlist appropriate for your party, and start cleaning things, such as the linens and china you’ll. Plan your menu by gathering recipes or contact a caterer. If you’re cooking yourself, do a first round of grocery shopping and cooking: At this point, you can prepare any dishes that can be frozen.

 

1 Week Before  

Clean the house thoroughly now so you can just do a once-over on the day of the party. Arrange furniture as you want it for the party, making sure guests can move around easily. Relocate anything breakable so it’s not in the line of fire. Set up your mood lighting using low-watt bulbs, candles, or dimmers. Plan cookware and serving dishes, buying or renting anything you need that you don’t already own. Stock the bar; plan for three bottles of wine for every four people or three to four cocktails per person for a cocktail party that’s two to three hours long.

 

3 Days Before  

Notify the neighbors if you expect things to get noisy or if parking will be an issue. Set up candles or decorations, and designate a place for coats. Either make room in a closet, set up a portable garment rack, or designate a bed in a tidy room. Be sure to remove valuables. Maintain privacy by removing anything from the medicine cabinet that you don’t want guests to see. You can also prepare yourself with cleaning supplies placed in strategic locations. A box of salt, club soda, rags, and Wine Away (red wine stain remover) are all great to have on hand.

 

1 Day Before  

This is the day to focus on the cooking. If you need to cook dishes the day of the party, you can prep food by chopping vegetables or marinating meats the day before. Buy and arrange flowers, and set up the buffet. If you’re working with a caterer, confirm when they’ll be dropping off dishes at your home or venue. Do a quick once-over to ensure everything is clean and ready for guests.

 

The Day of  

Finish cooking, and set out the food that won’t spoil. You can wrap food tightly in plastic wrap to keep it fresh, and remove it when the first guest rings the doorbell. Be sure to give yourself time to get ready, so you can greet your first guests, even if they are early. And most importantly, enjoy the party!

With a little planning and a good checklist, you can throw the perfect party without too much stress! Got the food covered yet?

We’d love to help!