I love to cook which also means I love to entertain! I grew up with lots of parties and my grandma would love to celebrate just about every holiday with a family get-together. I am lucky to have been around so many parties. Through the years of observing those parties and throwing lots of my own, I have 10 essential tips for throwing an epic party at home that I want to share with you!
Tip #1: Serve a Meal
I have found that if you want people to stay and really enjoy and savor your party, it is best to serve a meal. The meal need not be fancy, complicated or expensive, but if you serve a meal, people will love your party! It can be as simple as a main dish, side dish & one platter such as veggies and fruit. Choose breakfast, lunch or dinner and you are set! If you want to be creative, focus on one special item to make, such as a cake, or the guest of honor's favorite main dish. I have learned through the years that it is best not to make more than one complicated dish for a party. That way, you can enjoy the party too!
Tip #2: Let Everyone Know when Food will be Served:
It is important to note either on the invitation or when people arrive when the food will be served. If you already have your food ready, buffet style to be served when people arrive, you may let them know to help themselves to the food right away. If you are planning on having appetizers, please let everyone know when the main course is to be served. This helps people plan before coming to a party.
Tip #3: Make Sure to Have Plenty of Drinks:
Guests really appreciate having a selection of drinks to choose from and it makes them feel very welcome. Make sure to have a variety of sodas, (regular & diet) juice or punch for the kids, water and any other drinks you think guests might enjoy.
Tip #4: Use Real Plates/Silverware:
In an effort to save money on paper goods and also to reduce, reuse and recycle- it is a great idea to use real plates, silverware and cloth napkins as much as possible. At my son's last birthday party we did use paper plates, but we used real silverware and cloth napkins. This way, we didn't throw away a lot of plastic ware and we saved money on those goods so that we could provide more food and drinks.
Tip #5: Set up A Busing/Recycling Station:
Make sure that you have designated areas for guests to put their plates, cups and silverware when they are done with them. Also, make sure to set up bags/boxes for guests to deposit their empty cans and bottles for recycling. If you use paper products make sure there is also a trash can near the recycling/busing station.
Tip #6: Have a Place for Guests to Store Coats/Purses:
Plan ahead which room, closet or area you would like guests to store their coats, purses or bags. This will make it easier for you when guests ask where to put their things upon arrival.
Tip #7: Provide Snacks/Food for Adults & Kids:
If you are having a party that is primarily for children, if adults are expected to stay with their child, make sure that they have food/snacks/drinks/a piece of cake or cupcake too. Parents are special guests too and they love it when they feel included. Make sure that your guest count includes both adults and kids for your food budget.
Tip #8: Make Sure there is Plenty of Seating:
Make sure there are plenty of chairs for people to sit in. When it is an indoor/outdoor party it works well to bring out your dining chairs as well as any folding chairs you may have. People feel most welcome when there are plenty of places to sit.
Tip #9: BBQ Tips:
If you are hosting a barbecue, please let guests know how long snack/appetizer hour will be. Make sure to let guests know when to expect the main barbecued foods to be ready. This is so very helpful so that guests know when to arrive and what to expect.
Tip #10: Top 5 Items to Plan for:
The following are the most important things to consider when planning a party:
1. Number of guests.
2. Time and Date
3. Theme/Occasion/Guest of Honor
If you plan for all of these ahead of time, you will know what to expect and so will your guests. When you begin planning your party, be sure to fill in the information for these 5 items and you will be well on your way to throwing an epic party!
Bonus Tip #11: Menu Planning:
Here are some quick ideas for planning a party menu so that there will be plenty of choices for both adults and kids at your party.
1. Main Dish: Pick a main dish that can be made ahead or purchased.
2. Vegetable/Dip Platter: This is often a hit with kids and adults alike. Dress it up with different types of hummus.
3. Fruit Bowl/Salad/Platter: Lots of people love fruit and it makes a great centerpiece.
4. Chips/Crackers: These are often great to have to round out a meal and a great snack if you are waiting for barbecued meats to finish cooking on the grill.
If you have those 4 elements at your party you will have plenty of variety and will be sure to have foods that guests will love.
I hope you enjoyed this post and got some good tips! If you loved it pass it on to a friend who loves parties!