share with your friends

Party Planning For Beginners & Enthusiasts

Party Planning For Beginners & Enthusiasts

Party Planning For Beginners & Enthusiasts

Whether you volunteered, or by the nature of relations inherited the job, you are in charge of having a party to celebrate something. Think positive! This is supposed to be fun. We'll help. If you've done it many times or never ever before, read on.

Today there are many types of parties to choose from: brunch, lunch, tea, cocktail party, dessert party, buffet, sit down dinner, potluck, soup and sandwich buffet, picnic or BBQ to name a few. You decide which style will be most comfortable and do-able for you.

Leave Your Super-hostess Apron on the Hook
Creative is good, but be realistic. Do the party basics, then concentrate on what you enjoy about parties the most. For example, you might have a flair for food presentation or complicated desserts or decorating. Keep your favorite activity in mind when selecting your type of party, theme and menu.

Happy Helpers
Create a list of jobs you feel comfortable doling out. When someone asks, "What can I do to help?" you'll have an answer. When planning a large important event, get a definite commitment or hire outside professionals to fill in the gaps you won't be able to handle.

A job you might not have thought of is that of designated food timekeeper, who will take food away during parties that has been out too long, so you can concentrate on enjoying your guests.

The Right Menu Mentality
Fit the menu to the guests. Gourmet might be perfect to impress the boss but a gaggle of teens would probably protest. Fit the menu to your kitchen and to your capabilities. How many you will be feeding is very important and what you can realistically accomplish. How much refrigerator, oven and counter space do you need to accomplish each task?

Danger Zone for Food Safety
It is imperative that hot food is kept at 140 ºF and above and cold at 40 ºF or below. Consider renting large chafing dishes to hold hot food at the correct serving temperature especially if it is a very large party. Two hours is the maximum that food should be left out at room temperature, this includes the time spent out of refrigeration for preparation. After 2 hours, announce that the food is being moved to the refrigerator. This is where the designated timekeeper comes in handy.

Don't set out perishable foods until guests start arriving. Remember the 2- hour limit. Have snacks like a relish tray, nuts, or other dry snacks available for early guests. Offer first guests beverages and bring out perishable food after most have arrived.

It is a good idea to make small trays of food so they can be swapped out. A smaller fresh tray of food is more appealing than a half-empty large tray anyway. Do not mix the old with the fresh food.

The Best Chilling Trick in the World
For big serving bowls, freeze smaller water-filled plastic bowls with lids, which can fit in the bottom of the big serving bowl and be hidden by a small plate or food during the party. Or freeze a re-sealable freezer bag of water in serving bowl for a perfect fit if the bowl is freezer safe. When frozen, remove the bowl from the freezer and return the frozen bag. At party -time place the frozen bag in the bottom of the serving bowl and cover it with a small plate, which fits neatly into the bowl. For platters, freeze water-filled re-sealable freezer bags laid out flat in the freezer to place under platters. They will last anywhere from 2-4 hours at about a half to three-quarters inch thick.

A Little Detailing Makes All the Difference
Prevent last minute stage fright by setting out the serving dishes a day or so ahead and make a mental or written note of what will go in each dish. This way you will know if you have enough dishes and serving utensils. Also, check for cleanliness, if they have been stored for some time.

Don't scrimp on paper plates or plastic-ware. Sturdy disposables can prevent a potential mess from collapsing paper plates.

Even the dullest food can appear enticing with some thought to presentation. Look at the colors, textures and flavors when setting the food table. Platters are better than bowls for presentation purposes. A few minutes spent designing well-chosen fruit or vegetable garnishes can make a difference. Parsley has been done and there are so many other easy garnishes made from stuff in your refrigerator, like lemons or carrots. Maximize Refrigerator Space
Prep all of the food you can in advance and store in separate plastic bags instead of plastic ware that stack easily in the refrigerator and require no cleanup. Label each bag carefully as you may have identical foods in different recipes. Group recipe ingredient bags together in plastic grocery sacks for last minute assembly.

Be Gracious to Grateful Guests
You worked hard on this party. Accept praise graciously, by saying, "You're so welcome, thank you for coming" and take notes if you want to make your next party even better.




Kathy D. from Rochester, MN

I'm a veteran entertainer & these are great tips (especially the safety tips, like freezing small covered bowls of water). This entire Entertaining Tips section is very good.

Thank you for subscribing to the newsletter!

You will start receiving emails filled with delicious recipes and cooking tips shortly.

What’s for dinner?

The answer is easy with our most popular recipes!
Sign up for our newsletter.

See example email PRIVACY