Tips And Treats
Party Planning Tips
Want to be the ultimate hostess and throw the best Parties? It isnt always as easy as it looks, but it can be done. There are many details to pay attention to, from the invitations, to the menu, the theme, and the activities.
Our tips touch on all of these subjects. Follow them to impress your guests!
Last Updated - 12th October 2005
- To make your dinner party a bit more formal, set name tags at each place setting to assign seats for your guests. You can use regular note cards, and if youre on a budget you can add swirls or flower designs using glitter pens to make them more fun and attractive.
- If you are inviting people who dont all know each other, make sure to place families together, or friends next to one another. This way they can mingle with new guests without feeling uncomfortable.
- Always have a decorative center piece. Flowers, candles and small figurines are always a good way to go. However, its not the best idea that your center piece be bigger than 12 inches high. Guests need to be able to see each other across the table!
- Invitations are the first part of creating a buzz and excitement for your party! Do something special with them; you can buy pre-made ones at a local party store, or you can decorate them yourself with stamps, paint and glitter. Try something new, such as having custom cookies baked with the party info written on them, or sending out a burned CD with an audio message, as well as you and your friends favorite tracks on them.
- Consider the tastes and eating habits of your guests when planning the menu. If you have a friend who is a vegetarian, cook up a few veggie burgers along with the regular hamburgers. If one of your relatives is on a low carb diet, include something that doesnt have carbs on the menu.
- Make sure to plan your menu out completely a week or two in advanced, depending on the type of food you plan to serve. This leaves time for any last minute changes that may be needed.
- Try to make some things the night before the party. Take a look at your menu, and decide what can survive the night and what cant. Most deserts and refrigerated foods, such as deviled eggs, are better when served chilled, and definitely should be made the night before.. As for the main course, that you will want to prepare the day of.
- If you are preparing a dish youve never made before, always test it before you serve it to your guests. A few days before the party, bake one that you dont plan on giving to your guests. Try it yourself and let your family try it as well. If they dont like it, chances are your guests wont either.
- Party games are always fun, but make sure you know the personalities of your guests. Some people arent comfortable with games such as charades, so a board game or a word game is the way to go.
- If children will be attending your get together, make sure you have several things that will keep them entertained. Coloring books, toys and video tapes should be on hand.
- Dont forget to serve your drinks. As a host or hostess, it is only polite to to refill any drinks and restock the food if it runs out.
- You dont have to have a DJ at a party to have great music. Burn a CD of music that will set a mood for the party. Put it on repeat, or put several in a multi disc changer.
- Give your party a theme! If its more formal, how about a color theme? Black and white parties are becoming very popular at the moment. Or try using a decade as a theme. Chances are your guests will remember your party for this reason.
- If your party is outside, make sure to give your guests options as to what environment theyre in. There should be a shaded area, and a non shaded area, as well as an inside area. Make sure there are comfortable chairs, and something to keep bugs and mosquitos away. Sun screen should also be available, if its during hot weather.
- At the end of the night, give your guests a small gift. It should be something that helps them remember the occasion. If there is a theme to your party, the gift should definitely follow that. It can include a small food product, the recipe for one of the dishes you served, and even a small picture frame that they can put pictures from the party in.
- Allow variety in the foods you serve. For example, if your entrée is chicken with mango salsa, your dessert shouldnt be mango sherbet.
- A great way to make the setting and the food more attractive to your guests is to have a great color scheme. Try and find two or three colors that compliment each other, and base the look of your table setting around that. Your foods should also have a variety of colors in each dish.
- If you are planning a pot luck, its a good idea to find out what everyone is bringing ahead of time. If two guests are already bringing desserts, let your other guests know that they dont need to bring that particular entrée. The host should fill in any gaps in the menu accordingly.
- Have an idea of how you want the course of events to go before the party starts. It is a good idea to keep things flexible and spontaneous as well, but know what you want to accomplish and in what order. Having a few appetizers in the living room while chatting is a good way to start off the evening. Any other plans (such as karaoke, games, etc) should also come before the main dinner. After eating, most people will be a bit sluggish and prefer to chat around coffee.
- The most important part of being a good host or hostess is to be friendly and have fun yourself. Dont let plans and technicalities of throwing a party get in the way of mingling with your guests. That should be your first priority.
- Make sure to introduce people who dont know each other, and bring up something they have in common to break the ice between them. Dont spend more than 5 minutes talking to the same group of people, because it may make your other guests uncomfortable.
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