1. THE PREPARATION
There is nothing worse than facing the colossal pile of dishes in the aftermath of a party. For this reason, I always make sure that the dishwasher has been cleared and prepared for action before the party even begins. This way dishes can find their way to the washer as the party progresses rather than collecting in an intimidating pile.
2. A STRESS FREE KITCHEN
This is something that can’t be stressed enough — make sure the path to comfort and convenience is paved by getting as many tasks out of the way before the party even begins, this is why I wash all the dishes used in preparing the party beforehand.
Pro tip: Plan and prepare a dessert the day before, this way you only have to heat it up on the stove top just before serving. Furthermore, there will be less to do on the big day.
3. SETTING THE TABLE
I always admired my mother’s capacity to set a table that exquisitely reflected her good taste. Many of the tips and habits she applied have been reflected in my own parties and personal style. But I have taken things in my own direction.
For example, I have found that a more modern style of golds, whites, blacks and even brighter more festive colors suits the tones better. But if there is one thing that remains unchanged it is the importance of a beautiful and lavish centerpiece. Flowers can suit any type of festive get together and a two-flower assortment is both simple and highly attractive. My go-to combination? Anemones and ranunculus.
4. SPLURGE AND SAVE
Tableware can be a disproportionately costly aspect of the party planning but there are ways to splurge on some items and still save on others. For example, save by obtaining simple white flatware available at Target or Ikea are inexpensive and provide that classic neutral look that will suit any menu add some fun with props from Premierglow.com.
But you should splurge on the wine glasses. The last thing you want is to be serving Dom Perignon in plastic sippy cups. Furthermore, if you will be serving lavish drinks remember that the shape and style of the glass can greatly impact the drinking experience. Even though you should spend extra here, you will find many cost-effective options available from Target — even desirable Riedel Glasses can be sourced at a good price.
You can save or splurge on the placemats, napkins, tablecloths and linens as you see fit. Often you will find very attractive options available in 8 – 10-piece sets of matching linen. Check out Barrel, Sur La Table and West Elm for some very attractive options.
If you would like to exercise some creativity and also save some cash, you may find it a good idea to make your own linens. You can splurge or save according to your personal capacity and style. This is a great idea as your productions will always be a stylish addition to the event and a great way to make conversation. White or black napkins, brightly colored placemats and a table cloth of natural tones will go a long way to making your party a fun and festive spectacle.
5. THE MENU
The meal itself will depend on many different factors and you should plan accordingly. Unless you are a chef with great capacity and unlimited energy (and even if you are), ask everyone to bring a part of the meal for parties over 6 people. This will leave you with the responsibility of the main course. Make sure that you have assigned all the important dishes, but don’t get too picky about exactly what they will bring. As long as you have assigned salads, desserts and drinks, you are good to go.
If you will be cooking for 6 people or less, then a delicious pasta may be the best way to go. This meal will not have to be complicated and a delicious pasta with a good salad is all that is needed. Make sure you pair this with a great bottle of wine, like this fabulous La Crema Monterey Chardonnay!
And, never forget that it is always best to open a bottle of wine ahead of time.
6. TIMELINE OF THE PARTY
Of course, there is nothing better than filling the evening of festivities with other fun games and practices. You want there to be laughing and happiness from start to finish. This way your party will be the talk of the town for weeks and months to come. Here are some important checkpoints to hit on your way to a perfect party.
Start with appetizers — the classic cheese plate is a great way to begin the evening and accompany this with a lighter wine. La Crema Monterey Chardonnay is a great option. While you are serving appetizers and getting the party going, you should also be making sure that your dinner should be ready within about 30 to 45 minutes, any longer than this and your guests might start getting antsy.
Games — after dessert your guests will be relaxed and happy and this is a great time to play some games and boost their energy levels a bit. Some great options here include Mad Gab, Heads Up or Cards against Humanity.
7. OVERALL ENJOY!
There is nothing better than a well-planned party that ends with enjoyment and relaxation. Take some time to sit back and enjoy yourself and these fine moments with friends and family.
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