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Party Planning 101

It's that time of year again; time for our annual February cocktail party!

You may have noticed (also if you follow me on Facebook), I've been sprucing up the place in anticipation - first the outside, then the mantel.

I love to host a good party, but I must admit, they require quite a bit of work, so I thought I might share some of my tips for (hopefully) hosting a stress-free party!

Note: I am fully aware that this post is going to bring my anal-retentive tendencies front and center for everyone to see.

The secret to a stress-free party is to PLAN, everything.

1. Food


We are planning for approximately 50 guests, so we'll need a fair amount of food; fortunately, it's only canapes, which I don't find to be too daunting. I'll be planning 7 different hearty apps: 2 meat, 2 cheese, 2 seafood, 1 veggie as well as a couple nibbles, like chips/nuts/popcorn.

Check back later in the week when I finally decide on the specifics.

2. Beverages


This is a cocktail party so our main focus will be on cocktails, although we will still supply wine and beer as well. Of course, we'll have a variety of non-alcoholic options too!

No cocktail party would be complete without a signature drink - we're planning two!
The Whiskey Snowball (you may remember it from this post) to start and a Peppermint Patty served with the desserts.

3. Serveware

Great White Oval Serving Platters
Pottery Barn

The last thing you want on the day of your party is to discover you are short a couple of platters or glasses. I like to lay my platters out with their corresponding cutlery in advance to make sure I like how they work together, are the right size, etc.

My husband thinks this step is crazy, but I find it to be very helpful.

4. Traffic Flow and Staging

It's not every day you have an extra 50 people meandering around your home - chances are some things will have to be moved, extra seating brought in, space cleared for food and drinks, etc.

Unfortunately, in our older home, we don't have an open floor plan - the rooms are segmented, but you've got to work with what you've got! So I plan to do a cocktail bar in the breakfast room, a wine station in the living room, and most of the food in the dining room.
I like to think it encourages mingling! But really, I don't have much of a choice - gotta work with what I  have!

Now that I've written this post I am definitely feeling like I need to finalize the menu. Check back tomorrow to see if I get it all done!

Until next time,

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