The holiday season is full of gatherings and parties and it is always fun to throw one of your own! Opening your home to your tribe of friends can seem stressful, but it really does not have to be. A well planned and organized cocktail party should be fun for your guests AND for you as the host. We have some tips for hosting an effortless cocktail party that is all about enjoying great conversation, good food and fabulous drinks without all of the usual stress that can come from being the hostess.
Be Clear on the Invite
Your invite sets the tone for the entire event and gives your guests their directions for attire, formality and time and place for the event. Although there are many inexpensive invitation services like Evite and Facebook events, but if time and budget allow a mailed paper invitation immediately elevates your party.
Be clear about the expected dress. A cocktail party can range from casual to formal and you want to make sure that your guests are aware of what you are planning. This allows them to dress for the occasion and people feel much more comfortable when they know they are dresses appropriately for the event they are attending.
Another part of the invitation to make sure is crystal clear is timing. A cocktail party is a pre or post dinner event, so it is nice to communicate the start and end time and mention what will be served. For example, a post dinner party may be cocktails and desserts. This allows your guests to make dinner plans before or after your party and ensures they are not showing up expecting dinner.
Even an intimate party requires a lot of planning. Pre-planning everything allows you to create a schedule for yourself and keeps things moving forward. About a month prior to the event sit down and make an overall plan that includes everything from décor to food and drink. From that plan you can break up everything you have to do into a schedule, so that all of your tasks are not left to the last minute.
This is a great time to enlist a couple of girlfriends who love to plan parties and get their input. It is also much more fun to shop for décor and plan your cocktails with the input of your best friends.
Consider Hiring Help
After you have your master plan determine if you can execute it on your own, or if you want to bring in some professional help. Some key people you could hire to take things off of your plate are:
House Keeper/Cleaner: This is could be a pre and post party hire that can get your home party ready and then come in and get it back to normal after the festivities are over.
Caterer: If you just want to sit back and enjoy and have nothing to do with the food beyond menu planning a caterer is the way to go! They can work with you to come up with the perfect menu and you do not have to lift a finger.
Bartender: If you are serving anything more than wine, beer and champagne a bartender is almost a must have. The will be able to offer mixed drinks and even create a custom cocktail for your event. If you are the one managing and replenishing the bar it can take you away from your guests almost as much as food preparation.
Servers: Servers are a nice way to keep the party space tidy and make sure there are other people who are looking out for your guests’ comfort besides you. If you hire a caterer or a bartender you could inquire if they also provide servers.
Keep It Simple
Our final piece of advice is to keep it simple. The entire point of throwing a cocktail party is to bring your friends together and enjoy their company. If you are the one preparing all the food and drink, plan a menu that is easily prepared in advance. During the festivities you do not want to be prepping food in the kitchen and missing time with your guests. Also, your friends are there to spend time with you and they will care more about the great conversation they have with you over the complicated drinks, or elaborate décor.
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