Putting together an event of any kind can be stressful. As a professional events planner, I have planned corporate events, big and small, farm to table picnics and large-scale wedding receptions, so I know a thing or two about party planning and the stress that goes along with it.
Fall and winter are the most popular times for events – stating the obvious, it’s holiday season! So, whether you’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner for 20 or planning an ugly Christmas Sweater party, here are some of my top tips to make your party successful.
- Pay attention to the decor. Most people try to rush through the decorations to get straight to the food and beverage planning, but don’t! Your party will be all the talk in the break room next week at work if you spend time decorating thoughtfully. I have one word for you; Pinterest. Pinterest is your new decorating bff. Full of millions of inspirational pictures, DIYs and tips you never even thought of, you’ll find the advice you need to decorate like a pro.
- Plan for enough food. There’s nothing worse than being at a party and the food runs out. I was recently at a medium sized wedding reception and when we got up to the buffet line, they were out of the main courses! Needless to say, we left hungry and agitated because after a long wait, a little bit of rice pilaf and salad greens wasn’t going to cut it.
- Hand in hand with your decorations is your tablescape. Think about it – guests are seated here for possibly hours, so why not add little details and special touches right where they are sitting? I absolutely require cloth napkins for my events, no matter how small. Not only are cloth napkins reusable over and over, but it dresses up your place setting and makes your guests feel more important than dinner napkins. Check out the cute ones here. If you have to do paper, then there are some fun patterns out there these days, so choose wisely because you don’t want it too busy either.
- When it comes to serving wine and beer, remember the golden rule of serving alcoholic beverages. A 750 ml bottle of wine yields 4-5 glasses (depending on who’s pouring). If it’s a standup party, you can count on an average of 2 glasses of wine per hour or 2-3 bottles of beer per guest.
- On the flip side, if it’s more of a cocktail type party, you’ll want to make sure there’s plenty of water available as well as a “bready” type of appetizer to help soak up some of that alcohol. And ALWAYS make sure your guests don’t drink and drive. Uber them home if you have to.
- Remember to relax and enjoy yourself! You put in all this effort now so you should be enjoying your guests and the gorgeous presentation you put together. Hire help if you need it. This is YOUR party and your guests will miss you if you’re slaving over a hot stove in the kitchen.
I hope you enjoyed these tips and stay tuned for more on planning the party of your dreams this fall!