YUuummmmm……we are now talking food and drinks!
Step 7 of the party planning checklist is certainly a delight for the taste buds.
Think back to the last party you went to…………
Where did people seem to congregate? That’s right – it was at the food table!
When people go to a party, they love to eat, regardless of whether they are hungry or not.
Lets be honest, if there is a table full of delicious looking snacks……you are going to try just one or two…maybe a few more!
Not sure where to start with planning the food and beverages for your party?
Here are a few tips that will make things a little easier for you.
The Party Food Preparation:
♦ Plan your food in advance. The last thing you want to happen is be running around the supermarket on the morning of the party trying to find something creative to jump out at you.
Buy all the non-perishable items as far in advance as you like and pop back to the supermarket the day before to pick up the last minute perishables.
This will considerably cut down your shopping list at the important time.
It can also help with spreading the cost if you are considering your budget!
♦ When planning your food, think back to your PLOT, and party budget. The type of people coming to your party will dictate the kind of food you provide. You are not going to serve fairy bread at a cocktail party but likewise children are not going to look to fondly on curry balls.
♦ Unless you are having a dinner party, keep the food finger friendly. People like to ‘pick’ at food rather than hold an entire meal in their hand. There is something about parties and mini food that is irresistible!
♦ In step 3 of the party planning checklist, you decided upon your theme. Try and connect your food as much as possible to the theme.
♦ Make a list of all the ingredients you are going to need. This is especially important if you are planning on cooking your own food and will save a frantic dash to the supermarket at the last minute.
♦ Keep in mind any food allergies (especially for dinner parties). Many people have allergies and if you are serving a meal you don’t want to offend anyone. Finger food can be a lot more flexible in this regard as people can steer clear of foods they can’t eat.
♦ Prepare the food in advance. The last thing you want to happen is have your guests walk in through the door as you are tied to the kitchen stove. The party is supposed to be enjoyable for you too, so ensure the food is prepared before the party starts.
♦ Stick to what you know. You don’t want to be adding extra stress by trying out a new recipe….this is not the time!
♦ Clear out your fridge in the days leading up to the party to ensure you have plenty of room for your party food.
♦ Think about where you are going to serve the food. If you have several plates to put out, make sure you have an area to serve them.
♦ Prepare serving dishes. Don’t waste time on the party day rushing around trying to find appropriate serving platters. Get them out in advance and think about any cutlery that you will need. Make sure you have enough before you need to use them.
♦ Pay attention to the presentation. Even if you are not holding a formal dinner party, it is nice to see food laid out simply and elegantly and not just thrown together on a plate.
The Party Food Calculation:
Are you someone who is always at a loss when deciding how much food to prepare? I’d love to tell you a fool-proof formula to solve the dilemma, but it is more of an art than a science.
If in doubt – the general rule is to always provide more rather than less!
These tips should however be able to point you in the right direction:
In step 4 of the party planning checklist, we talked about your invitations and asking people to RSVP. This is especially important at this time. It will be impossible to gauge how much food and drink to provide if you have no idea who is coming to your party.
6 pieces per person if preceding a meal.
4-6 pieces per person/per hour if the finger food is the meal.
The longer the party and the larger the number of guests, the larger selection you should provide.
If your desert is a cake or a pie, plan to serve one slice per guest.
If you are serving cookies or pastries, plan on two per guest.
Preparing the Party Drinks:
In an ideal world it would be lovely to have a spare fridge stocked up with all different types of beer, soft drinks, wines and an area to the side with your liqueurs. In reality, we don’t all have the budget to suit this and therefore we need to think about what is an appropriate amount of drinks to provide.
Many people often ask their guests to bring their own drinks. This ensures that guests are drinking what they want to, but also vastly helps with the party budget.
If however, you wish to provide all the drinks yourself, then you may wish to ask yourself the following questions:
What kinds of drinkers are your guests?
Will the majority of people be driving to the party?
How much variety do you want to offer? You are not a bar and your guests will not expect there to be every drink available to them.
One of two signature drinks will add some style to your party and may also fit in with the party theme you chose in step 3 of the party planning checklist.
Don’t open everything at the start of your party. The last thing you want is to have 10 bottles open.
Only put out a small variety and never two of the same bottles!
Keep the supplies close by, but not too close that people open something that is already open.
General Beverage Serving Guidelines for a 2 hour party (increase as necessary):
Plan on two drinks per person during the first hour of the party and one each hour after that time.
Each of the following estimates are based on the drinks being the only beverage you provide, so you will need to increase and decrease depending on the variety you serve.
WINE: One bottle for every two guests for a two hour party.
BEER: Two bottles per person for the first hour and one for every hour thereafter.
SPARKLING WINE: One 750ml bottle fills 6 Champagne flutes. If serving as a toast, one glass per person is enough.
If serving as pre-meal, plan on 1.5 glasses per person.
If serving throughout the two hour party, plan on 3 glasses per person.
SPIRITS AND MIXERS: One 750ml bottle will serve 17 drinks.
Plan on 3 drinks per person for 2 hours.
SOFT DRINKS: One glass per person, but increase this to 3 for children.
If soft drinks are the only drinks being served then increase to 3 drinks per person.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST, DON’T FORGET THE ICE!!!!!
Thanks for reading