Follow these helpful hints to make your party a success… from decorations, food and beverages to hospitality, food safety
Greet your guests at the door and let them
know how much you value their company.
Try to spend as much time as you can
with each guest and introduce them to one
another to make them feel more at ease.
Paper goods and favors should tie in
together, along with balloons and floral
arrangements. Candles can also add a
festive appeal, however use only unscented
candles near the food areas. Always keep
safety in mind, and place candles where
guests will not be able to knock them over
or brush against them with their clothing.
Add simple garnishes to make your dishes
more appealing. Use fresh herb sprigs,
orange or lemon wedges, small cluster of
grapes or edible flowers.
Fresh vegetables make great serving
containers. Hollow out peppers, tomatoes,
red cabbage or small squash and place dips
inside or use to hold carrot or celery sticks.
Large plates of food will look messy once
they begin to empty. Use several small
plates or trays instead when serving buffet
style and replace with full plates as needed.
Fill deep dish bowls above the rim for eye
appeal. Also, foods look more striking when
framed in a complete ring. Create a circle of
crackers or fresh, colorful vegetables around
a cheese ball.
If you are having an area where guests can
help themselves to their own beverages, be
sure to have plenty of ice. You could use
the typical ice bucket, or you could place
cans and bottles in a large metal tub (and
replenish as needed, because it only takes
20 minutes for the beverages to chill). Don’t
forget the ice scoop or tongs. If you want
to add pizazz to ice cubes, try freezing
lemonade, iced tea or juice in ice cube trays.
Place a corkscrew and bottle opener next to
the beverages. Have cocktail napkins, cups,
glasses and swizzle sticks available. To keep
the area tidy, place a receptacle nearby for
the loose bottle caps.
Don’t forget the garnishes. Lemon and lime
wedges are a must have. Not only are they
used for cocktails, but they are also a nice
touch to water and soda. Depending on the
variety of cocktails you may be serving, you
may want to also include green olives, celery
stalks, maraschino cherries with stems, salt
and onions. If you are serving hot cider, tea
or coffee, use a cinnamon stick as a swizzle
While preparing food items, make sure all
utensils and work surfaces are kept clean.
Use separate cutting boards and utensils for
All perishable ingredients should be kept
refrigerated until needed.
Refrigerate or freeze all prepared foods as
soon as possible.
Use place cards to label food, guests like to
know what they are eating, especially if they
follow restricted diets or have food allergies.
Do not bake everything at once, and keep
the remainder refrigerated until needed.
Place enough food out to last 30 minutes,
and replenish as needed.
Eliminate double dipping by placing a spoon
or knife in dips to encourage guests to put
the dip or spread on their plate.
Do not leave perishable food out at room
temperature for more than two hours.
Discard after two hours, and do not
re-refrigerate or re-freeze.
Do not allow your guests to wander around
with foodpicks and crumpled napkins in
hand, provide small receptacles throughout
the party area.
If your guests offer to help with the cleanup,
let them. You’ll appreciate it in the morning.
1 lb. of ice per person.
3-4 cocktail napkins per person to cover
beverages and appetizers for a 2-3 hour
2 dinner napkins per person for a dinner
party or buffet.
2 drinking cups per person for a dinner
party or 4 drinking cups per person for a
Offer four different types of appetizers for a
party of 20 guests, add more varieties as the
party gets larger. Allow 8-10 appetizers per
person during a 2-3 hour party.