As you can imagine, I have been hosting a lot of parties in the past few weeks. In the spirit of the season I wanted to share how My Chef Lara goes through the process of planning and delivering amazing parties to our clients! Most of the success is around planning. Of course, hiring us to do your party is the ultimate in stress-free party hosting but below are tips and tricks that I hope will reduce your stress and allow you to enjoy the season even if we are not doing it for you.
- The first and foremost rule to a successful party is to be at your own party (this is where hiring some help can make a difference. For extra help in terms of servers and bartenders we use Extra hands for your events). People come to parties for your food and drinks but especially for you. Spending all your time in the kitchen or running around refilling containers is not what you consider fun nor is it what your guests want to see you do. Plan your menu around items that you can do ahead, that do not need a lot of attention or can be put in a crockpot. Be with your guests and enjoy your own party.
- Plan your theme. Do you want a formal plated dinner or a more relaxed buffet? Consider the space you have in your home. Can you fit enough people around the table comfortably? Plated dinners, while elegant, can reduce mingling.
- A note on this – themed parties are making a big come back. Themes such as murder mystery parties, food based on favorite movies, etc. are an exciting way to engage your party goers and create a built-in conversation to guests. We use Dark Phoenix Events to help throw outstanding themed parties. Give them a try!
- How much do I serve? The general rule of thumb is two to three hors d’oeuvres per person and two or three drinks per person. If you are planning a dinner party it really depends on the menu but 1/2 pound of protein per person is appropriate and I will adjust that depending on if the side are heavy and if you are planning dessert.
- Consider music choices carefully. You definitely want music to fill in quiet gaps and welcome people in. Make sure the music is background (classical is always good) music and not too loud. You want to create an atmosphere and not make people compete to be heard.
- Plan the flow of your party. People will congregate at food so if you are looking for a party where people will linger, make sure you spread your hors d’oeuvres out to different locations so that people will not be clumped in one area.
- Think ahead regarding the little things like the number of garbage cans, recycling containers, toilet paper in the bathrooms, amount of glasses, plates and utensils, etc. Make sure you have these handled ahead of time so that you do not have to deal with those issues during the party.
Think through these steps and you will have a fabulous party that you enjoy as well as your guests!