Photography by Michael Alberstat
FOOD >> ENTERTAINING
Stress-Free Party Planning
15 ways to plan ahead so you can spend more time with your guests.
One month before:
- Decide on a theme and write your guest list.
- Send a unique handwritten invitation. Request RSVPs and include your phone number.
- Arrange rental of plates, cutlery, linens, glassware, platters or chairs if necessary.
Two weeks before:
- Confirm any rental agreements.
- Check your stock of candles, vases, linens and other atmosphere-setting necessities.
- Follow up with guest you haven’t had a reply from.
- Choose your menu, then check your pantry and make a grocery list. Consider choosing dishes you can make ahead so that you'll spend less time in the kitchen and more time with your guests.
Two days ahead:
- Stock up your bar and pick up flowers. Cut and arrange them in vases, so you can play with placement.
- Do a general clean up around the house.
- Keep your life simple and order dessert from your favourite bakery.
- Set up the buffet table or use the kitchen island. If you opt to set up a table, put it in a central spot to create a hub and a sense of flow. Put out only the dishware your menu requires.
- If you are hosting a sit down dinner, set the table and place your centerpiece. For an eclectic mix of casual and formal, use everyday plates and pair them with your best linen napkins, wine and water glasses.
- Set up the bar area. Chill wine.
- Hide clutter and place fragile items out of reach.
- Shop for perishables like fresh produce and deli products.
The day of:
- Throw on an apron and wipe down the bathroom mirror, sink and faucet. Then give the surfaces in your living room a once-over.
- Be sure to do as much prep work in the kitchen as you can before your guests arrive.
- Just prior to party time dim the lights and light candles. Then touch-up your makeup, give your hair a quick style and slip into your party clothes.