Set the Scene
- Make the house smell wonderful with fragrant candles. Don’t overdo it though, and keep them away from the food station. The entrance hall and the bathroom should do it.
- Get the lighting right, no overhead lights, instead go for a soft glow, using the dimmers or lamps. this instantly renders every room ( and everyone) more attractive – have votives galore, they are always festive, flattering and inexpensive.
- Edit your Playlist. Compile a music mix before the party. So easy now, with on-line options like Spotify and Pandora.
House Cocktail is a great way to get your party started. Make sure everyone receives one as they walk in the door, this way everyone gets into the ‘spirit’ straight away.
It could be as simple as one of the Champagne cocktail variations, a summer punch (with some punch !) such as a Pimms Punch, or one of the pre-mixed cocktail varieties available, frozen, from your local liquor supplier; mostly these just need the addition of alcohol.
In general, the most popular drinks at a party will be a good sparkling wine, white wine, and beer, both full strength and lite. Red wine is more popular in the cooler months.
In addition, always provide plenty of mineral water and a soft drink, such as lemon lime and bitters, and to a lesser extent orange juice.
If you are ordering through your local liquor supplier, they will be able to advise on the requisite quantities, or refer to the quantities I have listed below.
Most suppliers will offer a “sale or return” facility. That is, you will be refunded for unused stock, provided it’s in the same condition as when you took delivery. This is a fantastic service, particularly if you’re not sure how much the crowd will consume.
A good supplier will deliver your beverages chilled, free of charge, at the time you nominate. They will also be able to provide drinks tubs, ice and in most cases, glasses.
Quantity Guide to the nearest whole glass
Sparkling wine: 750ml bottle yields 6 x 125ml flutes
Wine: 750ml bottle yields 5 x 150ml glasses
Spirits: 750ml bottle yields 15 x 50ml nips
Allow 3/4 – 1 bottle per person for up to 25 people
2/3 bottle per person for 25 – 50 people
1/2 bottle per person for more than 50 people
1.25 lit soft drink yields 6 x 200ml glasses
2 litres orange juice yields 8 x 250ml glasses
10kg (2 bags) will chill 24 bottles of wine or 48 cans of beer
try to divide my menu into four main categories: meat, poultry, seafood and vegetarian, providing equal quantities of each if possible.
Variety is important, so always create a good mix of textures and an interesting contrast of colours and flavours.
I like to serve a variety of hot and cold nibbles, and, as a general rule, serve the cold items first, as people are less likely to go back to cold morsels after several hot ones.
or a cocktail party, with food being served for about 2 hours, allow about 10 – 12 pieces per person.
For a function being held in place of lunch or dinner, allow 14-16 pieces per person, unless you are providing something more substantial as part of the menu.
People will usually have had enough to eat after 2 – 2 1/2 hours of food service. However, if you are having a party that will run late into the night, it’s a good idea to serve a late-night snack, such as a noodle box, or a glazed ham with crusty breads and relishes.
lmost anything you need for a party can be hired, from glassware, to plates, cutlery and large platters also coffee and tea making equipment.
There are marquee’s, awnings, heaters, all sorts of chairs, cocktail tables, and an amazing array of ovens and other food cooking and warming equipment.
Linen is great to hire, as it inevitably gets quite soiled, and you can send it back for the Hirer to launder!!!
ever underestimate the need for extra professional help, whether you are on a tight budget or not. Even one person to help in the kitchen, will allow you time to enjoy the party. If you set up a self-serve bar, manned by one professional waiter, even for just the minimum four hours, it will ensure the party runs smoothly.