Get a Head Start

Depending on how elaborate the party, start planning early. Here’s a sample timeline:

• Six to eight weeks before: Plan party’s theme, activities, and music; send invitations; hire any entertainer and/or caterer.

• Two to three weeks before: Order non perishable supplies and decorations; hire helpers.

• One week before: Call guests who have not RSVP’d; confirm entertainer, caterer, and helpers.

• Two to three days before: Buy groceries; make any dishes that can be prepared and frozen; begin cleaning the house.

• The day before: Thaw frozen foods; finish house cleaning; decorate party space and set up party table(s) and utensils.

• Party day: Complete food preparation; do a final check of the party space, bar, and kitchen; give yourself plenty of time to get ready; take a deep breath and enjoy!

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I don’t know how much food to get?
I don’t know how much food to get?
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Want to see party guests start gathering their coats in unison?

Just run out of food or drinks and see how long the festivities continue. Fortunately, there are time-tested guidelines. Here are the basics:

Overall amount of food: 70 grams per person for a meal; about 45 grams per person for a cocktail party.

Hors d’oeuvres: six pieces per person for a dinner party; twelve pieces per person for a cocktail party (or four to six pieces per person per hour)

Alcohol: Plan on two drinks per person per hour for the first two hours; half that amount afterward. A 750-milliliter bottle of spirits (vodka, rum, scotch, etc.) contains about sixteen (45-milliliter) shots; a 750-milliliter bottle of wine yields about five glasses.

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