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!
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.