Tips to Plan the Perfect Party
Whether it's for a birthday, anniversary or wedding, here are a couple tips to make your next party stunning and stress free.
Choose a theme:
Your theme doesn’t have to be too literal, but a theme helps tie everything together and provides a great starting point. Whether it’s an era, season, or animal, choosing a theme helps make decision making easier by building around a common idea. For a barbecue, consider flamingos as the theme. By choosing flamingos people immediately think summer, tropical, fruit, pink, which helped inspire the party.
Choose a color palette:
This will marry with your theme and keep things focused. If you are throwing a backyard fiesta, pick dishes and flowers in a mix of bright colors and prints. If you want a more sophisticated party, choose a simple color palette such as white dishes with metallic accents.
You don’t have to go buy anything new. Handmade paper streamers or cut out letters can add a simple sweetness and will emphasize your celebration.
It’s nice to switch out your typical tunes for something more party specific. If you’re having a tropical themed barbecue, maybe test out ukulele Pandora stations. If you're throwing a fondue party, crank up some '70s classics.
Choose a signature drink:
Choosing a signature drink keeps you from becoming overwhelmed trying to accommodate every taste. A great summer drink for an outdoor party is a Skinny Piña Colada. Want something more sophisticated? You can never go wrong with a classic martini or Manhattan.
Planning the menu:
Take into consideration the season, time of day, whether you are indoors or outdoors and dietary considerations. Obviously you can’t accommodate every taste, but if you have a vegan friend it’s nice to have a couple of options for him or her. If your party is outdoors stay away from anything mayonnaise based or foods that cannot hold up in the heat. A regular mixed green salad will just wilt. Opt for couscous, bean or pasta salads that will keep better in the heat.
Relax, relax, relax:
Most people have a tendency to be over-ambitious when it comes to parties. No one wants to see their host stressed. If you want to make a super complicated dish, be simple with everything else so you can also enjoy your party.
carefree dishes that are simple or can be made ahead of time:
Cheese Plates – simple and sophisticated. Pair inexpensive cheese's like sharp Cheddar, Pepperjack or Swiss. Or splurge on more expensive kinds like Manchego, Camembert or Parmesan.
Pastry Cups - Add anything to these little cups from chicken salad, eggs to create mini quiche, or brie and jam for a perfect one bite appetizer.
Fresh herbs - Store bought dips taste homemade with a sprinkle of cilantro, parsley or chives!
“En papillote” - You can put almost anything in parchment paper. Seal the edges and tie with kitchen twine and your guests will feel like they're opening a gift for dinner. The parchment packets can be assembled ahead of time and simply popped in the oven when the time is right. Plus cleanup is a breeze!
Barbecue - Marinate meats or vegetables the night before and toss them on the grill. If you need more inspiration, check out these mouth-watering recipes!
Crème Brûlée - These delectable custards are simple to make, the only complicated part is you need to plan ahead. The custards should typical be taken out of the refrigerator for 20 minutes, caramelized, then placed back in the refrigerator for another 20-30 minutes before being served. Make sure to allot yourself enough time. This is a great recipe to start with.
Homemade whipped cream and seasonal berries - homemade whipped cream takes 3 ingredients and two minutes to make. It will always be leaps and bounds better than any store-bought brand.
Do you have any tried-and-tested party planning tips?
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Chef Tips and Tricks
Do you put the pasta in without waiting for the water to boil? Add oil? Forget the salt?
Comment on this article
Great article. I threw a Cuban party last year in the dead of winter. I'm originally from Miami and felt an urge to bring on some heat. I had a blast and I'm pretty sure my guests did too. I dressed up, served Cuba Libre drinks, Cuban cuisine ....and when anyone asked if they could bring something... I said 'yes'. I even made little quiz cards I placed around my house with Q&As on Cuba to spark some interesting chatter. And, like you mention, music! Love your 'En Papillote' idea...
Commented by Gourmandize Staff
nice this article on party tips. pretty usuful :)
Commented by Gourmandize Staff
Your party planning tips article is fantastic! How do you manage to select a theme? In any case, the pictures you have are so beautiful, I can only hope to recreate something similar!
Commented by Gourmandize Official