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Let’s Throw a Party
December 1st, 2015
I have never needed a reason to throw a party. It could be a full moon, a new job, or just Tuesday. It is always a good time to call friends, throw steaks on the grill, open some champagne, and celebrate. However, I realize that not everyone grew up with a mom who loved to host parties and knew how to make it look easy. With December a month filled with holiday parties and family get-togethers, plan one that is stress-free.

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The key to a successful party is having a plan and timeline for getting things done. Here are my ten steps to ensuring I have as much fun as my guests.

1. Set the date, time, place, and theme at least a month before. Choose something that might make your party unique – a special drink, party favor, everyone wears hats, some kind of décor, or fabulous food.

2. Develop the guest list and send invitations. Note many people do not understand the importance of responding to an invitation with a timely yes or regrets; so be creative if you want a response.

3. Think about the party flow – how people will mingle and move through the space will determine where you place the bar, put additional tables and chairs, or set out food.

4. Music is important. Think about the atmosphere you want to create and the range of people attending. I might listen to country music but the type of party atmosphere may be more contemporary jazz.

5. One week before – decide on the menu, drinks, and determine what you might need to order or purchase (i.e. utensils, flowers, plates, chairs, etc.). Clean the house and declutter. Hint – put away things, even from medicine cabinets, that you don’t want people to see. You would be amazed!

6. Two days before, buy groceries and wine or liquor. Wash all glasses, vases, or serving pieces. I actually put sticky notes on serving pieces for the different food items.

7. Day before is prep day. Chop vegetables for salads, make dressings or marinades, and anything else that can be made a day ahead. Set the table if you are having a dinner party, prepare place cards for seated events, and arrange flowers.

8. Morning of the party – chill the wine, set up the bar with sliced lemons or garnishes and final food preparations such as meat marinades or peeling shrimp. Clean the bathrooms and ensure clean towels, soap, and plenty of toilet paper. Identify a place for dirty dishes out of view and enough trash cans.

9. Two hours before – finish food that can be done before guests arrive, set out serving platters on buffet (if appropriate), and set out favors or guest gifts.

10. One hour before party time – light candles, adjust overhead lighting, turn on music, get dressed, and smile (or drink a glass of champagne like I do). Remember – they don’t know what you didn’t do!