I love a good list. Here is how I go from the idea of having people over to actually doing it.
decide on a date and idea
April, weekday, spring cocktails after work
guest list and number of people
10-15 people. remember that it may be hard to include every person on your list, so look at the type of event and be prepared for the inevitable, post-work drop-off. I recommend preparing a list for a 30% drop-off rate.
You want to leave enough time for you to leave the office, pick up any last-minute items, and set up before guests arrive. I suggest having at least one hour of prep time from the moment you walk in the door.
Here is the timing I used:
5:00pm leave the office
5:30pm arrive home and prepare final set-up
6:30/7:00pm guests arrive ( if guests arrive early, put them to work!)
Please join me for some post-work cocktails to celebrate the arrival of spring
menu (click for compete post)
Try to include items that you know your friends enjoy. My theory is if you make one thing on the menu, it is a success. The rest can be store bought and jazzed up easily.
Meats, cheeses, bread board
Crackers and dips
Side snacks: M&M’s, jellybeans, mixed nuts, olive-oil popcorn, sugar snap peas
Mac and cheese bites
Oreo dessert bar
follow up and confirm with everyone the day before: any dietary restrictions? This way, you can be sure to have an item that every guest can enjoy.
set-up/prep the night before (click for compete post)
Grocery shopping, alcohol, flowers, and apartment set up.
on the way home
Pick up cold beer and ice. I never have enough room in the fridge or freezer the night before and it takes up so much room.
Swing by the bakery and ask them to slice a baguette. This way the bread is fresh and you have one less thing to do when you get home.
the schedule before guests arrive
60 minutes out: put wine and beer on ice
55 minutes out: start plating buffet items and side snacks
45 minutes out: start mac and cheese bites and assemble caprese bites
20 minutes out: make pomegranate limeade spritzer
15 minutes out: start music (I love Songza) and check mac and cheese bites
5 minutes out: assemble mac and cheese bites
party begins: pour yourself a cocktail and relax. At this point, it doesn’t matter if the table is perfect. As soon as guests start arriving. just enjoy the company. If YOU are having a good time so will your guests.