tips & tricks
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“the classic” planning checklist

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.

timing
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!)

invitation
I am a fan of email invites. There are so many sites to choose from and I have tried my fair share. I prefer punchbowl or paperless post

Sample text:
Cocktails anyone?
Please join me for some post-work cocktails to celebrate the arrival of spring
My apartment
6:30pm-9:00pm

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
Caprese bites
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.

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