Party Perfect!

Whether the party is large or small, casual or formal, advance planning ensures a success!

Two Women at a Party

4 Weeks Ahead

•Mail or deliver the invitations. Do not rely on the telephone or word of mouth.
•Keep a written guest list.
•Plan the menu.
•Check on cooking and serving equipment. Rent or buy what may be needed.
•If needed, arrange for help with parking, serving, or cleanup, and rent coat racks.

3 Weeks Ahead

•Buy nonperishables, disposable items, liquor, nonalcoholic beverages, and mixers.
•Plan traffic flow and table service.
•Clean and iron the linens.
•Order any grocery or butcher items.

2 Weeks Ahead

•Cook and freeze foods such as desserts, breads, and casseroles.
•Check the condition of the garden if the party is to be outdoors.
•Do any major housecleaning.
•Polish silver if needed.
•Begin making ice.
•Order flowers.

2 Days Ahead

•Set the buffet table.
•Set up the bar.
•Set up the music.
•Clean the rooms where the party will be held, and rearrange furniture as necessary.
•Begin making food or portions of recipes such as pasta or potato salads, crudité dips, and some desserts.
•Post a last-minute itemized checklist.
•Label platters and set out serving utensils.

1 Day Ahead

•Draw a timetable of what needs to be cooked and served when.
•Shop for perishable foods.
•Do bulk of cooking.
•Pick up and arrange flowers.
•Call all helpers and give each explicit instructions.
•Make the punch base.

Day of the Party

•Finish cooking.
•Arrange ice and fruit for the bar.

Check out these party perfect recipes:

Throw a terrific tapas party
Expert tips for making cocktails for a crowd
Puff pastry twists: Appetizer and dessert recipes


Reprinted with Permission of Hearst Communications, Inc. Originally Published: Party Planner Timetable

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