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How to plan a cocktail party

You’ve made the rounds to your favorite weekend hot spots. It’s the same old scene week after week, and it’s time to break the mold! This weekend let your social life come to you with a cocktail party designed to thrill. We’ve got you covered every step of the way!

cocktail party

Step 1: Invite your guests

Text messages and emails are great for the day-to-day, but for your cocktail party liven things up with a personal invite. Consider the reason for your gathering and create a theme. Spread the word with a handmade invitation, like this one from, and allow advance notice so guests can plan their schedules accordingly.Cocktail party invitation

Step 2: Prepare to party

Begin preparations for your cocktail party at least one week prior to the event. Consider where guests will park, sit and converse throughout the event, and modify furniture placement if needed. Stock up on items like ice, glasses, napkins and dinnerware. You may also need drink garnishments such as lemons, limes, mint leaves and berries so guests can customize the drink options to fit their personal preferences.

5 Creative cocktail party appetizers

Include decor throughout your home to complement the party’s theme. Create an inviting tabletop display where drinks and refreshments will be served. Display appetizers on serving trays, grouping similar items together, and brighten things up with decorative placemats, table runners and centerpieces.

Step 3: Host graciously

Nothing is worse than missing your own party, so stay within the action by recruiting help. If the budget allows, consider hiring a catering service that includes servers as well as food preparation. However, if the budget is tight, consider self-serve options like an open bar to minimize the time you spend away from your guests.

Be considerate of your guests by offering a wide selection of beverages to choose from — including non-alcoholic options. To make this easy, you may even request that each guest bring a bottle of their favorite beverage to create a cocktail party potluck.

Hostess etiquette: The new rules

Step 4: Ending the evening

As the evening winds down, be sure to thank guests for coming before they leave. Have a helper positioned near the exit to give guests party favors, or call a cab for guests who are unable to drive. Leave your guests with a memory of the night by providing recipe booklets that include mixing instructions for the cocktails served throughout the evening.

Step 5: Clean up

When the evening is through, tackle the tough messes with your favorite cleaning products. Don’t let the stacks of dishes overwhelm you; instead, use Finish Additives to get more from each dishwasher cycle. You’ll spend less time behind the sink and more time smiling at the evening’s most memorable moments.

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