The Ultimate Party: Planning Guide – First Steps

When we first began entertaining and planning parties and events, we would make things up as we went. We would create events through trial and error.

What we realized was that the most successful ones had a common element. They were created with a plan, a step-by-step list of tasks that, when executed properly would culminate in creating an event to remember. So we gathered all our little scraps of notes, lists and ideas and put them together. The result: “The Ultimate Party-Planning Guide.”

Don’t let its size fool you, the key ingredients in this simple guide are all here. From setting the table, to writing a shopping list, to getting your home ready for your next party, they are all included in this guide.  Planning a party should not be that difficult or stressful, and with this guide, we hope it won’t be for you. We have taken the best content to include in “The Ultimate Party-Planning Guide.” While we say it’s our secrets, there really is no secret to planning the perfect party – its a matter of discipline meeting preparation and execution.  We hope we have conveyed that here and that you will find exactly what you need when you plan your next event.


When Planning a Party Even the Smallest of Details Make a BIG Difference!


You made the decision to entertain, make sure it will be well attended. Announce it to your guests early to create the expectation of your party and to make sure the people you really want to invite will attend, after all, calendars fills up fast especially during the holidays.


Many things can be considered when establishing a budget for an event; these are essentials for at home entertaining:

  • Type of party: Theme
  • People: Number of guests. A mixed group will make interesting conversation.
  • Food: Breakfast, Hors Oeuvres and Canapes or Appetizer, Entree and Dessert.
  • Beverage: Specialty drink, Wines and water or Full Bar.
  • Decoration: Centerpiece, flowers and candles or Strategic illumination
  • Tableware: China and linen or first class disposable ware
  • Cleaning and Serving: Delegating or doing it yourself
  • Music: Live entertainer, DJ or your favorite MP3
  • Party favors: a simple gift to remember


Regardless of the reason for the celebration you have to consider the style and date. Brunch on weekend works well for families get together and friends catch up time; Sit down dinners are perfect for small groups and interesting to get to know people better; Cocktail parties during the week are ideal for friends, customers and business associates.


Plan the menu, whether you are serving only finger foods or 3-4 courses meal, think about the food your guests would like to enjoy. Remember that people eat based on their tastes and diets when you offer a wide selection there will be plenty of choices to delight the palate of everyone. Be sure to include finger foods, appetizers, canapes and hors d’oeuvres to your menu. Everyone loves Appetizers and Hors d’Oeuvres!


A little planning a preparation will make your make your entertainment easy: shopping in advance, setting the table and the bar, cooking ahead of time recipes or ordering gourmet food online. At the last hour, create the ambiance: turn on the music, set the proper lighting, pop the cork and glam up.

Using these simple tips will allow you to be relaxed and ready, greet every guest, enjoy your role as the host/hostess, socialize with everyone and make of your get-together an Unforgettable Party.


Let’s face it. Planning a Party can be stressful. And really it should be FUN! I mean, you get to be with people who’s company you enjoy. You get to eat food you enjoy. You get to introduce your favorite people to your favorite people.

You get to decide the date and time of your event. You get to either stay home or go where you want to have the party.

Really… its all about you! AND your guests…

 So just how do you plan a party that is stress free and FUN?

Here are my top-ten ideas for planning your next party that will make you want to do it again… and again… and again. In reverse order.

 1 Before guests arrive, pour yourself a good stiff drink.
The host sets the mood and if you are in a good mood and don’t appear stressed, your guests will have permission to enjoy the party.

2 Music sets the tone.
Create a play list of the type of mood music to fit the occasion. Have it playing when guests arrive.

3 Never try a new recipe at a party.
Use your family or someone close to you to test it out on first. Or test it out on yourself. If it passes the critic in you, chances are your guests will like it.

4 Use nice tableware to set the tone of the party.

5 If the party is small and you don’t have a bartender, let guests make their own drinks. Have a couple of recipe cards handy for “special drinks” that fit the occasion and that your guests may not have heard of (with all the ingredients available, of course) and make it a fun experience. A step further, create a signature drink to fit the event.

6 Serve small, bite-sized appetizers. One bite says it all
This way guests won’t be talking with a mouthful…

7 Have plenty of ICE on hand.
Nothing is worse than running out of ice and having to make a run to the store.

8 Invite new people to your soiree.
And make sure you introduce your guests to one another. Know enough about your guests that you can make proper introductions so they can have things to discuss like sports, athletics, favorite places. Don’t make it all about business even if it’s a business dinner. People are more than just their job titles.

9 Have at least one healthy desert.
While decadence is all the rage, and most people will indulge just a little (or a lot), have a healthy desert for those on strict diets or who just don’t want to partake of something heavy after the main meal and partaking of cocktails. If your guests arrive a size 8 don’t let them leave feeling like a size 12!

10 Plan your time line ahead so you are on time for each aspect of the party, from the appetizers to desert. People appreciate and will remember when you consider their mealtime needs.

Rosana & Mano Calambichis, BIF CHEG Managing Partners

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