After 20+ years of hosting our own parties and catering parties for all ranges up through thousands, here are some key elements The General would like to pass on.
- Being punctual: If you promise food to be on at 7:30 pm, you owe it to yourself and your guests to come as close to the mark as you possibly can. Even though parties are very social in nature, avoid consumption of any alcoholic beverage until your guests are served. (The General always does this in competition as well.) Even as much as one beer can throw your timing completely off. After all your guests are served, you can reward yourself with your favorite beverage.
- Menu: Always have a written menu close at hand. This avoids leaving items out and finding them in the fridge after dessert has been served. TLW has devised a system using post-it notes to lay out designated serving dishes and utensils well before the party begins. This simplifies things for volunteer help and for us. When you ask for the green bean serving dish (and if the helper can read), the proper one will be brought to you. This also avoids rummaging through cabinets at the last minute!
- Pitfalls: Sooner or later, these may happen to you:
You have had 24 accept your invitation…and 20 of your guest have already arrived. The Joneses and the Smiths are both late. So, do you hold up your food for four people? TG says absolutely not! It is regrettable that four guests have not arrived, but you have 20 that did! Since your first goal is to be punctual, you should have your food out at the proper time. If you are not a caterer or you do not have chafers to keep the food warm or cold, then you’ve got food not being served at the proper temperature/etc. The key point in this is that some people just like to be late and others have legitimate issues, but beginning without them will take the pressure off them and they can pick up with the party when they arrive.
Another thing that can hold up a party is that one or more of your menu items don’t get ready on time. Again, do you hold up the whole party? Simple math should tell us that the answer is no. You can always add the items when they become available.
TG is hoping some of these points will aid you when planning for your next party!