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A party can mean anything from drinks with savouries to a full-blown dinner.  With a little forward planning you too can enjoy the party.  Parties aren't just about food, so we give below some tips on how to organise all aspects of your party from the initial preparation to when the last guest leaves (or not as the case may be).


It is always nice to get advice from real professionals, the following is just such advice -
Procrastinators that we is sometimes a chore to get an RSVP back in the mail. How many times has an invitation, unknowingly, been mixed up in the daily mail only to be neglected until the last minute or forgotten altogether?

Surely we all empathize with event planners who struggle to get their guests to RSVP to an invitation.

We would like to suggest a simple yet proven method to simplify this problem. This strategy should help anyone plan an event while being assured that each guest will most likely return their RSVP in a more timely manner.

Mail your invitations on a Wednesday! Why Wednesday you ask? If an invitation is mailed on Wednesday it is more likely to arrive at its destination on Friday or Saturday, this is the objective. Receiving the invitation on the weekend, instead of a weekday, will give your guests more time to respond and return your RSVP more promptly.

Weekends, typically, are less hectic and people have a little more leisure time than during a busy work week. When friends receive an invitation on a busy weekday it may likely get tossed into a pile of "get around to it" mail or lost altogether. However, when an invitation arrives on Friday or Saturday, you will most likely get a timely response. This is all due to the timing. Your friends and associates will have more time to plan for your event on their "weekend". This timing strategy gives your guests a little more time to deal with their social calendar, coordinate dates, travel, babysitters and other incidental details. Planning your event becomes a coordinated effort on your part that your guests will especially appreciate.

Author Diane Pollitt - Party Consultant


Allow plenty of time for menu planning, taking into consideration the likes and dislikes of the guests you have invited. 
It is a good idea to get starters and puddings made the day before if you can, or better still prepare and freeze ahead.
Take into account the nature of the food.  Bite size food, easy to handle, is a must for the buffet style party.  There is nothing worse than trying to eat a plate of spaghetti bolognese with a drink in one hand and nowhere to sit!
Always serve food on clean plates Wash all fruit and vegetables
Warm your dishes before putting hot food in them, place cold food on platters over bowls of ice to keep them cold.
Don't overstuff the fridge. Cold air must be allowed to circulate in the fridge to keep food safe
Replace empty platters rather than adding fresh food to a dish that has already been used.
Keep raw and cooked foods separate
 If you are hosting a party or having a buffet, make sure not to leave food out at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
If your party is catering for dozens rather than a few then consider disposable plates, napkins and cutlery.
Remember to provide a good selection of soft drinks, as well as the alcoholic variety, for your guests.  This is more to some people's taste and will also cater for those having to drive home.

Recipe - Try tomato juice with a sprinkling of Seasoning Salt and Pepper or a teetotal punch flavoured with Cinnamon and Cloves.  Coffee - hot or iced - will also be very welcome.

It is often difficult to gauge appetites and to cater for large numbers, especially during the festive season when some people will be all partied out!!!   Make sure your food does not fizzle out by having a good reserve of herb or garlic bread to satisfy man sized appetites - always popular.

Recipe - Use 4oz. (113 g) unsalted butter with 1 teaspoon Garlic Salt or 2 teaspoon of Mixed Herbs for each French Loaf.   Wrap in foil, bake in a hot over for 15-20 minutes and serve hot.

If you intend serving wine, think about it early.  White wine should be chilled for about two hours in the refrigerator.  Red wine should be opened at least one hour before it is needed so that it can 'breathe'.
Make an unusual and effective table centrepiece by frosting fruit. When fruit is dry, arrange on a cake stand and decorate with baubles and tinsel.

Method - Dip whole fruit in beaten egg white then into spice flavoured sugar (1 teaspoon of spice to 2oz/57 g of sugar) and leave to dry.  Suitable spices include Ground Cinnamon, Nutmeg or Mixed Spice but mix and match for variety.

Unusual buffet sandwiches or tasty canapes are always popular.   Try flavouring them with a savoury or sweet butter.  Paprika, Chives, Herbs, Garlic and Cinnamon will all prove popular with fish, meat, poultry, game, cheese or shellfish sandwiches.

Recipe - mix 1 teaspoon of the chosen herb or spice with 3oz/85g. softened butter.  The flavoured butter will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks and will also prove infinitely useful for adding to grilled meat, cooked vegetables and the sweet ones for spreading on cakes or teabreads etc.

Colourful frosting on the rims of drinking glasses add to the party atmosphere.

Method - Mix 1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon, Nutmeg or Mixed Spice with 2oz/57g plain or tinted caster sugar.  Dip the rim of the glass in a little egg white then dip in the sugar.  Refrigerate until the sugar looks frosty and dry.

Greet your guests with unusual savouries.

Recipe - dust piping hot home-made croutons with Garlic Salt or Seasoning Salt or try making a quick and easy dip to serve with crisp vegetable by flovouring cream or cottage cheese with mixed herbs or chives to taste.

After such a good party put a few drops of Juniper essential oil on your pillow it will help prevent a hangover as it is an excellent detoxifier.

Donna Hughes (Consultant)

To chill a room temperature beverage (tin or bottle) really fast, get a bowl of cold water and ice cubes then add a dessert spoon of salt, place your beverage into the bowl and leave for two/three minutes. Your drink will be nice and cold (much faster than a fridge or freezer) .

Neil Pearson

If you are running late when hosting a dinner party and have forgotten to cool the wine or cans, simply place salt, water and ice into the ice bucket and put in your bottle, can's anything you like really and it will cool down much faster.

Darren C.





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