How to Make a Painless Party Preparations


Parties are a perfect way to thank all your family and friends who do so much to enrich your life. It’s a way to say how much you appreciate them being around. Make it a time to enjoy beautiful and delicious food and stimulating conversation. Laugh a lot. Listen to great music. Catch up. Slow down. Really listen to what people are saying. Dance in the kitchen. Take off your watch. Let the good times roll.

Make the time to celebrate. It doesn’t have to be a life event. Be spontaneous. Get inspired. The first sight of a spring flower, the middle of the week, vegetables from your garden, or bumping into a friend is reason enough to get connected.

Become one with your kitchen. Enjoy the process. Dance when you cook. Give it all your energy. Make it a labour of love.

Celebration

Every now and then, have a big party, just for the fun of it. Plan every little detail. Start with the guest list. Think about the people that you want to invite. Mix and match people with different points of view. Invite people who don’t know each other, along with some that do. Make the group interesting. Let the sparks fly.

Pick a date enough in advance that all of your guests are likely to be available. Send out invitations to set the tone for the evening. Be creative. Make it personal. I had a dinner party at my house for 40 people, where everyone had to wear their favourite pair of shoes. I photographed everyone’s feet during the course of the evening and used the photographs in my shop window. It was a giggle.

Have fun. Make sure people know when they are expected. Be specific. Drinks at 7.00pm – Dinner at 8.00pm will get them there before dinner goes cold. Get dressed up. Put on the dog. Know who is coming. Give directions. If you haven’t heard from someone, call them. Plan ahead.

Plan a menu

Go through your favourite cookery books and decide on the menu. Make things that you really love to eat, keepĀ­ing special dietary restrictions of your guests in mind. Don’t forget to ask them. Use whatever is in season. Avoid stress in the kitchen by keeping it simple. Don’t choose things that require complicated last-minute preparations.

Combine great, fresh flavours with interesting textures during all courses of the meal. Think about how things will look as well as taste, mixing colors as well as flavours. Balance the courses. A creamy dish should be followed by something with bite and texture. A highly seasoned or rich main course should be followed by a lighter, more delicate dessert.

Prepare the way

Do as much of the shopping as you can days ahead. Leave nothing to chance. If you forget something you will have plenty of time to get it. Don’t panic.

Buy the flowers and let them open. Wash your table linen and make sure you iron it. Polish the silver. Clean the glasses. Buy your wine and let it chill if necessary. Put your candles in the freezer to help them burn longer. Think about how you want your table to look. Think about where you want people to sit. Be eclectic. Mix and match friends, china and glasses. Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through.

Set the table the night before. Forks on the left. Knives and spoons on the right. Pudding cutlery above. Keep them in the order of how you use them. Glasses should go on the right hand side at the top of the plates. Water is first. White wine second. Red wine third. Bread plates go on the left. Be prepared. Know the marching order.

Cook up a storm

Enjoy your time in the kitchen. Put on your apron. Turn up the music. Take your time. Mark the pages of your cookery books and complete stages of the recipes one at a time. Cook as much as you can a day or two in advance. Keep a list of how long things need to be reheated for so y6u know when to pop things in the oven when the day arrives. Select the serving dishes. Go with the flow.

On the day of the party, go shopping as early as you can for the last-minute necessities. Buy the ingredients for a couple of different cocktails. Prepare these in advance. Clean as you go. Put any dirty dishes through the wash and tidy them away before the guests arrive.

Plan to have at least 45 minutes for yourself before the evening begins. Have a cocktail. Chill out. Put on the music. Check your table. Fill the water glasses with ice-cool mineral water.

Have fun

Light the candles. Greet your guests at the door and offer them a cocktail. Have fresh juice for those who don’t drink or are driving. Shake and mingle.

Enjoy your friends. Make introductions and let everyone get to know each other before dinner begins. Cocktails should last no longer than an hour. Slip away to check on progress in the kitchen and get everyone seated as soon as the serving dishes have been placed on the table.

Enlist a friend or partner to help in the serving and clearing. Serve from the left. Clear from the right. Pop the dishes into the dishwasher as you go and things won’t overwhelm you when everyone’s gone. Clear what is not needed on the table before the last course so that everyone can enjoy the dessert. Refresh the wine.

Coffee, tea and liqueurs can be served anywhere in the house. Unless people are extremely comfortable where they are, move to another room. Gain a different perspective. Have decaffeinated coffee and a selection of teas ready for those who need them. Clear away the cups and glasses. Turn the music up. Dance the night away.

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About the Author: Alan Kennon lives a very happy life with two kids and a lovely wife. He likes to share his life time experiences with others about how they can improve their lifestyle and personality.

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