How to Plan a Buffet Parties at Your House


Buffet parties are ideal for more informal occasions. You can set all the dishes out on a large table and leave guests to help themselves. You may find it easier to use several rooms to serve the food, for example main course in one, dessert in another, if space is limited. Set out a long table with the plates, knives, and forks at one end, and the dishes arranged along it to lessen lines and crowding. A running buffet, where guests take finger food directly from dishes that you offer, requires the least amount of space. You don’t need a table set with food, just plenty of refrigerator and storage space in the kitchen.

Buffet party tips

  • Assign tasks to others if possible; make one person responsible for opening the door and taking coats, while someone else serves drinks.
  • Paper plates and disposable spoons, knives, and forks, mean less dishwashing.
  • If you serve food that requires a knife and fork, rather than fork or finger food, you will need to provide seating or make sure your guests won’t mind sitting on the floor.

  • Warn your guests beforehand whether the buffet is a meal or just nibbles.
  • Plan ahead where you want to serve drinks. In the kitchen, glasses can be rinsed under the tap. Drinks in the hall might ease congestion. Drinks in the living room is convenient, but takes up space.
  • Decide whether you want to give your guests unĀ­limited access to drinks, or put someone in charge of preparing them.

Creating a party atmosphere

  • Your guests are much more likely to mingle and dance if you take out the chairs!
  • Create a mood with lighting. Use candles or dim the lights.
  • If you have a lot of guests who don’t know each other, plan games like charades or play card games to break the ice.
  • Plan what music you are going to play – perhaps soft background music to begin with and dance music for later on.
  • Think about what your guests have in common, so that you can make personal introductions.

Barbecues

A barbecue is essentially a buffet party outdoors, so many of the same rules apply. One of the most important things to remember is to light the barbecue early. Charcoal barbecues can take more than an hour to reach cooking temperature.

Barbecue safety

  • Never leave a barbecue unattended when children are around.
  • Ideally, you should locate the barbecue a decent distance, and down wind, from your guests.
  • Glass, china, and outdoors don’t mix. Use paper cups, plates, and plastic cutlery.
  • Undercooked meat is a barbecue hazard. Pierce meats with a sharp knife to check that juices run clear, and burgers must contain no pink meat. It can be easier to partially cook food on an indoor grill, immediately before bringing outside to the barbecue.
  • The barbecue may take an hour to cool, so make sure it is positioned where no one will get burned.

Barbecue tips

  • Barbecues range from basic charcoal disposables, costing very little, to sophisticated models that run on bottled gas and cost hundreds of pounds. Unless you know you’ll use a barbecue very often, it’s best to buy a basic re-usable charcoal grill, then upgrade it if you find you use it regularly.

  • An enclosed or kettle barbecue gives protection from the wind.
  • With a gas barbecue, you will get no charcoal smell and will have more temperature control.
  • Always have a contingency plan in case the weather is inclement. At best, this could mean taking brief shelter in the house, at worst, using the kitchen grill and everyone staying indoors.
  • Have a range of snacks ready, so that the chef isn’t hounded by hungry guests!
  • Have a trial-run before the day of the party to check how much food you can put on the grill. Many barbecues are surprisingly small.
  • A barbecue doesn’t have to be limited to steaks and burgers. Grill fish, make kebabs with any food that can be cut into cubes or strips, such as beef and peppers, or grill soy burgers for vegetarian guests.
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About the Author: Jason Prickett loves to write about home maintenance and stuff you can do yourself instead of hiring any professional. His step by step guides will assist you in completing your home maintenance tasks.

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