Organizing a party doesn’t have to be complicated. All it takes to make it a success is a little pre-planning, a carefully selected menu and warm hospitality.
Keep your party simple with a variety of appetizers or small plates that allow your guests to eat throughout the party. Small plates stimulate conversation, are easy to manage and won’t send your guests home feeling overstuffed. We’ve teamed up with guest chefs Meredith Deeds and Carla Snyder, authors of The Big Book of Appetizers, to serve up recipes and tips for a great party.
Essential Party Tips
Plan your menu so that you can prep a few dishes in advance. Make-ahead appetizers like those made of puff pastry and phyllo freeze well, and can go right from the freezer to the oven. You’ll have them ready-to-serve in no time.
The number of guests will determine the number of different appetizers to serve, so plan accordingly. On average, each person consumes 8-12 individual hors d’oeuvres at a party.
If you’re only serving finger food, break out the paper and plastic and skip the tedious clean up. Serve beverages in glassware, but use pretty plastic or paper plates for the appetizers. Don’t forget to recycle!
Ice, Ice (and More Ice)
Buy more ice than you think you’ll need to avoid a spur-of-the-moment race to the grocery store.
This is not the time for dainty cocktail napkins. Hearty appetizers can be messy, so buy large napkins for your guests to use.
Keep it Hot
Use a crock-pot to keep warm dips or chili hot throughout the party.
A month ahead:
- Decide on a party date, guest list and theme.
Three weeks ahead:
- Invite guests by telephone, email, Evite, or snail mail.
- Take inventory of your party supplies. Make sure you have enough tables and chairs, serving pieces and utensils, paper plates, glassware, napkins, and decorative items such as candlesticks. Consider renting or borrowing items you don’t have.
Seven days ahead:
- Make your grocery list (don’t forget the paper goods).
- Confirm RSVPs.
Five days ahead:
- If the party theme calls for decorations, buy those now.
Three days ahead:
- Do your big food shop. If you forget something, you’ll still have plenty of time for last minute items.
- Lay out serving dishes, cutlery, glassware, napkins and other items you’ll be using.
- Add party theme decorations. Purchase and arrange fresh flowers.
Start Planning With These Perfect Party Appetizers:
Lindsay Roasted Olives
A zesty blend of tomatoes, whole garlic, herbs de Provence, and Lindsay® Greek Kalamata and Garlic Stuffed Spanish Olives, Lindsay Roasted Olives is an easy-to-make appetizer that’s a surefire hit for any party.
Lindsay Olives Pissaladiere
A French version of a pizza, the puff pastry-based pissaladiere is rich, flaky and delicious! Briny olives and caramelized onions lend a salty sweetness to this popular appetizer.
Green Olive Cheddar Dip
The richness of the sour cream and cream cheese is the perfect compliment to the savory saltiness of the green olives and cheddar cheese.
Prosciutto Wrapped Olives
A simple, savory appetizer that will be a hassle-free hit at your party. Prosciutto Wrapped Olives are absolutely scrumptious.