Help! Need Cocktail Party Advice!

claudia_2010January 21, 2011

Hello! I agreed to give a bd party and now it is getting out of hand for me! It is about 30 people (which is fine space wise). I've only ever had smallish dinner or pool parties. I can not cook for so many, do not want to be stuck in kitchen all night, and professional catering (@$100 a head) is out of the question.

I was thinking of offering red & white wine, a champagne punch and having several platters (cheese, crudite, etc). Is this enough? Is it inappropriate not to offer hot foods also? I was looking at hot hor d'ouevres but since they would be stationary I think I'd need a tremendous amount! I don't want it to be...cheesy : )

Also if I only have platters can I have cocktail napkins only? (no plates, cutlery?) THanks in advance for your advice.

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PS it would be on a Saturday night around 7pm in an apt. - thanks!

    Bookmark   January 21, 2011 at 2:58PM
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I don't know where you are, but I bet you can get catering for a LOT less than $100/head.

But anyway, I think you can do this without a caterer, although I strongly advise you to get helpers. It keeps your guests out of your kitchen, and then there is someone picking up all those used napkins and cups that can really make a mess.

How long is this party going to be? Will it be over a meal time? That makes a big difference.

I do think you need a little bit more than just cheese and crudite, and definitely if it's at a meal time. Sorry! But it doesn't have to be anything fancy or expensive or hot.

For sure have some fruit (skewers?) and some munchies like chips, pretzels, and/or popcorn. I'd also have something sweet; a platter of cookies is fine.

You could have a couple of those giant sub sandwiches or some deli platters, or have a few pizzas delivered if it is at a mealtime.

And I would get a few dozen good quality plastic (or cheap glass) small plates, so people can take a few items over to wherever they will sit. You can wash and reuse them for years. Otherwise it kind of seems like you are hoping no one will eat more than a mouthful.

Sounds like a fun party. It is 19 degrees F here right now; hard for me to even remember what a pool party is like!

    Bookmark   January 23, 2011 at 6:05PM
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At 7 pm on a Saturday night, I think people are going to expect more than crudites and cheese. At 5 pm, you could have a two hour cocktail party and serve light fare like that. People would know that they were going to have dinner afterward. But at 7, well, that's dinner time. They aren't likely to have eaten before arriving. I think if people come at 7 and find little to eat, they're going to cut out after an hour or so and you'll find your party is done by 8:30 as everyone scampers off to dinner. Maybe that's what you had in mind? After all, that's actually best since you don't want people drinking too much with too little to eat.

Doing more substantial tidbits doesn't have to be complicated. You can do smokies or meatballs (buy frozen if you don't want to make your own) in BBQ sauce. Chicken salad in tortilla roll-ups. A deli tray of coldcuts & rolls. (Easy to put together yourself if you don't want to pay the grocery store to do it.) Deviled eggs. Chips & dips. Guacamole. Cheese ball. Spicy/sweet jelly or salsa poured over a block of cream cheese. Hummus & pita chips (easy to pick up ready made). Etc.

I agree that you do need plates. If you do finger foods only, you don't need cutlery. For things like the meatballs, you can use toothpicks. I also agree to get a helper if possible. A teenager can be in charge of picking up trash around the house and making sure the buffet table is kept supplied.

Are you hesitating on the food because it's too expensive or too much work? I guess you agreed to give the party and then found out the guest list was going to be bigger than you'd anticipated? Is it possible to get another friend of the honoree to co-host it with you? I think your best options are
a. Serve more food
b. Get help from another friend
c. Move the party to be 5-7 and stick with your current food plan (I'd still have plates)

    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 1:14PM
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hi i was just reading your post and this is something i came by last year when i had a garden party and it really did save the day.

check it out its like a hosts dream lol

Here is a link that might be useful: cocktail cook book so to speak

    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 9:18AM
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