Guide > Throw the "Perfect" Party
- Don't over-do it. If you let your imperfections show, your guests will feel more comfortable.
- Pay attention to mood. Think about the music, lighting, and where you're placing the food throughout the house so the party flows and the guests still have a place to land.
- Do enough "pre-game" preparation. Anything you can do ahead of time is going to make you that much more at ease.
- Serve dinner in a timely manner. It is inappropriate to have your guests arrive and wait hours for their meal. Serve dinner within 30-45 minutes of their arrival.
- Avoid heavy-handed management. Don't force introductions and conversations. The party will flow organically. Let surprises happen.
- Use off-beat party starters. When guests arrive, put them to work, filling ice buckets, pouring drinks and helping with other last-minute tasks—it helps guests mingle. Serving dinner buffet-style is another informal way to keep the party moving and people talking.
An Easy Menu
- Always pick something that you have cooked on prior occasions.
- Once you've planned your menu, make a shopping list. Keep produce together and dry goods together so you know exactly what you need in each aisle.
- Use packaged vegetables that are already trimmed or shredded, like beans and carrots. This saves tons of time.
- Buy box brownie and cake mixes! "I'm not ashamed!"
- Prepare as much food ahead of time as you can.
- Katie's take on appetizers: "Put out a cheese platter, some nuts, some olives, but don't go crazy with it. Have more fun when it comes to the main course."
An Unusual Table
- You don't need to spend a ton of money to make a beautiful table. And, forget the big centerpiece of flowers!
- Use a sheet, piece of fabric or an old drape as a tablecloth or runner.
- Take a walk in nature or in your backyard and use the beautiful things around you. For instance, place sand along the length of your table, pop in some daffodils, twigs, leaves and candles for decoration.
- Food should be placed on different levels along your table. Use books, phone books and magazines and stack them under your fabric.
Off-Beat Party Starters
- Katie's unconventional greeting style instantly puts her guests at ease. "I can't remember the last time I threw a dinner party where I didn't answer the door still in my bathrobe with a towel still around my head."
- While Katie gets dressed, her guests are left in charge, filling ice buckets and pouring drinks. "The minute they walk in, I put them to work. I might even leave a few things that I knew I could get done, just to get them involved."
- Serving dinner buffet style is a great way to keep the party moving. It keeps people talking and is not too formal.
For the "Perfect Party"
- Don't over-do it. If you let your imperfections show, your guests feel more comfortable.
- Pay attention to mood. Think about the music, lighting, where you're placing the food throughout your house so it flows and the guests still have a place to land.
- Do enough "pre-game" preparation. Anything you can do ahead of time is going to make you that much more at ease. Katie's mantra: Don't put it off!
- Serve dinner in a timely manner. It is inappropriate to have your guests arrive and wait hours for their meal. Serve dinner within 30?5 minutes of their arrival.
- No heavy-handed management. Don't force introductions and conversations. The party will flow organically. Surprises occur. Let it happen! It's fun.
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