A Champaign Bottle With Glasses of Champaign


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When I was first married, I hated throwing parties. It was so much work, I never got to enjoy one minute of it. I’d spend all day on my feet frantically trying to get everything together before our guests arrived. Then I’d run around refilling drinks and washing dishes as everyone else noshed away and settled into conversations.

But over the years, I’ve developed a foolproof plan that frees me up to join in on the fun. It does require an excel spreadsheet, make-ahead recipes, and a slightly anal-retentive nature.

STEP #1 – Decide what kind of party you’re having. Is it a dinner party? Just cocktails and hors d’oeurvres? A brunch?

STEP #2 – Pick your dishes wisely. The key is finding recipes that can be done a day or so before and then just reheated or served cold.

STEP #3 – Make a spreadsheet. I’m not kidding. The first thing I do is label the dishes along the top. Next, I list the ingredients I need to buy beneath each dish. You can then cut and paste that section onto a separate page for your shopping list.

STEP #4 — Below the ingredients, I list the four days of the week leading up to the party. Below each day, I assign tasks that can be done ahead.

STEP #5 — Make sure to include things like cleaning the house, setting the table, prepping your bar, etc. to the list. These can be a real time suck, and it’s important to allot ample time for each.

STEP #6 — Stick to the plan. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, there’s no shame in asking someone to bring a dish. Just be specific about what you need.

STEP #7 — Assign tasks to your spouse, partner, kids, and/or good friends.

STEP #8 —If something doesn’t come out well, don’t worry about it. Chances are you’ve made way too much food anyway.

STEP #9 — Don’t leave showering and getting dressed to the last minute. You’ll always run out of time and you don’t want to greet your guests looking like a worn out dishrag.

STEP#10 — Now pour yourself a cocktail and have a great time.

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