What is a Cocktail Party?:
- How many guests will be attending?
- Is this a casual event for friends or a formal business networking event?
- How much time and effort do I want to put into it?
- Will there be a full bar or a limited cocktail menu?
- Will the party be indoor or outdoor? If outdoor, do I have a plan for inclimate weather?
- What type of food will be served?
- Is there a theme for the party?
- Should guests be asked to bring anything?
- How much money do I want to spend?
- Full Bar- If you opt for this you give guests the option to choose their favorite drink. This is great if you have a well-stocked bar or if you're willing to buy the essential spirits and are able to mix up a variety of drinks (or have a good bartending guide).
- Drink Menu- This is my favorite because it encourages people to step out of their drinking routine. You’ll also save money because you don’t need a fully stocked bar. Make up a list of the drinks (including ingredients) and set it on the bar for guests to peruse.
Get Some Help:
- Make sure you have all of the essential bar tools.
- Send invitations early, but not too early, 2-3 weeks should be sufficient unless it's a busy time of year like November and December.
- Get food pairing suggestions from What to Drink with What You Eat.
- Have plenty of cocktail napkins, plates and glasses available.
- Plan on 50-75% of invited guests to attend to estimate the number of drinks you'll be pouring and how many bottles you'll need.
- Estimate 2-3 drinks per person.
- Add a "WOW" factor. This could be a drink, garnish, food dish, activity, display or whatever fits your party.
More Party Planning Ideas & Advice:
Every good host or hostess is responsible for those drinking at their party. Be aware of guests who have had too much to drink, cut them off when necessary and arrange for designated drivers. Also, have a few non-alcoholic drink, or mocktails, available for non-drinking guests.