We had a blast at John’s party this past Saturday!  Everyone came over around 11 am for a quick “picnic” lunch.  Then, off to the Rodeo!

Here are some tips to use the week before an event:

1.  Finalize the menu – I usually figure the menu out long before the week of an event, but there are often a few dishes I need to finalize as the date approaches.  Do this as early as possible, so you can buy the groceries (if you are cooking).  As I said previously, I buy the dry ingredients in advance.  And, keep a list!  I cannot stress how important a list is – it will help prevent last-minute trips to the store for forgotten items.  Make a final trip to the store the day or two before the party for fresh fruits and veggies.

2.  Confirm with vendors – Call anyone helping you with an event – the caterer, transportation, event location – and confirm your reservation.

3.  Arrange flowers and decorations – You will feel a lot more prepared if you arrange flowers and any decorations the day before your party.  This includes having all serveware, dinnerware, and stemware out and organized.  This way, you can focus on other things the day of a party.   Flowers will open up over night and look just gorgeous for an event.

4.   Finish any last minute bar prep – Unless you are hosting a big party, there is no need to offer a complete bar.  I decide ahead of time what we will be serving for cocktails and during a meal.  For instance, John was in charge of mixing the Bloody Marys this past weekend.  He had a bar set up with all of the spices and olives, pickles, and bacon for garnishing.  They were amazing!  We also had a party tub of ice cold beers, sauvignon blanc, and waters.  The drink options fit the time of day, the party theme, and there was something for everyone.  At dinner parties, I’ll usually offer something when guests arrive (like champagne) and wine for dinner.  If you offer specific choices, people usually pick from that list.  Of course, if a guest doesn’t want what I’ve offered, I’ll expand.  At the end of the day, I want my guests to have a great time.  The drinks and most garnishes can be purchased ahead of time.

5.  Make a List – Not only for the items you need to buy, but also for timing purposes.  Write down what needs to be done when.  This is especially important the day of an event.  For example, if you need to put food in the oven at a certain time – put that on the list.

6.  Cook (if you are cooking) – Figure out how to approach your menu.  Some dishes can be make a day or two in advance, which is so nice.  In fact, I usually plan a menu around when each dish can be made so that I’m not so stressed the day of the event.

7.  Enjoy the Party! – If you are well prepared, you’ll be able to enjoy the party with your guests!