Tips for Preventing a Disaster When Planning a Family Party
Family Parties are unlike casual gatherings among friends. The reason being that a faux pas in this area will be the topic of discussion for years to come. That being said, tips for preventing disasters in these situations is useful knowledge.
When Planning Food Choices
Always beware of any food allergies and intolerances in your family. There is not a worse party disaster than sending a relative into anaphylactic shock.
Tips for Dinnertime Parties
If your party is planned at dinner time, use warm foods that are easy to prepare ahead of time. Soups are a good hot meal that can be simmering as the host does last minute cleaning and decorating. A good soup is not hard to create. All you need is: chicken, beef or vegetable stock, a corresponding meat, and a nice selection of vegetables. Simmer these ingredients for one to two hours. Soup can either be served with finger foods or a some type of bread. Bread bowls, dinner rolls and cornbread are excellent sides. Always be sure to bake or purchase more than you think you will need, to avoid running out of food if the turnout is larger than expected.
Tips for Anytime Parties
Elaborate cooking is not always important when entertaining. Foods served should be simple to prepare in large quantities. Snack platters are ideal for parties that fall in-between normal mealtimes. One option is the classic crackers, cheese and summer sausage selection. Cheese can either be in slices or a cheese ball. Another option for the snack platters is mini sandwiches. For these just use dinner rolls or croissants, lunch meat and cheese. These sandwiches are best served with chips and dip.
Planning the decor is simple. Start with a clean open area. Set your food selection on a kitchen table or counter. Light candles that match your carpet, drapes or the season. Be sure to place your candles high enough so that they’re safe from children. On major holidays, consider using centerpieces, wreaths or paper skeletons for a nice touch. Set up a separate area for any children present. If space is limited, consider using a spare room or your garden or yard. Provide crayons, paper, small toys and an age appropriate movie.
Planning the Guest List
The issues of budget and space need to be addressed first. Invitations of the formal variety are not always necessary with family parties. Phone calls can be useful and the hostess will find out immediately which guests plan to attend. Reminder texts or calls can avoid and empty table if guests were invited a week or more before. Be careful not to invite two people who are currently not speaking to each other. Or to avoid hurt feelings, arrange seating so they will not be forced to sit next to each other. Awkward silences could result from poorly planned invites.
If Guests Offer to Bring Something
Family guests will usually offer to bring something. It is, however, tacky to ask people to bring more than one item. In order to prevent a late arrival from holding up a meal, don’t ask guests to bring anything that needs to be cooked before serving. Drinks, salads, and desserts are all acceptable requests.
Preventing the Last Minute Crisis
Last minute issues usually lie in the details. To prevent a disaster before party day, a host should always know: What type of dinnerware and utensils will be used, who is bringing what, how many adults and children will be attending, and what type of beverage each guest prefers. A sample drink spread is one type of alcohol, two types of soda, and two types of juice.
While there is no guarantee that family guests will get along, these tips should help any family party be a total success.