How to organise a drinks party
- Usually, you can invite guests for a fixed amount of time – it implies that you’ll be finishing early and your guests can go on to other parties. So you could invite them between 6.30 – 9.00pm for example. That way people arrive on time too. I find with drinks parties that you’ll always have hangers-on who stay late anyway which you might love or hate, depending on your mood. I’ve known of people who stop serving promptly at 8.30pm and then quietly disappear, leaving their guests to get the hint and depart…
- When you’re serving canapés, you don’t have to have an endless selection, just make sure you have some hot, some cold, and some vegetarian. And they don’t have to be posh either: I find the humble cocktail sausage is always a winner. Having said that, there’s a wealth of ideas for canapés, so have some fun. Click here for nibbles and canapé ideas (link)
- Clear the room of all big pieces of furniture (or push them back against the walls) so people have standing room.
- But! It’s also nice to create conversation areas, so you can place 2 or 3 chairs together beside a window.
- It’s a good idea to have lots of space or little tables dotted around so people can put down their glasses.
- Never underestimate the number of napkins you’ll need!
- Have a stack of baby-wipes on hand for spills.
- Glasses can be borrowed from wine merchants – they’ll often loan them out for free if you order booze from them.
- Alternatively, if you’re bringing in caterers, they may organize glasses for you.
- The joy of a drinks party is that you don’t need chairs, a large table, plates or cutlery – you can manage with just glasses and many, many napkins.
- Enlist help for handing around food and topping up drinks (children love this job. So do your shy guests!).
- Post one helper on the door for coats.
- Sometimes it’s to have a focus point. So if it’s someone’s birthday, serve the cake or make the speech right in the middle of the party, not at the end.
- Don’t forget your lighting and music.
- Take some photos.
- Have a taxi number on hand for when your guests leave, assuming you want them to!