The mere thought of holding a party at home is already overwhelming to many. It seems like party means lots of preparations, cleaning and cooking that is almost "work". It does not need to be like that. If you want to have fun with your friends at home, the easiest way to do it is by doing a cocktail party instead of a big lunch or dinner party.
What's good about holding a cocktail party is that every thing can be prepared in advance. The choices of food to be served to your guests are limitless. There are lots of easy cocktail recipes from recipe books and even online. You will be overwhelmed by the choices that you will have difficulty choosing what to prepare and serve. If your budget will allow, you can even have everything catered or bought ready-to-serve.
Here are some tips in planning for a cocktail party:
Send party invitations via email or direct phone calls. This, for me, will make the invitation more personal and special. You don't need to spend for invitation cards.
Plan on how many people you are inviting. Cocktail parties usually are attended by close friends for purpose of catching up, chatting or mere socializing. But, of course, this could be the ultimate party for special occassions like birthdays.
Make sure that the people you will be inviting will blend well with each other. It is ideal to invite circle of friends according to their network of friends, age, interests, etc. This is to assure a good flow of conversation among the guests. It might not be a good idea to organize a cocktail party for your aunties and grandparents together with your school friends.
Make the table as the certain stage of the party. Come up with a certain number of canapes and nibbles. Tables should be well decorated with flowers, nice table cloth, and food garnished beautifully.
With regards to party nibbles and canapes: filling and toppings for the canapes can be prepared in advance and kept in the fridge. Most of the recipes would just require to top those fillings in filo sheets crackers, pita, bread, then put them in oven for few minutes or just serve them outright. Party nibbles can also be bought straight from delicattessen or some good baker shops.
A good cocktail music is a must (or any music that you think your guest will like and keep the party alive. There should be no quiet and silent moment in a party like this!
Make sure that you have lots of ice and you don't run out of drinks. Wine and champagne are the most ideal for a cocktail party. However, have some drinks ready as well, like juice, sparkling water, etc., for those who do not drink champagne and wine.
I have done few cocktail parties at home that were all successful. Success in holding a party means that you were not time pressured with food preparation, all the guests had fun and you did not run out of food and drinks. Cocktail parties usually last for just a couple of hours, thus, we want it to provide lots of fun for our guests. The rule is "minimum time and preparation, maximum fun and effect'.