Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Party Ideas: Arranging the Foods

This is another installment about holiday ideas and party ideas. I’ve already offered some party ideas in previous posts, and this one is about arranging your party foods. If you’re hosting a dinner party, this information doesn’t apply. This is for parties held in your home, where you serve hors d’oeuvres and finger foods. The strategy you use for arranging and placing your party foods might be more important than you think!
Party foods
Most hostesses like to serve party foods that are easy to eat, without the need for forks or spoons. When you’re planning your party menu, consider how the foods will be eaten and served. Can they be eaten easily? At cocktail parties, most guests will be eating while standing, and guests might be dressed in their better apparel, so you might want to avoid messy sauces and such. No one wants a stain on her cocktail dress.
Serve party foods that are small. Most guests want to try a little of everything, so if you keep the individual servings small, this will be easy. You also want your party foods to be attractive and varied. Include savory foods, creamy foods, spicy foods, and a few sweets.
Have one area to serve as your main food table. The table should be easily accessible from all sides. Place the foods at different heights by using cake stands, tiered serving dishes, and footed dishes. You can use crystal stemware and wine glasses to hold small portions, too.
As you’re arranging the food, take notice of the colors of the party foods. For example, you don’t want to place all the white foods together. Mix up your palette to make your table more attractive. If some foods need toothpicks for serving, place the toothpicks near those foods, and use attractive holders for the toothpicks.
Party foods and party strategy
When you’re having a party, you want your guests to be moving around to different areas and joining in different conversations. You can help this along by placing some party foods in different rooms or areas. Let’s say you have a nice seating area in your library. How do you get guests to venture there? Have a small tray of delicious treats in the room!
Placing some “surprise” party foods around your home will encourage people to move about, helping your event “flow.”