7 Essential Tips
1. Count eight hors d’oeuvres per person per hour when you’re not serving a meal.
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3. Provide at least one vegetarian offering.
4. Consider your kitchen equipment. If you have only a standard range, don’t limit yourself to stovetop dishes—serve a combination of stovetop, baked, raw, room-temperature and cold foods.
5. Choose a few make-ahead dishes so there’s less to do on the day of the party.
6. Stay away from dips if you’re worried about staining your carpet.
7. Decorate platters with whole spices or colorful dried bean compositions. But don’t be surprised when some guests think the garnishes are edible, whether they’re Scotch bonnet chiles, peppercorns or flowers. People have even been known to eat decorative pebbles.