Help my impending parties not suck
May 1, 2010 6:23 PM Subscribe
Over the next couple of weeks I'll be hosting a cocktail hour and a semi-fancy dinner for 50 people. I'm looking for your best simple-yet-elegant recipes for cold hors d'oeuvres and little desserts, as well as general cocktail-hour/party planning tips.
posted by pluckemin to Food & Drink (17 answers total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
The cocktail hour will probably be attended by about 15-20 people. I'll be making all the food myself the previous day, and in terms of beverages we'll have wine and some kind of Spring-appropriate cocktail. The venue doesn't have a kitchen, so all the food needs to be served cold. I want a combination of vegetarian and non-vegetarian savory hors d'oeuvres, as well as at least one finger-food-type dessert. My cooking skills are decent, but as I said, I'll be making everything by myself the previous day (with the exception of things that can be prepped without a kitchen, like crackers topped with stuff) so it needs to come together relatively quickly. I'm aiming for "casual elegant," if that means anything -- e.g., pigs in blankets are too casual, caviar is too fancy, bite-size quiches are just right. Let's say my budget for ingredients is $100.
The dinner for 50 will be catered (thank god), but I'm in charge of buying beverages. I don't really drink, so I'm totally clueless about this. Budget for drinks: $400.
So I guess this boils down to a few questions:
1. What are some good "casual elegant" cold hors d'oeuvres and adorable little desserts that can be prepared a day in advance by a single person?
2. How does one go about choosing which foods to serve? Is there a logic to the number of different varieties of hors d'oeuvres to have, and the number of each to make? Is there some kind of hors d'oeuvre matrix where you're supposed to have one kind from each category?
3. How does one know how much alcohol to buy for a party? Is there a formula?
4. Er... anything else I should be asking about that I haven't? I've got a decent handle on logistical stuff (get plenty of ice, etc.), it's more the feeding-and-watering-large-groups-of-people part that's got me spooked.