Organization is key.  Create a master list of every item that you need for your celebration.  Include on the list when and where you will buy each item.  

  • When listing every ingredient to create your menu, check your pantry for spices and staples.  Check your refrigerator for dairy and eggs.  (Discovering you are out of an essential ingredient mid-preparation will frustrate you and use up valuable time with a grocery store run.)
  • Your beverage list, obviously, depends upon the menu.  A staple for every event is water.  Tap, bottled or sparkling should be available with lemons and limes for added zing.
  • List the tableware, flatware, glassware you will use and whether it's  your own, a rental or disposable.  Depending upon the event disposable is fine -- there are many attractive selections available today.
  • Include in the list tableclothes, placemats, napkins -- again, disposable is fine.
  • Flowers, candles, fruit and other decorative items should be included on your list.  

Avoid that last minute dash!  Write out a schedule starting with the moment you expect your first guest. Work backward from there.  Here's an example:

  • 7:30 First guests
  • 7:15 Candles lit, music on, ice in ice bucket(s), glasses and cocktail napkins out
  • 7:00 Hors d'oeurves prepped and ready to be heated or served;  wine bottles opened
  • 6:00 In the shower starting to get ready (it's your celebration, you want to look great!)
  • 5:00 All major food preparation and clean up completed.  Start "setting the stage".  (For instance if you are hosting a sit down dinner, set the table and check all items for spots.)

                         Yes Mimi, organization is a good thing.  But rigidly adhering to a schedule and not allowing for flexibility is not. You need to loosen up a little and go with the flow.  Allow yourself at least an hour before the guests arrive to get ready.  Make yourself look and feel fabulous and even indulge in a glass of wine while you are dressing (why not?).

It's a great idea to have a schedule to make sure you are prepared for the first guest's arrival.  But, once the celebration starts, all bets are off!!

For example, as guests arrive start to think about the timing of the evening.  If you are hosting cocktails and a sit down dinner, when will cocktails end and the transition to the main meal begin?  If the last guest shows up 45 minutes after you expected, it's not the end of the world.  (There is a point, however, when you will have to decide that you will no longer wait for a guest who has not shown.  To do otherwise is unfair to everyone else.)  In any case welcome everyone with open arms and adjust the flow of the evening as best you can so that everyone has a chance to relax and get into the swing of things.  

The key is flexibility and fun.  You are throwing a celebration, not running a bootcamp.

Organize ... Organize ... Organize
Everyday Divas Celebrations
 with Mimi and Sue
How to turn your everyday into a celebration