Our Guide to Hosting a Successful Cocktail Party
Whether you enjoy doing it or not, hosting cocktail parties usually involves many steps to ensure that everything goes by smoothly. If you’re hosting one soon and not really sure where to start, then this guide is for you!
Below, we’ll run you through the process of hosting a successful cocktail party. We’ll start with the planning aspect of the party, since you’re probably in charge of that, too. Then, we’ll move on to what you should do during the party as the host. Finally, we’ll go over a list of to-dos once the event is over.
Steps to organising a cocktail party
- Get all the necessary details: Come up with an estimated headcount if possible and determine what your needs are. Cocktail parties can range from private groups to large-scale gatherings, and each one will have a unique set of requirements.
- Secure the venue: Set a date and mark it on your calendar. If you’re renting a space, shop around for options so that you can find the best location.
- Gather what you need: You’ll need drinks, food, party supplies, and entertainment. Have enough variety in terms of food and drinks and take your guests’ preferences into account. If you’re planning to hire a caterer to provide these, look for businesses that are within reasonable proximity to your venue, to avoid the unneeded hassle.
- Send out invitations: Communicate all the pertinent details to your guests by sending out invitations. Remember to ask for an RSVP to get an idea of how many people will be attending the party. Follow-up at least two weeks in advance, if necessary.
- Set up the venue: Prior to the event, ready the venue for your guests’ arrival by cleaning, decorating, and arranging the seats and tables. Don’t forget to start playing music to get the mood right!
How to be a good host at a cocktail party
- Prioritise your guests: As guests start to arrive at your cocktail party, greet them at the entryway and show them where the food and drinks are. Take the time to mingle and make sure that everyone attending is enjoying themselves.
- Serve a variety of drinks: Ensure that all the glasses are clean and all the ice buckets are filled. Provide enough options in terms of drinks to make sure each guest can have a drink they enjoy.
- Bring out food in batches: Keep the festivities going and send out finger foods and small bites before any main courses. Your guests will be more likely to enjoy the party if there’s a constant flow of food to look forward to.
- Maintain the atmosphere: Keep an eye on food and drinks that need refilling, as well as any supplies you may have forgotten, like beer bottle openers or table coasters. Also, clear out any used dishes and glassware and pick up any litter you see on the floor—there’s nothing that’ll ruin a party faster than trash and a pile-up of dirty dishes!
What to do after a hosting cocktail party
- Thank your guests: Remember to bid your guests farewell and express your gratitude for their attendance.
- Clean the venue: Whether you used a private space or rented one out, do your part in making sure that the space is ready for the next occupants.
- Thank your suppliers: If you hired professional help at any point in the process of planning your event, the end is a perfect time to thank your suppliers for helping you throw a great cocktail party.
As you can see, there are at least a dozen steps involved in hosting an awesome cocktail party. Bigger events might entail even more steps, with some steps branching out into multiple subcategories. In this regard, huge parties often require the services of professionals to handle the more complicated aspects.
With that in mind, even smaller events can benefit from expert help. Capable hands can elevate the experience to a different level and completely eliminate a significant chunk of the responsibilities involved in organising one. And really, what host doesn’t want to take a step back from all the organising to enjoy their own cocktail party?
If you’re hosting a cocktail party of any size in Sydney and need a professional food catering service to provide the food, get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to help!