Everything You Need to Know to Organise Your Next Cocktail Event
Somewhere between casual and formal, the cocktail party is the ideal event for a range of occasions and celebrations – corporate events,
birthdays, celebrating a personal milestone, post-conference drinks, EOFY cocktail party, or just about any meet and greet event. If you’ve
never hosted one before, planning a cocktail party can feel daunting.
We’ve created this checklist to help you get organised and host a fun and memorable evening. Here are the steps for planning a cocktail
party from start to finish:
Create Your Guest List
Start by deciding on how large you would like your cocktail party to be and who you would like to attend. Create a guest list complete with
The Perfect Venue
Next, select the ideal location for your event. Your decision should be based upon the number of guests as well as the atmosphere and mood you
would like to create. Some possible locations might include a large room in a pub, restaurant or club, an outdoor beer garden or a rooftop
entertaining space, weather permitting. If your home is conducive, it can be the perfect spot to host a cocktail party. If you will be reserving
an outside space, be sure to do so in plenty of time for the event.
Decide On a Theme
The event you are celebrating will help define the theme and the atmosphere you will be creating at the venue. Consider color schemes as well as
décor, glassware, dishes and perhaps even a dress code related to the theme. Create a music playlist or consider hiring a deejay for the
event. Order flowers and plan for the rental of any other required items for your theme.
Create a Drink and Hors d'oeuvres Menu
Now it’s time to decide on the drink menu as well as what canapes or finger food will be served. Do any of your guests have dietary
requirements? Will you be creating a signature cocktail for the event? Be sure to offer appealing non-alcoholic options as well for guests who do
not drink alcohol.
Send Out Invitations
Create and send out invitations to your guests two to three weeks ahead of the event. Reflect your chosen event theme in the invitation
design. Consider sending both snail mail and e-invitations to ensure guests receive your correspondence and can easily RSVP.
Plan the Room Layout
How would you like the venue set up? Envision how guests will circulate around the room and where to place tables and serving areas. If the
party will be held at your home, you’ll have plenty of time and opportunity to plan it. If you are renting a space, arrange a time to go
there with a measuring tape and color swatches so you can get a feel for the setup and how you might decorate the space.
Make a Supplies List
If you will be hosting the party on your own at home, your list will be much longer than if you have assistance from the venue. Obviously, a
party hosted at your home or in a rented space without catering will require supplies for all the cocktails and food items. You will also have to
buy or rent decorations and related items; however, a rented venue may also allow you to use your own decorations. Check with the venue for
specifics and any restrictions.
When entertaining at home, here is a possible list to get you started:
- Food items
- Bar supplies
- Serving trays
Consider Hiring a Bartender or Two
Why not leave drink service to the professionals? Experienced bartenders will delight your guests and allow you
to relax and enjoy the evening as well.
It’s all in the details. Will your party include a coat check? Designated smoking area? Reception area where guests are greeted and checked
in? Consider lighting effects in the entertaining space and if you will be using candles (simulated candles can help ensure safety.) Double-check
your shopping list to ensure you won’t forget any key details like garnishes for your specialty drinks and sauces or accents for your
canapes or finger foods.
Don’t forget to have fun!
Planning a cocktail party can be time consuming, but strive to enjoy the process as well as when your guests start to arrive. Having carefully
planned every detail, you should be ready to relax, mingle and have a great time.
For an even more seamless event, consider leaving the planning and catering to an experienced professional. This checklist is a great starting
point. However, if you need help along the way, Laissez-faire Catering can cater to all your event needs. Call us today! Tell us about your event
and we'll give you a quote so we can get started creating a truly memorable event.