Even a casual cocktail party takes careful planning and preparation. Here’s a list of simple tips to help keep you organized in the process.

We’ve got a few tips for hosting a casual get-together where friends and family can drop in at will and not have to worry about conforming to the constraints of a formal dinner party. Of course what’s casual and easy for the guests, still requires a lot of planning and organization for the host, so check out our 12 easy tips below.

12 Tips For Throwing A Great Cocktail Party

Here are a dozen easy ideas to ensure your guests have a great (and safe) time.

  1. Keep your food choices fun and casual.
  2. Choose foods that have plenty of color and contrast for the best presentation.
  3. Don’t get hung up on making hors d’oeuvres that “go together.”
  4. Go easy on yourself – serve at least two or three dips with a variety of chips and crackers.
  5. Serve a variety of both hot and cold foods.
  6. Make sure the food is easy to eat without utensils.
  7. Place plenty of paper napkins in several easily spotted locations.
  8. Make sure most of what you’re serving can be made a day or two in advance.
  9. Stock up on ice.
  10. Set up your wine bar with “lighter” choices ~ avoid heavily oaked chardonnays and tannic reds for easier pairing.
  11. Be sure to have non-alcoholic beverages on hand, including pitchers of ice water.
  12. Have some coffee ready to brew toward the end of the evening.