How to Throw a Party for 60 April 10 2015

This week we celebrated the first birthday of my son Hamilton.  As he is my first child, I couldn’t let this occasion go by un-celebrated.  Since our immediate family who live locally includes 25 people, we decided to go for it and invite our friends as well.  To our surprise, everyone responded YES, so we had a big party on our hands. There were 60 guests, 35 adults and 25 children to be exact.

With my background in cooking and event management, the party came together well.  Here is a guideline of how we were able to get everything accomplished and also enjoy the party.

THE MENU

Baguette Sandwiches – Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese, Grilled Vegetables & Goat cheese

Frittatas – Asparagus, Mushroom & Parmesan Cheese, Plain

Tea Sandwiches – Cheese, Cucumber and Cream Cheese

Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella Pasta Salad

Fruit Salad

Chocolate Cupcakes

Banana Cake & Smash Cake

Sparkling Wine, Sparkling Water, Juice, Soda, Water

THE PLAN

Four Weeks Ahead

Send out invitations – We used evite to make this easier.  My grandparents who are in their 80’s and 90’s were able to figure it out, so this is definitely user friendly!

Three Weeks Ahead

Order all non-perishable items – You don’t want to be running around finding these items right before the party.  And you definitely don’t want to pay for express shipping.  Crossing this off my list early, allowed me to focus on other to-do’s closer to the party. This included paper cups, plates & napkins as well as plastic cutlery.  I also ordered plastic table coverings, balloons, party favors and the decorations. We had a bubble themed party so the favors were bubble solution and bubble gum. I ordered some extra bubble gum to have out during the party.

Two Weeks Ahead

Confirm guest count

Put together party favors – When entertaining a big group, it is important to plan ahead.  The favors can be made weeks in advance (unless it is something perishable) and will save you a last minute headache at party time.

Make a prep list – The prep list (a to-do list) is something I’ve used since my days of working in a kitchen. It is a list of everything that needs to get done. By looking at each project (item on the list) I was able to prioritize and also make a plan of what could happen ahead of time.

One Week Ahead

Purchase the food - Make that trip to the supermarket or order online or both. Since my son was born, I have learned to love the convenience of grocery delivery.  The only downside is that sometimes you get potatoes instead of eggplant or they forget to deliver something entirely.  I had my groceries delivered 4 days before the party to be safe.  I still made trips to the grocery store three times after that, but it was nice to have the bulk of everything delivered.

I also ordered the baguettes for the sandwiches about a week ahead. This way I could relax on party day and not stress about getting to the bakery early so they would have what I wanted.

Three Days Ahead

Cook Pasta for Pasta salad, prep vegetables

Prep scones and put in freezer, I used the recipe from the Bouchon Bakery Cookbook which has you freeze the dough ahead of baking!

Two Days Ahead

Bake Cupcakes

Bake Cake

Cook Vegetables

One Day Ahead

Make Fruit Salad

Make Frittatas

Frost & Decorate Cupcakes

Pick up smoked salmon

Get out all platters and serving utensils needed

Set up the bar

Chill beverages (it was cool enough on party day that we were able to chill the beverages outside!)

Set out tablecloths and decorations

Party Day

Pick up Bread & ice

Prepare sandwiches

Bake Scones

Set out Food & Beverages

Enjoy!

During the party I was able to mingle with my guests and spend time with my son. It was nice to have a few close friends offer to help and I took them up on their offers.  People want to be included so don’t say NO to help. I wouldn’t ask someone to do my dishes or take out the trash, but cutting the cake and setting out the favors are definitely within reason.

Happy First Birthday Hamilton!  Hopefully in one year, I’ll be celebrating the first anniversary of Julie’s Beet.With this guide, I’ll be able to put the party together in no time!

Happy Friday,

Julie