Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Random Hearts: Cocktail parties!!

Now that Halloween is over and done with, the real party season can start. 
No silly costumes (even though we love them) required fro these parties. 

We super heart cocktail parties. 

Cocktail parties were huge in the 1940's and 50's, and they are back! 
Here are a few good reasons to have a cocktail party this holiday season. 

1. Throwing a cocktail party can be more affordable than dinner parties. 
2. Cocktail parties are generally 2-3 hours in length. Perfect amount of time for Maximum effect, Minimal effort.  
3. You can bring together all types of friends and give them alcohol, that will help them mix and mingle! 
4. You get to wear a great outfit. 

So here is what you need to do if you are planning to host your own swinging cocktail affair. 

 Get your guest list ready. 
to do this you have to decide what type of party you are going to have. 
Are you inviting over one single group of friends that all know each-other?

Maybe you want to bring a few different groups of your friends together? 

Perhaps you are throwing a holiday party and want it really festive and plan to invite people from all walks of your life? 

Well, here are a few rules to remember... 
You should have at least 12 people so conversation is stimulating and fast-moving. No one should get "stuck" in a snoozy conversation. 
But don't have so many people that your space is crowded. You want people to have enough room to move freely and hear what the people they are talking to are saying. 

PLUS- As the host you should be able to make the rounds and have a nice little conversation with all you guests, make introductions and check on your more shy friends. 

So lets say 40 + people for a big holiday cocktail party is about right. 

Now come the fun part... 
Setting the mood! 

Nothing sets the mood for an event like the invitation, and we are big fans of proper snail mail invitations. 

Because it is so exciting these days to actually get something fun and pretty in the mail! 

We love the retro tone of this invite from Snow & Graham

And we LOVE this skull invite from Wiley Valentine! Perfect for your slightly dark holiday party! 

Luxe paperie has so many pretty invite options. 

Tell, people if you want them to get extra dolled up for your party. 
wording like 
"Classic Cocktail Attire Please!"
will help direct your guests when they are getting ready.  
Remember to get your invitations out at least 2 weeks ahead, although 4 is better! The sooner you let people know about your fun cocktail party, more guests will be able to save your night in this party heavy season!  

So the guest list is made and the invitations have gone out. At this point we hope you have some sort of dream in your head about they style of your party... So that means it is time to talk drinks. Signature cocktails are always fun at a party, 
here are a few fall and winter style drinks that may work for your soiree.  

Super Sex in the City style Cosmos
So pink and fun! 
Ginger Sparkler!! Champagne and ginger? Yes please!

If we are looking back to the 50's for inspiration for our Cocktail Party, then why not have a punch bowl? Try this Blood Orange punch! So easy for you, you mix it all together once, set it out and Viola!! Mixed drinks for your guests all night! 

Go super toasty and make White Russians! 
So perfect for a party in December. 

Set up a table with lots of glasses and drinks, we love the idea of setting a ice bucket full of strawberries or raspberries next to the champagne! 

Make it as easy as you can for your guests to get their cocktails, but keep it organized and simple. 

Mixers like juice and soda should be put into glass pitchers, keep garnishes handy and ready sliced. 

If you are having a larger cocktail party, then you should consider having a bartender. You may be surprised at how well that money was spent. 
Having someone set up your bar and mix drinks all night frees you up to pay more attention to your guests and have fun at your own party... Imagine that! 

Here are some rules of thumb for getting the drinks together for your party. * At the end of this post we have a handy chart to guesstimate the amount of booze and mixers for your crowd. 


(From epicurious.com)

Before you stock your bar, you need to know how much alcohol and mixers to purchase. This guidelines below are helpful for any bar setup, but if you're having a full bar, consult the chart farther below to make sure you have sufficient amounts of the various liquors and mixers. Of course, it's always good to throw in some extras in case the party lasts longer than you planned, there are additional unexpected guests, or one drink is more popular than others.

• Each guest will drink an average of two drinks the first hour and one drink each hour thereafter.

• A one-liter bottle of alcohol yields approximately 22 mixed drinks, so if you know how many guests are attending and what kind of bar you're going to have, you can easily figure out how much alcohol to purchase.

• To accommodate any non-cocktail drinkers, estimate one bottle of wine per eight guests, remembering that white wine tends to be more popular than red.

• One 750-ml bottle of Champagne fills six regular Champagne glasses. The amounts listed in the chart below account for how much Champagne guests will drink from the bar. If you plan to have a Champagne toast, you will need to purchase additional bottles—you only need to pour about a third of a glass for a toast, so plan on one bottle of bubbly for every ten guests.

• Garnishes are relatively cheap, so it's always smart to buy extras. Plan on a 1/2 lemon and 1/2 lime and two each of olives, cherries, and onions per guest. This means that if you have 24 guests, you'll need at least 12 lemons and 12 limes plus 48 each of olives, cherries, and onions.

• Plan on one and a half pounds of ice per person. This will provide enough ice for drinks as well as any ice baths for wine or beer.

On to the yummy part of the evening! Food! 

Now, because this is a cocktail party and not a dinner party, you are only required to have hors d' oeuvres but if your party runs through the dinner hours say from 7-10pm then you want to have enough hors d' oeuvres to feed hungry people! 

Start with the basics, cheese plates. It always looks super fancy when you take a nice round of brie or a log of delicious goat cheese and cover it with honey and crumbled nuts. Easy and gourmet! 

Set cheesy bread sticks in cups around your house. 

Hit up Trader Joes for a nice selection of baked goodies. They have a pretty vast selection of affordable delicious finger food for your party. 

Make a big pan of artichoke and spinach dip, and then set crusty bread and crackers near by. 

And most important of all, don't forget the desert table! Because sweets make every party, that much better! 

Don't spend your whole day baking... Just swing by the local bakery! 
Remember this party is meant to be simple for you, not exhausting! 

Set the mood at your house with candles and soft lighting. 
Throw around a few floor pillows and make sure you have lots of side tables for people to set their drinks on. 

Use any outdoor spaces you may have. You can rent space heaters from most event rental places, they drop off and pick up, so that could not be more simple for you! 

Candle light is key in outdoor spaces... So grab a few bags of tea lights from Ikea and set them around your whole yard. 

Now for the reason you had a party in the first place... A chance to wear a fantastic outfit! 

Here are a few of our key choices for this holiday party season. 

O.K listen Lieberman, we get it, you are the queen of stylish simplicity. 
But is this really fair? 

From the ANOTHER piece that we would die and kill for. Simply perfect one shouldered little black dress. Oh and did we mention the sleeve has an amazing zipper down it? Perfection for your party and many to come. 

Hi sequined pale pink and silver beauty. Would you like to come to my party? Because I would love to bring you along... We could have a really great thing together. 

Woops, sorry you caught us talking to our clothes again. 
This Haute Hippie dress is made for ringing in the New Year! 

Wait for it... Wait for it.... que deep loving Ahhhhhhhh! 

Pure perfection. Pure delight! This Haute Hippie dress had us at absurdly giant rosette!  Really? Really? 

And as for your feet? How about some delightful super duper sky high heels? 

These insane Rock and Republic heels will walk you through the whole holiday season! 

Don't forget to tie on yor hostess apron while you are cooking so you don't ruin your pretty dress! 

This Heavenly hostess apron will look so sweet! 

Now that you have your game plan down... Go ahead and throw a super fun and festive Cocktail party! 

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