Catering your own party

Planning is key when catering your own party. Making and following detailed lists plays an essential role in the planning of your event.

Catering your own party can be rewarding and economical. However, it can also be frustrating without proper planning and costly if you do not budget well.

Michigan State University Extension suggests that you create a plan of action. A good plan of action is essential to a successful and stress-free event. You can plan everything on paper, on your computer or on your phone. The best choice is to plan using whichever documentation method is most practical, convenient and comfortable for you to use. Creating detailed lists are necessary when planning a party.

Begin by determining the following:

  • The event type – graduation, retirement, shower, or a going away party etc.
  • Date and time
  • Location
  • The number of attendees – determine the breakdown of adults, teenagers and children.
  • Type of food being served – appetizers, light meal, dessert etc.

Financial questions to consider:

  1. How much money do you have to spend on this party?
  2. Is it practical to do everything yourself? Can you hire part of the preparations out? For example, you may choose to buy a decorated specialty cake rather than bake and decorate one yourself.
  3. Do you have enough help to prepare and then serve at the party? Could you hire some teens or friends to help serve and clean up?
  4. Do you have all the equipment, the facility and tables and chairs needed?
  5. Can you borrow items like tables and chairs from friends and family?

Consider what you are going to serve:

  • Will your party be simple or more formal?
  • What will your menu include? Will you make all foods from scratch or purchase all ready-to-eat meals or a combination? It is generally not recommended to have a menu with more than five items that need last minute preparation. The fewer last minute items to prepare the less stressed you will be.
  • Consider contrast in color, size, shape, texture and flavor when making your plans.

Always remember food safety when planning your party. Nothing ruins a good time more than having guests getting sick from the food at your party.

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