Party Planning Tips for the Holidays and Beyond

This is the week for holiday parties, and if you’re hosting, between last-minute gifts and party prep, you may be feeling a bit panicked.  Never fear – we’re here to help!  Copies of these tips are available in the store if you’d like a handy copy.


Drinks.  How much wine do you need?  Less than you think!  Here’s a formula that usually works:

  • Number of adult guests  x  .75  x  (Number of hours + 1) = Drinks to pour
  • Drinks to pour ÷ 7 = Bottles of wine or beer needed

So, for 50 people at a four-hour cocktail party you’d need about 26 bottles, but might want to buy 36 to have some extra (and reduce worry that you’ll run out!)

Increase the number of bottles if:

  • You use bigger wine glasses
  • Waiters do pouring
  • You are serving cocktail wines followed by dinner wines for a seated meal
  • You’re really sure this is a crowd of serious drinkers!

Unless there’s a reason to believe otherwise, plan on equal amounts of red, white, and sparkling wine.  More red in cooler weather, more white/fizz in warmer times.  And, if you pour everyone sparkling wine to start, many will continue to drink it all night long.

The bigger the group, the simpler you should keep things – four wines is plenty of choice during a cocktail hour and two are more than enough for a seated meal.

Be a responsible host – have the number of a cab company handy, just in case.

Nibbles.  It’s sad, but almost no one eats the vegetables.  People come to a party to eat something crunchy, fried, and/or wrapped in bacon, not something healthy!

Canapes should be easy to eat with one hand.  Avoid passed munchies that have leftover bits like toothpicks, shells, etc., that guests are left awkwardly holding.


Add cards or signs to cheese plates so guests know what they’re sampling – it adds to the fun and sparks conversation.  (We’re happy to make these for you – just ask!)

And our final, most important tip is to always do the dishes and clean up the night of the party, no matter how late it is.  Trust us on this one.


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