Party planning should be fun and easy, so get things done in 15 minutes or less.

The 15-Minute Party Planner's blog breaks down basic party-planning tasks into simple actions that take 15 minutes or less. We're not here to make you the next Martha, we're here to help you be crafty quickly!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Dinner party etiquette from the 15-Minute Party Planner

Gearing up for a fancy dinner party?  Make it easy on yourself by paying attention to these few simple rules of etiquette.

For starters, setting the table according to the diagram below.  (Just click the image to see the full-size diagram.)  Then, remember to "work your way in" with the utensils.  Start with the outermost forks and spoons for the first courses and work your way in to the utensils closest to your dinner plate as the meal progresses.

Need an easy way to remember which bread plate and drinking glass goes with which place setting?  Just stick your index fingers up while making circles with your other fingers (see right).  Your left hand—which looks like a "b"—matches up with the bread plate; bread plates are kept to the left of the dinner plate.  Your right hand—which looks like a "d"—should remind you that your drinking glass is kept to the right of your dinner plate.

Make your guests feel comfortable.  This is obvious, of course, but how do you do it?  By anticipating guests' needs.  In addition to the date, time, and location of your party, make note of the dress code so that guests know the expectations up front.  And while you don't have to create individual dishes for each guest,consider asking if anyone has any dietary restrictions or allergies; then, make sure you serve something everyone can eat.

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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Simple graduation party planning

Summer is the time for graduation parties. How do you plan a graduation party 15-Minute Party Planner style? By making it simple. Follow these steps and your party will be guaranteed an A+.

Great parties have great guest lists. Consider the right mix of people for your party. Your graduate will want to celebrate with everyone, but should you celebrate with everyone at the same time? Consider hosting back-to-back parties – a morning celebration for family and an afternoon bash for high school or college buddies – if you think your graduate would like the opportunity to mingle with family in one way and friends in another.  Two parties on one day is an easy way to save time, since you only have to set up once.

Make the sending of invitations easy by enlisting your graduate’s help. If you’re using fancy invitations from your child’s college, ask the guest of honor to help address them and pop them in the mail. If you’re going to e-mail invitations, choose a website that offers free invites and enlist your graduate and hitting “send”.

Since summer calls for laid-back styles like barbecue and sandwiches, keep the menu simple and call a caterer or pick up pre-made foods from a local grocery store. Even small grocery stores offer platters of cold cuts, tubs of macaroni salad, precut fruit, and desserts, saving you kitchen prep-time.

Keep drinks simple too; consider purchasing single-serve cans or bottles to prevent having to have cups on hand.  Be sure to offer plenty of water to fend off the heat, and provide plenty of ice.  If you're hosting a party for older grads, save your sanity by offering just one or two kinds of alcoholic drinks, or by asking people to bring their own.  Of course, if you're hosting a party for high schoolers, stay safe and skip the alcohol completely. 

Make decorating inexpensive and easy by raiding your local dollar store for graduation decorations. Display diplomas, degrees, yearbooks, and school paraphernalia for a personal touch that requires no prep work.

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