Hosting a get-together doesn't have to mean spending a lot of cash and slaving away in the kitchen all day.
Setting the Mood
Pick a theme & colour.It so much easier to pick out all the decorations and make everything look cohesive. This will narrow your options for décor ideas and keep you from getting overwhelmed with too many options.
Try this cheap and festive decorating trick: Fill vases and hurricane candleholders with fresh cranberries. Stick a sprig of evergreen in the center and place the arrangements around your living room.
Make a playlist rather than putting your iPod on random. Stick to upbeat, festive music for cocktail hour and mellow tunes for dinner.
You don't have to deep-clean your house before a party, but you should stash clutter. Use decorative tins, baskets, and hampers to hide messes. Or if you're really pressed for time, toss everything in to a room and declare that room off-limits.
If you're pressed for time, pick up a rotisserie chicken and place it on a pretty serving platter. Serve it with a few easy side dishes like steamed veggies or potatoes. Let 'em think it's homemade.
Pick up some cheeses, olives, salami, and prosciutto from an Italian deli or grocery store. Arrange them on a plate for a quick antipasto platter.
Have a panini grill. Keep jars of roasted red peppers and artichoke hearts on hand. Put the veggies on a piece of bread along with cheese, throw it on the grill, Delicious snacks that feel gourmet. the bar on the opposite side of the room from the food to encourage mingling.
Make Lists - dont trust thing to your memory
Keep lists of vendors you needed to contact, who was doing what, guest list what time things were being delivered, what needed to be picked up that day. Lists are a must when it comes to party planning.
Organize a game
It is an easy way to break the ice and get people talking.
DIY Photo booths
You do not have to pay tons of money to a professional to set up a photo booth. It is easy to just set-up a camera on a tripod, throw up a cute background, and grab some fabulous props.
Make up some cute signs to put up at the food and drink tables. This will really dress up the event.
Forgo the full bar and instead serve up one signature cocktail such as a big pitcher of your sangria.
For designated drivers and nondrinkers offer this simple but chic drink: club soda with a splash of fruit juice and a few pieces of sliced fruit or lemonade.