Tips for Party Planning

Everyone can use new tips for party planning. I am older so I have planned many parties in my lifetime but I am always looking for new tips and ideas. Just think about it, most of us usually invite the same people to every party we plan so doing the same thing each time will soon get boring. We want our parties to be memorable in a good way.

By being on the “lookout” for tips for planning gatherings, we often can save on money, time and EMBARASSMENT. Knowing how much food and drink to have on hand for your party saves the embarrassment of running short. I always plan to have more to prevent running out. New ideas help to make your parties fun, exciting and memorable. Below is a list of tips which I hope will help you with your next party.


California Shrimp Roll Appetizers for a CrowdCalifornia Shrimp Roll Appetizers for a Crowd

Important tips for party planning should include just when it is necessary to provide plates for snacks. The following recipe to serve as an appetizer or a snack is one of those occasions. Although these are very delicious, they might become annoying to some due to the possible messiness. Avoid the situation by making small plates available. (Napkins should be available always when food is served.)

  • 2 Cups water
  • ½ Teaspoon salt
  • 1 Cup uncooked white rice
  • 2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 Teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 1 Teaspoon sugar
  • ½ Teaspoon salt
  • 16 Romaine leaves
  • ½ Cup mayonnaise
  • 4 Teaspoons lemon juice
  • ½ Teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ Cup sliced strips carrots and green bell peppers (1/8 inch by ¾ inch long)
  • 36 Peeled, deveined and cooked shrimp 

TO MAKE SAUCE: One cup soy sauce mixed with ¼ cup of horseradish.

Heat water to a boil, add rice and ½ teaspoon salt.

Reduce heat, cover and simmer about 20 minutes until soft and water is absorbed.

NOTE: Watch to make sure rice does not stick and burn.

Cool rice slightly and then refrigerate about 30 minutes to chill.

Add to the rice the vinegar, lemon peel, sugar and ½ teaspoon salt; stir to blend well and set aside.

Cut Romaine leaves in half lengthwise removing and discarding the center ribs. (Should have 36 strips).

Combine and blend the mayonnaise, lemon juice and ginger; spread on each strip of Romaine.

Spoon about 1 tablespoon of rice on each strip and 1 piece of carrot and 1 bell pepper.

NOTE: I use hands to press the rice firmly together (Covered with sanitized gloves).

Start rolling up at the thin end of Romaine to the wide end; secure with toothpick.

NOTE: After rolling up I set them up on my cutting board and press the rice firmly down.

Press 1 shrimp in each roll; serve with soy horseradish sauce.

Makes 36 appetizers or 18 servings.


Tips for Party Planning for Food Quantities for 25

  • Sandwiches and bread: 50 slices or 3 one pound loaves
  • Butter: ½ pound
  • Mayonnaise: 1 Cup
  • Mixed filling of meat, eggs or fish: 1 ½ quarts
  • Sweet fruit filling: 1 quart
  • Lettuce: 1 ½ heads
  • Beef wieners: 6 ½ pounds
  • Hamburger: 9 pounds
  • Turkey or chicken: 13 pounds
  • Fish fillets or steaks: 7 ½ pounds
  • Salads, casseroles or potato salad: 4 ½ quarts
  • Scallop potatoes:  4 ½ quarts or one 12X20 inch pan
  • Spaghetti (cooked): 1 ¼ gallons
  • Baked beans: ¾ gallons
  • Jell-O salad: ¾ gallon
  • Brick ice cream: 3 ¼ quarts
  • Bulk ice cream: 2 ¼ quarts
  • Coffee: ½ pound coffee and 1 ½ gallons water
  • Tea: 1/12 pound tea and 1 ½ gallons water
  • Lemonade: 10 to 15 lemons and 1 ½ gallons water (Sweeten to taste)
  • Watermelon: 37 ½ pounds
  • Cake: One 10X12 sheet cake or 1 ½ ten inch layer cake
  • Whipping cream: ¾ pint

Tips for Party Planning for Food Quantities for 50

  • Sandwiches and bread: 100 slices or 6 one pound loaves
  • Butter: ¾ to 1 pound
  • Mayonnaise: 2 to 3 cups
  • Mixed filling of meat, eggs or fish: 2 ½ to 3 quarts
  • Sweet fruit filling: 1 ½ to 2 quarts
  • Lettuce: 2 ½ to 3 heads
  • Beef wieners: 13 pounds
  • Hamburger: 18 pounds
  • Turkey or chicken: 25 to 35 pounds
  • Fish fillets or steaks: 15 pounds
  • Salads, casseroles or potato salad: 2 ¼ gallons
  • Scalloped potatoes:  8 ½ quarts
  • Spaghetti (cooked): 2 ½ gallons
  • Baked beans: 1 ¼ gallons
  • Jell-O salad: 1 ¼ gallon
  • Brick ice cream: 6 ½ quarts
  • Bulk ice cream: 4 ½ quarts or 1 ¼ gallons
  • Coffee: 1 pound coffee and 3 gallons water
  • Tea: 1/6 pound tea and 3 gallons water
  • Lemonade: 20 to 30 lemons and 3 gallons water (Sweeten to taste)
  • Watermelon: 75 pounds
  • Cake: One 12X20 sheet cake or 3 ten inch layer cakes
  • Whipping cream: 1 ½ to 2 pints

Tips for Party Planning for Food Quantities for 100

  • Sandwiches and bread: 200 slices or 12 one pound loaves
  • Butter:  1 ½   pound
  • Mayonnaise: 4 to 6 cups
  • Mixed filling of meat, eggs or fish: 5 to 6 quarts
  • Sweet fruit filling: 2 ½ to 4 quarts
  • Lettuce: 5 to 6 heads
  • Beef wieners: 25 pounds
  • Hamburger: 35 pounds
  • Turkey or chicken: 50 to 75 pounds
  • Fish fillets or steaks: 30 pounds
  • Salads, casseroles or potato salad: 4 ½ gallons
  • Scalloped potatoes:  17 quarts
  • Spaghetti (cooked): 5 gallons
  • Baked beans: 2 ½   gallons
  • Jell-O salad: 2 ½   gallons
  • Brick ice cream: 12 ½ quarts
  • Bulk ice cream: 9 quarts or 2 ½ gallons
  • Coffee: 2 pounds coffee and 6 gallons water
  • Tea: 1/3 pound tea and 6 gallons water
  • Lemonade: 40 to 60 lemons and 6 gallons water (Sweeten to taste)
  • Watermelon: 150 pounds
  • Cake: Two 12X20 sheet cakes or 6 ten inch layer cakes
  • Whipping cream: 3 pints


  • Allow about 7 ice cubes for each guest.
  • Allow 2 glasses of beverage or each guest.
  • Allow about 4 ounces of salad and dessert for each guest.
  • Let cheeses set covered at room temperature for 30 minutes for full flavor.
    Cheese balls should stand covered at room temperature about 2 hours before serving so it is spreadable.
  • To keep punches cold without diluting, add scoops of ice cream, sherbet or frozen juice cubes.  You can also place punch bowl in a larger bowl of ice.
    Quick chill wine in freezer for 18 minutes.
  • For a great holiday fragrance place a few teaspoons of cinnamon in a pie pan and place in the oven at 325F degrees. You can also simmer cinnamon, cloves and allspice in water on top of the stove.
  • Eliminate cigarette and cooking odor by leaving a container of fresh water with a few tablespoons of baking soda in the middle of the party room overnight.
  • If you are inviting your guests to “come for cocktails”, plan on approximately 10 hor d’euvres per person. Begin with a variety of six for 20 guests and add another selection for every 8 added guests.

TIPS FOR PARTY PLANNING (the atmosphere)

  • Music can be added to complete your party atmosphere. Select albums or tapes in advance. Ask a friend for help and tips for party planning the music to make sure the music plays all through the evening. Remember, it is very annoying if music is louder than the conversation!
  • A festive bowl of apples, mixed fruit or vegetables can make a nice focal point for a party.
  • Special collections such as a child’s teddy bears can be used as decorations; as for Christmas tie red and green ribbons around the necks. Groupings of candles decorated with a large Christmas bow also works well.
  • For a nice table centerpiece arrange ornaments in a pretty glass bowl or bake a cake for desert and use as a centerpiece.
  • For buffet dinners wrap individual place settings of flatware with a colorful napkin and tie with holiday ribbon.
  • Place cards add a fun and festive touch to the table. For Thanksgiving you might write guests names on small gourds. For Christmas make up little Christmas stockings for the guests filled with inexpensive items; place at table place or hang them on the chairs. A pocket calendar or appointment book placed at each setting is nice items to use for a New Year’s party. (These are just a few tips for party planning with place cards.)
  • For family dinners, share memories of holidays past. Collect pictures from past holiday celebrations and add new ones to your album every year. Leave the album out for the day where each guest can enjoy looking through it.


  • Have children make their holiday wrapping paper. You provide the plain paper, stickers, stamps, ink pads, markers, crayons, paint, etc. For messy items like paints provide aprons to wear. Let the children add their own original designs. (These are easy tips for party planning to use.)
  • Put older children in charge of the party decorations. Provide crepe paper and tape to correspond with holiday colors. Ask them to create “candy canes” around char legs and poles or use their imagination.
  • Make reindeer hats for your young helpers to wear. Using brown poster board cut a 2” X 20” strip and fasten into a headband. Trace and cut out antlers from remaining poster board. Staple to the sides of the headband. Noses dapped with rouge will turn the reindeer into Rudolph.
  • Host a children’s cookie party. Provide several dozens of basic sugar cookies cut in various shapes. Provide frostings in a choice of colors, sprinkles, chopped nuts and other cookie toppings. You will also need to provide utensils to spread frosting and a workplace like a plate, plastic placemat, etc. Have plenty of paper towels nearby.
  • Children can help to make edible place cards for your party. Let them decorate cookies; you or older children can add each guest name. Use additional icing to glue a cookie to a base cookie so it will stand at each place setting.
  • One party idea which I have done since my children were young is to have an ice cream party where the kids can make their own sundaes and banana splits. I provided a large container of ice cream, usually vanilla. I place the ice cream at the beginning of a long table then I added all kinds of toppings to make sundaes and banana splits. This included several flavors of sauces; chocolate, strawberry, butterscotch etc. Then I added bowls of nuts, cherries, sliced bananas, M&M’s, butter prickle etc. Of course you must include cans of whipped cream. What is a sundae without whipped cream!


  • A keg of beer will serve 180 (12 ounce servings).
  • Four fifths bottle of wine will serve 8 (3 ounce servings)
  • ½ gallon of wine will serve 21 (3 ounce servings).
  • One gallon of punch will serve 40 (3 ounce servings).
  • One fifth liquor will serve 16-17 (1 ½ ounce jigger)
  • 1 Quart liquor will serve 20-21 (1 ½ ounce jigger)
  • 1 Quart soft drinks will serve 5 (6 ounce servings)
  • For a COCKTAIL PARTY plan 3 to 4 drinks per person.
  • For PRE DINNER COCKTAILS, plan 2 -3 drinks per person.


Teach your guests how to make tacos; the easy way. Set up a casual taco bar in your kitchen. You can use a table, your bar top or counter top to set up a taco bar. You compile all the ingredients and then let your guests help themselves. 

Place a platter of taco shells at the beginning of the table and then set out bowls filled with your favorite taco ingredients like hot cooked ground beef or turkey seasoned with taco seasoning, refried beans, shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, sliced avocado, chopped green onions, sliced ripe olives, sliced jalapenos, shredded Cheddar cheese and Monterey Jack cheese, taco sauce, hot sauce and chopped cilantro.