Cocktail parties are full of expensive hors d'oeuvres, tall glasses of bubbly, elegantly dressed guests, attractive servers, talented caterers, and appealing music. Though all of those ingredients seem like they would add up to a luxurious experience, sometimes it is a recipe for disaster. Even in a dazzling venue with great food and drink, there is so much that can go wrong. Guests must go through this awkward dance of holding a drink with one hand, trying to gracefully eat with the other, at the same time as mingling. It gets really hairy when there is a drink, a plate, a cocktail napkin, a fork, partially consumed food, and then a handshake, or worse, a hug. To make matters worse ladies are often carrying evening bags and teetering around on high-heels. Men don't have it much better with stuffy overcoats, uncomfortable shoes, and too many pockets.
The help has to sort out how to be present and attentive without being annoying. They must remain in the background, just outside of the conversation between guests, but find the perfect time to ask, Does anyone care for a bacon parmesan stuffed mushroom? They also have the challenge of timing the flow of food and drink offerings and balancing it with removing empty glasses and plates. Every little detail plays into the success of the event.
Whether you are the caterer or the host, these simple additions will soothe your guests and improve the overall aesthetic of the gathering.
- Add a bouquet of bound flowers to food and drink trays. Choose something subtle but stunning like a calla lily with some greenery. This will liven up the serving tray and add an indescribable sense of luxury.
- Jazz up the bubbly. Depending on the occasion, you might want to sugar rim the flute, add a sugar stick, or a twist. Of course, you can make a plain one on request, but the general offering are the enhanced version.
- Use aroma to complete the atmosphere. Nothing too intense, but an inviting scent is a great way to elevate the mood. Two main options include: professional aromatherapy diffusing machine or scented candles. Keep it simple and singular in the scent choice.
- Make sure that the dessert display is attractively lit. Mood (low) lighting is recommended for cocktail parties to create a relaxing ambiance, but the dessert should be in the spotlight. Show off the luscious, layered mouse in martini glasses with plenty of light.
- Maintain a consistent look for tableware. Stick with high-end eco disposables or porcelains and glasses. Make sure you stock up and more than enough. No one wants to see a styrofoam bowl or an unfortunate paper plate.
- Decorative skewers. Life is too short for boring plain picks. Choose some that fit with the theme of the event and put them to use. Your guests will love the texture and appearance of beaded, feathered, and themed skewers.