If you've never planned a large party, especially one for 50 guests, then you're probably a little anxious about all the preparations. It's often hard to know where to start and how much you'll need for a successful night. There are of course no hard and fast rules, but I've compiled a list of helpful tips that are sure to make the weeks leading up to your party a little less tense and a little more organized.
1. The first thing you must do is choose a date. If you're inviting around 50 people, it's more than likely that not everyone will take you up on your invitation. So make sure that it's a date that is convenient for the guests you really wish to come. Send out the invitations at least a few weeks in advance. This will give you more prep time and a better idea of your guest list.
2. You also need to choose a good place for the party to occur. Make sure the area is large enough to accommodate all of your guests comfortably. There should be enough chairs, bar stools and table space for everyone. If you're home isn't large enough, consider reserving space elsewhere.
3. Once you've decided on a space, think of a theme or color scheme that you can work into the place settings and table centerpieces. Have fun with the design and you're guests are sure to appreciate it.
4. Now you'll need to plan out the menu. If you decide to have the party catered, then most of the work will be done for you. Just make sure that you have entree options that will work for any special dietary restrictions. As far as appetizers are concerned, a good rule of thumb is 5 to 6 hors d'oeuvres per person. Make sure your guests have plenty to munch on. Assorted cheese, fruit and vegetable trays are an easy choice.
5. If you plan to serve alcohol, try to offer a wide selection. Everything from domestic and imported beers to wine will compliment most meals. In general, expect that your guests will consume about one drink per hour. So if your party is set to last three hours, then you should be able to easily supply three drinks per guest. It's always better to have too much than too little.
6. In addition to alcoholic beverages, make sure to have a large stock of soft drinks, juices and water for those who choose not to drink alcohol.
7. Finally, be sure to make a time table of all other tasks so that you'll have everything ready before the actual day of the party. There's nothing worse then running around a few hours before guests arrive.
This list is meant to provide you with the bare basics. You should be considering all of these tips far in advance. Remember, you deserve and should be able to enjoy your party just as much as all of the attendees. Take a deep breath and spend a good amount of time planning and preparing so that you won't be too anxious on the big day.