50th Birthday Cocktail Party

by Donna
(Greenlawn, NY USA)

Would it be ok to have just hors-d'oeuvre and cocktails for a 50th birthday party? The party will start at 5:00 pm.

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Amanda’s Reply:

Hi Donna!

A cocktail party is a great idea for that age group. Most of your guests will likely be in and around the same age as the birthday guest of honor. Just as you referred to it here, label it that way on your invitations - a cocktail party. A cocktail party is a great way to satisfy all guests, and it gives people something to snack on throughout the party while still providing a less formal atmosphere by eliminating the sit down/serve dinner vibe.

If you really want to make sure everyone mingles at your cocktail party, be sure to lay platters of food about, in various locations. This will encourage guests to group together and chat, while they explore the food offerings. It will eliminate the food line and create a nice flow in the room so everyone mingles.

You can also make it interactive and have the guests bring the hors-d'oeuvres. It will cut costs for you and makes your guests feel like they are contributing to the fun. It also promotes variety in the menu! These types of parties will also cut down on the cleanup afterward and if you use disposable cutlery and plates, it will save hours of post-party dishwashing!

If you are sure to label it as a cocktail party, those that might starve on finger foods and appetizers will know to have a meal before heading to the party.

Also, be sure to note if the cocktails are free. They don't have to be. If you do decide to charge, just be sure to note on the invitation the cost for the cocktails. You can even go both ways. Provide the first two or three free and advise them of the charge for any additional cocktails. Don’t think that asking people to pay for drinks is rude, it’s not! Most people expect to have to pay for drinks, and there are rarely parties with open bars. And getting a few freebies is a nice treat people would not expect. So never worry about asking people to pay for the drinks – or ask them to bring some of their own.

Good luck with the party, hope it’s a BLAST!

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