Party on it's way

I see you’ve received lods of suggestions about food. What I want you to pay attention to is that it’s summer now. And I think if you what to have cocktails at your party you need a lot of ice. Believe me, it never can be too much. You can buy a simple ice-maker like this. It will fit well into your budget

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That is a problem. I do not know.
I want it to be easy and comfy for the guests

I don’t think it’s going to be a problem. If someone wants, he can. I just don’t want to ask them

Great! Thanks.
It’s going to be one of the snacks

Yeah, you’re right. It’s never enough

If you are going to do cocktails for a crowd that large, I would suggest either hiring a bartender so you/guests don’t have to worry about pouring drinks themselves, or choosing a couple of signature cocktails that can be mixed in large batches in advance and easily poured from pitchers/dispensers (have plenty of club soda on hand so people can adjust individually). Otherwise, you or a guest will end up bartending all night!

Also, make sure you go a little more substantial on snacks if you are serving liquor. It’s very easy to overdo it on an empty stomach, especially when it’s hot outside.


While cocktails are big today, the key to pulling off a party is keeping things simple and under control. Wine, been and soft drinks; punch, like a sangria work. It’s not necessary to serve hard liquor to order.

Even so, a bartender is a joy. Are you near a college with a restaurant school? We used to hire senior (i.e., 21+ years old) students for big parties. p They were adorable, affable, efficient and worth every cent. They know how to maintain a clean station, and when to suggest a certain beverage when supplies get out of balance, like a different bottle.


Big pitchers of sangria is a good idea… the same with premixed margaritas. You just need a few large buckets of ice with tongs so folks can throw them together when wanted (as opposed to having ice melting in the pitchers).


@Jofer - Given your budget, my first thought was getting a big picture idea of:

  1. Food - do you want to cook/assemble at home, or cater?
  2. Alcohol - Wine eats more budget than hard liquor / cocktails or beer
  3. Setup, serving, cleanup - whos available for each of these? can you hire help?

Answering the questions together will enable you to assign budget to things you consider more important for yourself vs. others (eg: hiring someone to help set up and clean up vs. bartending / catering vs. making yourself / wine vs hard alcohol and beer, and so on)

For an outdoor summer party, coolers are helpful (if they don’t clash with your aesthetic) - you can set up water and soft drinks in one, beer and mixers in another, and have a small one on the table for serving ice. Buy bags of ice. You can mix up a couple of batches of a “signature” cocktail if you want and stash the extra in bottles in the cooler, with a serving pitcher on the table.

You said light snacks - depending on what time your party is and how long you plan for it to go, guests may expect lighter vs. more substantial fare. Whether you have help or not may guide whether you want to choose things that need reheating or significant prep vs. not.

For eg, Trader Joe’s and Costco have great frozen apps - but that requires reheating shortly before guests arrive. Many grocery stores have cheese and charcuterie boards or mini sandwich assortments you can order that only need to be set out. You could build your own version of a hummus and dips board or cheese board.

You mentioned kids, so I’d make sure they’re included in your menu and drink planning. Also any food restrictions (it’s a small group, so I assume you know everyone well, or can ask when you extend the invitation).

You’ve got plenty of time to set this up so you can enjoy your own party on the day!


That’s kind of my thing, too. Fresh tortilla chips. I always coat , on one side, tortillas to be wrapped with some mild sauce and throw them on my 8 inch crepe pan, with some pork fat. Both sides. Burn that sauce on, a bit. Prepped shells are a good thing. Love doubling up little corn tortillas.