We're hosting a Mardi Gras party on February 22 this year, so it's time to get started on the planning. Here's what I've got on my general party planning list:
Six weeks ahead: Send evites to guests (check calendar); finalize menu
Five weeks ahead: Buy candles; order specialty items--food, music, decorations
Four weeks ahead: Check paper and plastic ware, restock; check bar inventory and pick up items
The invitations have already gone out, in a sense. This party is primarily for members of Metropolitan Washington Mensa, but I'm going to send specific invitations by email to my various gaming groups, the MWM GenXer list, and my DCist blogging buddies. Those I'll send out before the end of the week.
I reviewed the 2013 post mortem in my party planning notebook and made notes about what to order. I then placed an order with Mardi Gras Outlet, which is where I buy most of my Mardi Gras-specific items. This year, I picked up eight 8-packs of 7" plates, several types and lengths of decorative lights, and three tablecloths, one rectangular metallic gold, one round metallic gold, and one round green. The rectangular tablecloth will go on the main food table in the dining room; the other two tablecloths will go on round tables in the dining room and, hopefully, on the deck, where I'll have our tubs of drinks, ice, and wine.
I'm keeping my fingers crossed about the weather this year. It's much easier if we can put drinks on the second-story deck, just outside the living room, because we have more floor space that way. If we can't, though, I have an alternative plan that turns the living room and part of the dining room into one massive bar.
I also did a menu, subject to change:
Zatarain's red beans and rice, 3 boxes
Zatarain's jambalaya, 3 boxes
Hot crawfish dip (triple recipe in the crock pot) with sliced French bread
Boudin balls (I'm making my own boudin this year to save money)
Assorted dips and vegetables
Zapp's potato chips, variety
King cake (my husband makes these each year for both our Mardi Gras party and our St Urho's Day party)
Pralines (my husband also makes these)
Hurricanes (I make pitchers of these and let people add rum)
Wine and sodas
Next up: Review additional post mortems from past years for more suggestions.