February 22nd, 2018 by Arunima

When you try to organize a cocktail party, you need to be an absolute perfectionist. A cocktail night is not just any casual get-together. Planning a cocktail party takes expertise and finesse. If you are here, you must be looking for some helpful tips to pull off a cocktail party without any mistakes. That is exactly what you will get here. Read on to know what to do and what not to do while planning a cocktail party. If you can follow all the tips properly you can rest assured that you would have done a good job.

You want all the praises and you want to make sure not even the slightest slipup happens. Here’s a promise, take the advice in this article and your cocktail party will be a success.

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Set the tone

First of all, you need to set the tone for the type of cocktail party you are throwing. Usually it is a work party but it might as well be an early party to set the mood for a unique wedding reception. Whichever it is, you need to make arrangements to fit the occasion before planning a cocktail party. What you arrange for the cocktail night can wait. First of all, you need to set the tone to either of the following options:

  • Formal
  • Informal

Sounds simple. You know what formal and informal means. But what you want to know is how to set a formal or informal tone to a cocktail night. Let’s find out.

Formal cocktail party

In order to arrange a formal cocktail party, the venue has to be a posh banquet hall. The caterers and bartenders need to be totally professional. The food you serve must be absolutely healthy. People are health freaks now and you don’t want to upset a potential client or your boss. Also, amidst all that you need to arrange for whatever announcements or short meetings the cocktail night is meant for.


You need to make sure the music isn’t too loud so that people can have their private deals and meets at ease. But at the same time you need to ensure there is some classy music playing in the background. You need to set enough tables and chairs for everybody. You need to make sure there is an active and fast Wi-Fi connection in the hall.

Informal Cocktail Party

An informal cocktail party is easier to pull off than a work party. However, that doesn’t imply there is no hard work or stress regarding an informal cocktail night. Planning a cocktail party needs serious attention to detail in either case. But the bright side of an informal cocktail party is that you know your guests personally and you know what kind of booze and food will be appreciated by the most.


You obviously need to have options to spoil your guests with but the spread can be less elaborate than what is required while planning a cocktail party for important people you know nothing about.

Hence, the gist of the matter is, when it is a corporate cocktail night, the budget more than anything else, has to be way higher than what you need for a personal cocktail party. Now let’s get to the specifics.

Tips for a Smashing Cocktail Party

A cocktail party is slightly different in nature from a dinner party. No, it is not just the added focus on the booze. Even a dinner party can have a lot of booze but a cocktail night is different in particular ways. They are mentioned below and you will be ready to throw the perfect formal or informal cocktail party by the end of this article.

  1. Guest List

A guest list is common to every party but for a cocktail party you need to be very careful about who you want to invite. If it is a personal informal cocktail night, you have the liberty to count out all those who you don’t even like. You can leave the formality of inviting people just because you have to, to the next dinner party or for sangeet ceremony or the wedding that follows. So a personal cocktail night will have very few guests, just the ones you really would like to spend time with.

A corporate cocktail night on the other hand is just the opposite. You must invite every important person, and their important people, just so that you don’t get off on the wrong foot with anybody. This is an opportunity to network. So think about your company and prepare a comprehensive guest list put together by a team of people. Remembering to put in every important name is not a one-person job.

  1. Invites

A personal cocktail party invite can be a little cheeky but a corporate one has to be formal all the way. In case of a personal cocktail night, you need to mention that there is going to be no dinner. Do it in a subtle way though. In case of a corporate invite, people are expected to already know. In either case, the invite has to be warm and welcoming.

  1. Timing

To mention the timing in the invite is very important. This is why this pointer comes right after the invitations pointer. You need to set a time that is comfortably after lunch time so that people have time to get ready after lunch and reach without hurrying. Unlike in any other party, mentioning the starting time isn’t enough. You need to close the bracket. You need to mention an ending time which is well before dinner time. For example, 17:00 to 20:00 is a good time for a cocktail party. Unless it is an after-dinner cocktail party.

  1. Drop-off Service

People will get themselves to your cocktail party all fine but when they leave, some of them will need help getting a cab. Some may even drive to the party and not remain fit to drive by the end of the party. Of course, not everybody will get wasted on the free booze. But it is only natural for about 10 percent of the invitees to miss the mark. You will need to take care of them. Keep some designated drivers to drive drunk people and their cars home. Be there when people leave to see if anybody needs help calling a cab.

  1. Bar menu

A corporate cocktail party must get a full bar. You will have to make a generous budget so that there are cocktails, and every good brand of whiskey, beer, vodka, champagne, and wine. A personal cocktail night is easier if you have an idea what your guests might like. Of course, you need to have options.


  1. Professional bartenders

Make sure all the bartenders at a corporate cocktail night are certified professionals. They must be eager to serve. They must be polite in behaviour and prompt in action. The bartenders for an informal cocktail party need to have all those qualities too. In addition, it would help if they can impress the guests with some mixing skills and fire tricks.



  1. Appetizers

It is very important to make sure that invitees know there is going to be no dinner or full meals at a cocktail party. The food you serve must be finger foods so that people can just pick one off and snack on it. The menu must involve delicious items but not anything too oily so that people don’t fall sick due to the alcohol and oil combination.

  1. Attention

As a host, you need to be present to attend everybody. Of course, you will go around networking at a corporate event. But even at a personal cocktail night, you need to have a drink with everybody. Not a full drink with each invitee. Just, be there as much as possible. It is also important for the host and their closest friends to freely drink only after most of the guests are gone so that you are oriented enough to be there for the guests.

  1. Maintain the Peace

Apart from making sure everybody gets home safe, you need to ensure nobody starts getting too emotional. Be it at a corporate event or a personal party, you reserve the right to politely suggest people they’ve had enough if needed to be. This is one thing you tactfully but firmly need to take care of at a cocktail party. In no other party does this issue take the front seat. There must be enough clean and available washrooms in case anybody gets sick. The washrooms must be maintained constantly.

  1. Favours

Have little pieces of souvenirs for every guest at a corporate event and every family at a personal party. It could be chocolates, or little fancy bottle openers, anything nice.

If you can pull off these listed things, you will be ready with a perfectly happening cocktail party for your guests. Planning a cocktail party is not difficult if you have enough money for it and the right contacts that will fetch you a team of professional bartenders and attendant staff who you can rely on.


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