Your Guide to Last-Minute Party Planning

You can pull off a last-minute party with ease—when you keep the following in mind.

There’s a special art to throwing a successful last-minute event. It requires a little planning and organization to make it happen with style and ease, but more importantly, throwing a last-second affair (without making yourself crazy!) largely comes down to your ability to let your normal entertaining-at-home etiquette slide. We’re not suggesting that you throw all party-planning ideas out the window; merely that you take a realistic approach to feeding hordes of unexpected guests. Your ability to roll with the punches and adapt to the circumstances will stand you in good stead when it comes to putting your home on the market, too. Unexpected knock from a potential home buyer? No problem!

Here are some tips on pulling off a successful last-second soiree.

Be realistic.

If you have just a few hours (or minutes) before your guests are showing up, your goal is to be ready to welcome them when they arrive—not to be elbow-deep in a complicated recipe for homemade dinner rolls when the doorbell rings. Don’t try to do too much when you don’t have enough time; these kinds of gatherings are meant to be informal and relaxed, so make sure the food and the setting—and you—are, too. Know how quickly you like to work in the kitchen and plan the menu around what you can easily accomplish on short notice. Your guests will know (and appreciate) that you haven’t had much time to prepare. - Your Guide to Last-Minute Party PlanningStrawberry & Brie Bites












Yield: 12 servings

Servings: 12

Serving Size: 1 skewer

Active Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

To Make Ahead: Hold (without glaze) at room temperature for up to 1 hour or refrigerate for up to 2 hours.

Equipment: 12 appetizer-size skewers or toothpicks

Recipe Description:

Strawberries, Brie cheese, fresh basil and balsamic vinegar come together in this addictive one-bite appetizer recipe.

Recipe Ingredients:

  • 12 small fresh strawberries, hulled
  • 12 fresh basil leaves
  • 3 ounces Brie cheese, cut into 12 small pieces (about 1/2-by-1-inch)
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic glaze (see Tip)

Recipe Steps:

  1. Thread a strawberry, basil leaf and piece of cheese onto each of 12 toothpicks.
  2. Drizzle with balsamic glaze just before serving.

Recipe Tips & Notes:

  • Balsamic glaze is balsamic vinegar that’s cooked until it’s very thick. Look for it with other vinegars in well-stocked supermarkets. Or make it yourself by boiling 1 cup balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until syrupy and reduced to about 1/4 cup, 10 to 14 minutes.

Recipe Nutrition:

Per serving: 28 calories; 2 g fat (1 g sat, 1 g mono); 7 mg cholesterol; 1 g carbohydrate; 0 g added sugars; 1 g total sugars; 2 g protein; 0 g fiber; 45 mg sodium; 28 mg potassium.