Holiday Party Checklist

You've envisioned a sparkling holiday soirée, crafted the guest list, sent invites, and received the RSVPs. Now what? When it comes to holiday party preparedness, a thorough checklist is the next best thing to hiring a planner. Our foolproof guide has all the answers.

2–3 Weeks Before

Plan the menu. Think about whether you'll do a buffet, a seated serving arrangement, or a drinks party where people can stand or sit and food is mostly passed hors d'oeuvres. Plan your offerings accordingly. It's fun to think about a signature beverage, but choose one that doesn't require too much last-minute mixing. We love a glass of Gloria Ferrer bubbly, specifically the Sonoma Brut, which has delicate pear and floral notes and a toasty finish.

Organize or hire any help — bartender, servers, etc. — you might need for the evening to be as enjoyable for you as it will be for your guests.

Place orders for things you can't get on your usual shopping rounds or don't want to leave to the last minute. This includes cakes and pastries, special cuts of meat, and wine and sparkling wine from Gloria Ferrer. We suggest stocking up on Gloria Ferrer's Sonoma Brut or Blanc de Blancs sparkling wine — remember, greeting guests with a glass of fizzy is the best way to kick off a festive event. How much to order? Figure one and a half glasses of sparkling wine per person (you may need to adjust for your particular crowd) and about one bottle of wine for every two people for a two-hour party.

Cook any of the party food that can be frozen afterward.

Set the table or arrange the buffet as a trial run to make sure you have all the dishes and serving pieces you'll need. Be sure to think about placement for such party essentials as ice buckets and candles. Candlelight makes everyone and everything look festive and feel magical.

1 Week Before

Make a playlist.

Label serving pieces with Post-Its so you'll know what goes where on the day of the party.

Clear out the refrigerator.

Do the big shopping: buy everything you can ahead of time.

Prepare any food that will hold a week.

Check to see if you have enough bar essentials such as corkscrews, wine glasses, napkins, etc.

Now is also the time to prep any items that will be used during the party, such as place cards.  

1 Day Before

Decorate the house.

Arrange flowers.

Set the table or lay out the buffet.

Arrange place cards if doing a seated dinner.

Clean the house.

Morning Of

Chill the Gloria Ferrer white and sparkling wines and bring the reds to room temperature. A good way to make sure bottles are thoroughly and quickly chilled is to add water and a pinch of salt to an ice bucket. Be sure to have multiple corkscrews available so that guests can open bottles if need be.

Finish any last-minute cooking.

Run the dishwasher.

1 Hour Before

Set out hors d'oeuvres and buffet food.

Wash up any dishes.

Empty the dishwasher.

Get yourself dressed and party-ready.

Moments Before

Pour a tray full of flutes with Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut or Blanc de Blancs sparkling wine so you're ready when the doorbell rings. But be sure to drink one yourself before everyone arrives so you're relaxed and in your most festive mood!