Some entertaining ideas

December 29, 2004|By Kim North Shine | Kim North Shine,KNIGHT RIDDER/TRIBUNE

Planning a big party? Don't stress - it's not as hard as it looks.

To throw an affair that's fun and affordable, and distinctive in food and decor, consider the advice of three party experts.

New York-based event designer and TV personality Bryan Rafanelli says it's all about "mini-madness," or turning full-sized food into hand-held delicacies.

"Jazz up an everyday concept, like a holiday picnic, with hamburgers and hot dogs," says Mary Beth Winkworth, owner of Festivities party planning store in Birmingham, Mich.

When all else fails, fake them out, says home entertaining guru Korey Provencher, who says dressing up prepared, instant or restaurant foods with your own ingredients is both creative and quick.

Above all, all three say: Keep it simple.

On average, 20 people consume 10 drinks at a cocktail party and 40 drinks at a full dinner party. Here are some rules of thumb to remember before stocking a bar at home.

For liquor-based drinks:

A 750-milliliter bottle will make about 16 cocktails.

A liter bottle will make about 22 cocktails.

For wine drinkers:

Plan on five 750-milliliter bottles per 10 people (about five servings per bottle).

For beer drinkers:

Plan to have 5 six-packs containing 12-ounce cans for every 10 people.

Don't forget to have a guest bedroom ready or rides lined up for guests who over-imbibe.

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