The Expert’s Guide to Hosting a Summer Cocktail Party

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old-bengal-barCocktail parties are a fun and simple event to plan, not to mention they’re also quite glamourous. If you’re considering planning a cocktail party this summer, read this expert guide on how to choose a theme, set the scene, and what to serve to your guests.

Planning the Menu

Traditionally, cocktail party menus consist of hors d’oeuvres – or canopies, small, bite size amounts of food with a variety of different choices. Since your party is all about the cocktails don’t go too heavy on the food, but providing something for your guests to nibble on is important. What you choose to serve is down to you – see here for tips on how to choose foods that will be perfect for your party. If you’re renting a venue such as those at, ask the kitchen staff for advice.

Choosing a Theme

Choosing a theme is optional, but many event planners say that it’s often easier to plan a party around one. You don’t have to go crazy – no need for your guests to turn up dressed as their favourite movie character – but choosing a specific colour, or even using your favourite cocktail as a base for the theme can add a nice touch.

Setting up the Bar

Unless you’ve got an actual bar that you can use, a large table, placed in a spot where your guests can easily reach it will make a great bar where you can set out all your spirits, mixers and garnishes.

Whether you choose to make the cocktails yourself, hire a mixologist, or simply let your guests create their own is up to you. You might like to pre-mix some pitchers of signature cocktails and put them in pitchers from which your guests can help themselves.

Setting the Scene

If you’ve chosen to go with a theme, you should decorate your home, garden, or venue accordingly. If you’re planning to use a room in your home, you should give yourself plenty of time to get it ready for your guests. Rearrange your furniture if needed so that your guests will have plenty of space to move around, and don’t forget to include a table or area where your guests can put their empty glasses and plates once they’re done. You may also like to add some ambient lighting by using fairy or string lights, a great addition to an outdoor cocktail party. The addition of flowers also makes a great setting for a cocktail party. Last but not least, good music is essential to any good cocktail party – set your speakers to just the right volume, and create a playlist that your guests will love.


How you choose to invite your guests is up to you, but if you’re looking for an elegant, glamourous touch, why not print some classy invitations and post them to each of your guests.

Was this helpful? Let us know! Or, if you’re a cocktail party expert and have any more great ideas, tips or advice for first time party planners, we’d love to hear from you in the comments.

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