Step by Step Party Planning
Cooking for a crowd can seem daunting at first, but with a few tips and tricks of the trade, your party gathering will go off without a hitch. It all starts with a plan, a great menu and some time saving tips.
4 weeks out
- Plan the menu and use our shopping list feature to create and save a list that you can continue to add to before you shop.
- Freeze dough for pies and cookies.
2 weeks out
- Pick up ice (if you have room in the freezer), candles and liquor.
- Make sure table linens are clean and decide on tableware, serving pieces and table decorations.
- Prepare and freeze any dishes you can make ahead of time
- Not enough chairs? Call your local rental company and arrange for pick up or delivery for anything you need.
1 week out
- China, silver, linens – sparkling, pressed and ready to go.
- Check the menu, make your final shopping list – place your orders for custom decorated cakes, party platters or special orders from the Hannaford Meat Department. If you’re going to order a prepared turkey or ham dinner from our Deli, this is the time to do it.
6 days out
- Clean the house – don’t forget to clean out the fridge and freezer, you’ll need the space.
- Choose music and create a playlist.
5 days out
- Check out our selection of fresh cut flowers to plan your centerpieces and arrangements, but purchase them the day before your event.
- Enlist the help of nieces, nephews or any 8-16 year-olds on the guest list who would enjoy helping to take coats, serve appetizers and help clean up at the party.
4 days out
- Double check your shopping list to make sure you have everything you need. Check your menu and shop for your items, except the fresh ingredients and special orders.
- If you’re cooking a frozen turkey, pick it up now. Defrosting in the refrigerator can take two to three days, depending on the size of the bird.
3 days out
- Set the table – this frees up time on the day of the party and helps you remember items you’ve forgotten.
2 days out
- Appetizers – prepare fresh and refrigerate (if you haven’t already done these ahead and frozen them).
- Want to save some baking time? Pick up one of our pies, cakes, or rolls.
1 day out
- Purchase any fresh ingredients, including floral arrangements.
- Pick up or take delivery of any rented items and finish setting the table.
- Pick up any custom decorated cakes, party platters or special meat orders.
- Side dishes – clean and chop vegetables, except potatoes, which need to be done the day of the meal. Prepare any dishes that can be cooked and reheated tomorrow.
- Bake pies
The day of the event
- Give instructions to any young helpers you’ve enlisted.
- Start your playlist of music before the party stars and light candles just before guests arrive.
- Relax and enjoy yourself. So much of your preparation is already done, focus on enjoying your guests – your guests will have more fun if you're having fun too.