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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.