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Delia's party checklist


What to stock up on, what not to forget, what to do when... Delia has thought of everything!

Outdoor eating, table settingWhat to do in advance

Plastic boxes and food bags; kitchen paper and foil; and clingfilm
Assemble the equipment you’ll need to store party food cooked in advance. Lidded plastic boxes of varying sizes are invaluable for keeping prepared ingredients separate in the fridge to prevent flavour tainting, and plastic food bags are useful when space is limited. A piece of wet kitchen paper popped into a box or bag helps keep herbs and salad leaves damp and fresh. Kitchen foil and clingfilm are handy for covering both ingredients and made-up dishes.

If you need to chill your bottles with ice, you will need about 1 lb (450 g) per person. Make it in batches and store it in bags in the freezer, or, if space is tight, ask your supermarket or off-licence to reserve you some bags of ice and collect it a few hours in advance (taking a cooler box with you)

Order and collect

Menus, seating plan and place settings (if required)
Write, or design them on the computer

Plan your choice of CDs or tapes

On the morning of the party

Tie or fold. Assemble cocktail napkins, if required

BBR table settingTable
Lay a cloth and assemble main, starter, side, cheese and dessert plates; cutlery; salt and pepper mills; a bread basket; butter dishes; napkins; and menus, a seating plan and place settings, as required

Polish and set out on trays, ready to be filled

Arrange around the room and on the table

Candles or nightlights (if required)
Put in place around the room and on the table

Ashtrays (if required)
Put in place around the room

Tea cloths
Make sure you have plenty of clean cloths for kitchen tasks

Serving dishes and cutlery
Assemble in the kitchen

Clear coats from coat hooks, or decide on a bedroom where they can go

Guest cloakroom
Assemble toilet paper, hand towels, tissues, a scented candle and flowers

CandlesBefore your guests arrive

Chill bottles in the fridge, if you have space, or on ice, if not – put them into a large plastic container (or a couple of washing-up bowls) an hour before the party, pour over the ice and add some cold water.

Wine buckets or coolers
Assemble or chill, as appropriate

Rubbish bins
Empty all bins for the final time

Empty and put away the contents

Put on a CD or tape

Lighting and heating (if appropriate)
Adjust to suit

Candles or nightlights

Plump up

Shower, dress, pour yourself a cool drink or a glass of wine and relax!



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