Unplanned events and disasters are inevitable, but they still add another "surprise" to your party. Whether guests see it as a good surprise or bad surprise is how you handle it. A handy fire extinguisher can turn a potential disaster into a comical mishap.
Plan for it so you will be ready when it happens.
Buy more liquor than you think you will need or keep the phone number for a liquor store that will deliver handy. A cocktail party with no cocktails is over.
Upset or Injured Guest
Immediately isolate the problem. If the guest is upset about anything less than the kitchen engulfed in flames, take them to another room. Simply say, "Let's go in here and talk about it."
If a guest is injured, treat them in another room, no matter how minor. If bleeding, wrap and cover the injury enough to prevent a trail of blood through your house while moving the guest.
Ideally, keep a First Aid kit on hand. You may encounter a cut from a broken glass or splinters if your party is on a wood deck.
First, keep guests out of the kitchen unless they are helping you at that moment. Not only will this keep your guests safe from exploding blenders and splattering oil, it will minimize the impact of any missteps in the kitchen.
Fire can be reduced from a major disaster to a minor incident by having a charged fire extinguisher handy. If you don't have one, buy one for the most likely places a fire could start (kitchen, garage, party area). If you do have one, make sure it is up-to-date and fully charged.
Do not store fire extinguishers above the stove. In the event of a fire on the stove, it would be difficult to access.
Smoke can be a nuisance. Once you eliminate the source of the smoke, disconnect your smoke alarms before they go off. Open nearby windows and use a fan to blow air out of the room.
Inedible hors d'oeuvres is probably the most common cocktail party disaster. Keep a backup emergency hors d'oeuvre on hand, should you need one. Obviously, something that you can put together in a jiffy.
It is also a good idea if your backup hors d'oeuvre does not require electricity to prepare, in the event of a power outage.
For example, I keep 2 or 3 bags of peeled & deveined cooked shrimp in my freezer for emergencies and impromptu parties. Don't forget the cocktail sauce.
Alternatively, prepare an extra batch of hors d'oeuvres, in case things don't go as planned or extra guests show up. You can always serve the extra batch at the end of the evening or freeze them for your next soiree.
If you have the opportunity, do a practice run of each appetizer.Prepare all sauces and anything that can be frozen before the party, to minimize mistakes before serving.
Lighting: You should have plenty of candlelight in place already, but you may need to bring out a few extras. Keep candles, lighters, and flashlights in a pre-designated location.
Hors d'oeuvres: Keep an emergency backup hors d'oeuvre that does not require electricity to prepare, especially if your range and oven are electric.
Music:Keep iPod speakers and new batteries on
hand. If you don’t have iPod speakers, buy a small travel set or borrow
some from a friend. If your iPod, computer or stereo goes out, someone
is very likely to have their iPod/iPhone handy.
If you are using
your computer to play music and have a stereo that plays CDs, burn CDs
before the party as a backup in case your computer is uncooperative. Otherwise, if
you have a piano, there is usually someone that can play well enough to
keep the crowd entertained.
Spills: There is almost no way to prevent some spillage along the way. Keep smiling and assure the clumsy guest that it is no big deal. Minimize the impact by removing upholstered chairs from the party area. Also, drape tables and put
Smoking: To reduce damage by smokers, designate a smoking area and put out plenty of ashtrays. Keep the area clear of hot tub covers, furniture cushions, carpet, rugs, and grill covers.
Children:Do not allow children into the party under any circumstances. Politely explain that it is not an environment for youngsters, and it would be very unfair to the other guests to have children present.
Intoxicated Guest: Keep cab phone numbers in your phone, in case you need to call one for an intoxicated guest. Make sure their vehicle is parked in an out-of-the-way and legal location. Get their car key to move the vehicle, if necessary, and make sure you do not also have their house key.