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Party Menu- Recipe Planner for the Big Day

15 January 2011 84 Comments

Welcome drink

It is that time of the year again we anxiously look forward to each year. Yes, time when we celebrate the combined birthday dinner party for our kids, which has become a sort of ritual for the last 10 years. Though with age catching up fast, it is becoming a bit taxing to entertain a guest list of 80+ friends. The happiness written on the faces of our children fuel our energy and helps us do the same year after year πŸ™‚Β  And for sure these are some of the most wonderful moments of our life!

As commented by a friend Sra on my FB status β€œ I’ve never seen normal people – you know what I mean, non-caterers πŸ™‚ – cooking for such a large group!” Cooking for a large crowd surely is a herculean task. But theΒ  number of times I have hosted this day has certainly let me ease out the work by planning ahead and learning from my previous mistakes. And I am sure that a little bit of planning & loads of will power is what you may need to pull such large parties off gracefully. Yes you can!

Just thought of sharing my experiences about how I go through the whole process of organizing this event and my marathon cooking. These are some of the important tasks I follow religiously for each party. Hope this helps you in deciding your grand day ahead.

party planning and recipes

Silence before the storm, waiting for the guests! Sitting arrangements in the Dinning area.

Extra chairs were ordered on rent to accommodate the guests, sofas moved out to the Foyer and the Dinning table to the side. Women friends and the children in the living room and the men folks sit out in the Foyer area.

Party Planner at a Glance;

  1. Making list is an absolute essential if you are organizing a big party. Keep a small note pad just for this event.
  2. Make a guest list 20 to 30 days ahead, giving them ample time to reply about their availability.
  3. Simplicity rather than the extravagance rules when cooking for a large gathering. You will never go wrong when the recipe is easy and simple to cook.
  4. Plan the menu also around the same time and note it down in a separate notebook.
  5. Keep the menu simple yet kids friendly. Pasta, Bhel puri, Chaat, Noodles, Burger and Pizza are some of the recipes which can be planned keeping the kids in mind.
  6. Buy most of the imperishable food items well ahead of time.
  7. Keep a count of the children and get return gifts according to the age and of the child.
party planning and recipes

Men at work!

Hubby dear obliges to decorate the house and keep the children busy, giving me ample time to cook and do the rest of the work without hindrance πŸ™‚

Plan for the Guest List;

  • This is the most important list I make almost a month before the party. Family friends with their kids, classmates of both the kids and a few new friends are listed in.
  • Each child is marked with their age and sex in two separate columns, which helps in deciding the return gifts accordingly.
party planning and recipes

Return gifts to be packed..

  • Pencil boxes, lunchboxes, small handbags, designer stationary, masks and CDs are the few return gifts I get for the children, along with a bundle of handy bags to pack the gifts with a few chocolates and other things.
  • Get a few fancy knickknacks for the women friends too and gift wrap them a few days in advance.
party planning and recipes

Whats the next number please…all engrossed in the game!

Tambola or Housie is an interesting game of numbers, even small children get engrossed in the whole game. You need to have paper tickets, number board and lots of small pencils to strike the numbers out.

Games to be played;

  • This is the time children look forward to in any party as there canΒ  be many games and prizes to be won.
  • Tail the donkey, Riddles, Tambola, Pass the buck are a few games I keep in all of my parties. These games are an excellent way to keep the children engaged and involved in the party.
  • A mike and an audio system with speakers is a great addition for such large parties.

Things I plan for the last 3 days before the D Day, which in turn helps me ease out the final day stress.

Two days before the Party;

  • Decorating, cleaning and preparing the welcome drink.
  • Buy required quantity of use and through paper plates, cups, spoons and paper napkins.
  • Return gifts for all the children and some extra to keep as prizes for the games.
  • Purchase stuffs for decorating the house, such as balloons, paper works and wall hangings.
  • Check on your pantry and buy staples such as sugar, salt and imperishable food items to be needed for the final day cooking according to the menu.
  • Order for extra chairs on rent if the need be.
  • Clean the house giving more importance to well maintained bathrooms & kitchen. Keep fresheners and sprayers in each room.
  • Keep the games ready, riddles well written in a paper, extra tickets for Tambola, Donkey drawn on a cardboard etc.
  • Chairs were ordered on rent to accommodate the guests.

One day before the party;

  • Baking the cakes and shredding the veggies and fruits, cover with cellophane wrap and refrigerate.
  • Prepared the ice cream and custard and keep in fridge.
  • Set curds for the menu in the night.
  • Boil the potatoes and keep them in refrigerator without peeling the skin.

Final day;

  • Main cooking.
  • Arranging the table and the cutlery.
  • Getting ready.
  • Welcoming the guest.

party planning and recipes

The menu for this year is;

  1. Mint & Orange Lemonade
  2. Eggless Chocolate & strawberry Cakes
  3. Vegetable Fried Rice with Yogurt raita
  4. Pav Bhaji –Β  Soft Buns and veggie delicacy
  5. Rice mixed with Yogurt and Seasoned with nuts & fruits
  6. Strawberry Ice Cream
  7. Mixed Fruit Salad
  8. Potato Chips and Cool Drinks (ready made)
party planning and recipes

Joining the Boogie Woogie with kids on the floor..swaying with a dear friend and a sporting celeb S.

Planning well ahead of time will have you do very little of work on the actual day of the party, which in turn will keep you relaxed. I feel that keeping the menu simple in a large party is the key to a successful and stress free celebration. Keep the extravagance and exotic dinners for a small gathering.

Guests will feel more comfortable if the host & hostess are enjoying, mingling and paying personal attention to each of them, rather than spending whole time in the kitchen.

At last finished working upon 7 posts simultaneously and published them at the same time! Time to relax…

So now you go ahead and have a rocking mega party, and don’t forget to send me an invitation πŸ™‚


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Check out the recipes for the mega party here;

Welcome drink

Mint and Orange Lemonade

Mixed fruit salad

Mixed fruit salad

strawberry cake

strawberry eggless cake recipe

vegetable fried rice

Vegetable Fried Rice

Paav bhaji

Pav Bhaji – Soft Buns and veggie Delight

curd rice

Yogurt Rice

strawberry ice cream

strawberry ice cream

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  • Priti said:

    Love the post..wow that’s some party…I do planning in advance too but one of your pointers are helpful…will keep in mind. Glad you guys had fun…Happy Pongal

  • Ekta said:

    Congrats di for the marathon cooking, grand party and the mega post;now relax and energise yourself with the appreciation and comments πŸ™‚

  • sanjeeta kk (author) said:

    @Ekta, Thanks for such encouraging comment, I certainly need loads of them. Take care.

  • Priya Sreeram said:

    This must have been one Rocking Party ! Ur kids and the invitees must have truly enjoyed– lovely post !

  • smita said:

    I’m sure it must have been a great party …I jus love the mint & orange lemonade looks so vibrant & refreshing !!! BTW love the kitty tiffin boxes too .. we had been looking for kitty design boxes since long – pl cud u tel me the brand/ manufacturing co. so i can search it here in Delhi .

  • sanjeeta kk (author) said:

    @Smita, Oh I really sorry I may not be able to give the details about those kitty boxes. As I have given away all in the party. I did not check the brand, as I was on a shopping spree, buying whatever was kids friendly.
    May be check out the store and let you know. Thanks for liking the Lemonade, am sure you would love it too πŸ™‚

  • neeti jain said:

    hiii sanjeeta really u give the description in such a mannerthat things seems very easy & manageble..thank u very much…really i enjoyed d post i feel dat me too was d part of ur marathan party..now relexed…

  • sanjeeta kk (author) said:

    @Neeti, Thanks for your sweet words. It does seem easy for me now to manage such large gathering. Practicing the ordeal for the last 10 years πŸ™‚
    Take care.

  • Pia said:

    Nice post sanjeeta!! You have done a great job


  • Dinners & Dreams said:

    This looks like a lot of fun. I love preparing for parties even though it can be stressful at times.


  • sayantani said:

    am planning to cook for my son’s 2nd birthday for 45-50 guests but was not getting confidence. seeing all these wonderful pictures now I know its possible. great effort Sanjeeta.

  • Heavenly Housewife said:

    Happy birthday to your beautiful children. I bet the party you made them was amazing. Looks like everyone had a wonderful time.
    *kisses* HH

  • Tanvi@Sinfully Spicy said:

    Lots of wishes to your son.I loove love that green mint lemonade & pav bhaji.And it certainly does look that everyone enjoyed the party and food a lot.Really appreciate your effort in bringing all that together.

  • claudia lamascolo said:

    Congrats on this party gorgeous children!

  • whatsfordinneracrossstatelines said:

    Wow, you wore me out just reading this! Hope the party is lots of fun, the menu sounds great. Wish the kids A Very Happy Birthday for me! p.s. Don’t forget to ice your feet afterwards!

  • Ananda Rajashekar said:

    oh wow what a exciting party is it …kudos to you lady for the efforts you have put in. Glad that it was winner…Keep it going πŸ™‚

  • pavithra said:

    oh my oh my … sanjeeta.. Absolutely thats a great party, fun, work..no words simply superb. Well organised.. Wonderful job.. Sure will get ur tips when I need them…

  • pavithra said:

    Hey is that actress saranya in the picture. ????

  • sanjeeta kk (author) said:

    @Pavithra, Yes she is πŸ™‚

  • Angie's Recipes said:

    It must have been a great party!

  • El said:

    Great ideas. Looks like everyone had a great time!

  • rebecca said:

    wow this looks like the best party ever great tips and love Eniran πŸ™‚

  • Gera@SweetsFoodsBlog said:

    What a wonderful menu and party!! And I see so many work involved but kids look very happy!

    I need that mint and orange lemonade today is hot here πŸ™‚

    All the best,


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  • Vaishali said:

    Sanjeeta, that’s a very informative post, and you must be brave indeed to cook for a crowd. Your kids are lovely– a very happy birthday to them. And a very happy Pongal to all of you.

  • Cham said:

    Happy Birthday to ur kids πŸ™‚ Seems they all had a blast! Feeding a crowd need a real organization skill u have it πŸ™‚

  • Julie M. said:

    You are amazing! Putting on a successful party, hosting it in your own home, catering it yourself, AND putting out 7 blog posts! Everything sounds wonderful. Enjoy the day and happy birthday to your kids!

  • sanjeeta kk (author) said:

    @Julie, thanks for the lovely words, I did enjoy every bit of it πŸ™‚

  • vaishali said:

    amazing party!!with a simple yet perfect menu for kids.sure its a tough job 2 cater to such a large group ..but a pleasure without measure.kudos ..to u..its surely will inspire many readers.
    lots of love n wishes for the birthday kids..n sweetie for u too.:))

  • sanjeeta kk (author) said:

    @Vaishali, Wish you were here to enjoy the party with us and also to give me an extra hand πŸ˜‰

  • Meena Thennaapan said:

    Lovely and informative post.
    Thanks for sharing!

  • Divya Vikram said:

    Kudos to you. That is an awesome menu. beautifully planned out..

  • Sheeba said:

    omg this is super amazing!!!!!!! Will def try the drink:) and the other recipes……….. im sure ur kids did have a memorable one.

  • Saraswathi Iyer said:

    Hi Sanjeetha, I remember making my wedding plans so long and everything to be perfect. Nice post and dishes are so delicious. Happy Pongal.

  • peachkins said:

    everything looks fantastic!

  • Sandhya said:

    Uuuuh !!! Tats a fab planning ..and an excellent celebration…
    I have one lined up next month. Both the boys celebrate together…..

  • sanjeeta kk (author) said:

    @Sandhya, Best wishes for the B’day celebrations!

  • Anna Johnston said:

    Hi there Sanjeetha πŸ™‚ Great to connect up with you through the blogosphere. Happy birthday to your children too.
    As a professional chef & event manager….., I couldn’t agree with you more about the planning ahead & being organised. It makes the biggest task easy to pull off…, by the looks of things, you did an awesome job. Congratulations, it looks so fun.

  • sanjeeta kk (author) said:

    @Anna, same here. Hope to get more info on event management from you!

  • Srivalli said:

    That’s really great show Sanjeeta..Happy Birthday to your kids and great job done..:)

  • gloria said:

    OMG I love the pictures remember me when we celebrated the twins Birthday, they have now 16 and you know now they dont want a party.
    Awesome the food I loved!! gloria

  • CHANDINI said:


  • sanjeeta kk (author) said:

    @Chandini, Oh dear, I might have messed up a little while distributing the gifts. Don’t worry shall come to your home and give a nice gift to you:)
    Uncle missed out to take a few more pictures of our (your mom & me) fulltoo dance together πŸ™‚

  • Jaya said:

    you are one-man show :)..doing everything from cooking, event management to being a lovely hostess ..enjoy and relax now ..Happy birthday to your kids..and just loved the tips on organisinga a grand party like yours..hugs and smiles

  • sanjeeta kk (author) said:

    @Jaya, I like the term One-man-show πŸ˜‰ Thanks for your concern. take care.

  • Pachecopatty said:

    Happy Birthday:-)
    I like your menu, games, prizes, gifts and set up for the party. The mint lemonade looks wonderful and it looks like everyone had a fun time. Great job with organizing everything and sharing on your blog which by the way looks beautiful, like a professional magazine.

  • sanjeeta kk (author) said:

    @Pacheo, Thanks for your sweet words, wish you make the Lemonade and let me know how it came.

  • uma said:

    Hi Sanjeeta!

    the party looks super hit.. loved the menu.. good pointers for organizing one.. kudos girlie πŸ™‚

  • Nithya said:

    Oh my god!!! you are just amazing.. I mean it.. AMAZING πŸ™‚ lovely menu and I am still fishing for words to praise you. πŸ™‚ Conducting a party for 80 is not at all simple and you make it sounds simple. Shows your hospitality and talent πŸ™‚ Bow to you πŸ™‚ Hugsssssssss πŸ™‚

    Wish I was your kid πŸ˜‰ (hope my mom doesn’t read this :P)

  • sanjeeta kk (author) said:

    @Nithya, If not for you, I can definitely come for your kids and organize the same πŸ™‚ BTW most of my classmates have kids your age, and I don’t mind having another talented kid at home (if your mother agrees)!
    Got your Hugsssss, though a little too tight πŸ™‚

  • Swapna said:

    Wow!!!Great effort and congrats on doing this successfully daer!!!Happy birthday to your children Sanjeeta!!

  • elra said:

    Wow Sanjeeta, you are such a great mom. These kids look so happy and enjoy the party. That’s quite a big success !

  • Heather @girlichef said:

    What a grand event! Looks and sounds like a wonderful time was had by all. The dishes and drink you made all look like such great party food.

  • love2cook said:

    Now that is what I call a mega party!!! Planned very well…bravo πŸ˜‰

  • prathibha said:

    Kudos to u…..u cooked for 80+ ppl…thats amazing..and everything came out perfect too….I mess up the rice if I cook for more ppl,but urs look just perfect….Everything is equally looking good..I m sure ur daughter would have enjoyed a lot…

  • Pushpa said:

    Happy birthday to the children and what a wonderful and happy party with gorgeous delicious food.

  • Jayasree said:

    Hats off to you, dear. All those planning and executing is indeed a herulean task and you have done a great job. And I appreciate your efforts to make marathon posts also.

  • Jess @ Bakericious said:

    looks so impressive,the party must be very fun!

  • Sarah, Maison Cupcake said:

    Goodness! 80 people! That’s amazing and you put yourself through this every year?! Looks like everyone had a wonderful time and I really love your bright green lime and orange lemonade.

  • deeba said:

    A great resource for party planning S. 80+? Phew…been there, done that, and am now glad the kids have grown up. Happy combined birthday!!

  • Mary said:

    You’ve given us some wonderful tips for planning large parties. There is no doubt that you are good at it. The children’s faces tell it all :-). Have a wonderful day. Blessings…Mary

  • Faith said:

    What a great post, full of useful information on party planning…and I LOVE your delicious menu! Looks like the party was so much fun!

  • Barbarab said:

    I think the planning is almost as much fun as the party!
    Good planner-post!

  • Aipi said:

    Sounds like a fun party..everything looks fabulous..kudos!

    US Masala

  • Raks said:

    Looks like every one had loads of fun,nice post,sure will be helpful! Love the menu too,the mint orange lemonade is so eye catchy!

  • Juliana said:

    Wow, from the photos the party turned out to be awesome…love the photos…and the kids are SO SO cute πŸ™‚

  • sweetlife said:

    great tips, the party pictures are wonderful..your a hit, the menu is perfect something for everyone!!

    great post
    have a great week

  • Miri said:

    What a great time the kids (and adults) seem to have had! I have had about 20-25 people, but never 80 – unless you count our gruh pravesam…which was catered! Great going πŸ™‚

  • Joanne said:

    Happy birthday to your adorable kids! I actually would love to plan a party like this so thanks for all the awesome tips. This lemonade looks delicious.

  • Krithi said:

    Hi Sanjeeta…
    Firstly, great work… And belated birthday wishes to your kids..
    You have a great job well done..Keep rocking..

  • veenaAravind said:

    What a great work..!The lemonade looks great! I am now confident to plan my sons birthday ! Perfect menu! Lots of wishes for the kiddos.And appreciate you organisation. hugs…!! to both the kiddos and you !!

  • Joyti said:

    80 people…isn’t that small for an Indian party? (That’s a bit of humor about how we Indians throw such big parties and weddings…).
    But good luck! And the drink looks gorgeous – pretty color.

  • lisaiscooking said:

    What a fun celebration! And, it sounds like you’re always well prepared. The menu sounds delicious too!

  • Jamie said:

    Oh wow, everyone looks like they are having the time of their lives! And your kids are super adorable! I am so impressed with your organizational skills and these lists! I’d go crazy! And 80+ people? I tip my hat to you! But only one question… as my birthday is also in January can I make the third celebrant next year? Please?

  • sanjeeta kk (author) said:

    @Jamie, you are most welcome! I could gladly remove a big task in my hand then. Baking a much better B’day cake for the 3 celebrants, with you around πŸ™‚

  • sayantani said:

    Sanjeeta, please send me your mail id to ahomemakersdiary@yahoo.in. will talk about Arusuvai friendship chain.
    betw i would be travelling this weekend. so plz dont mind if i dont get back to you at the earliest.

  • Krishnaveni said:

    wow, that’s a cool idea and thanks for sharing sanjeeta

  • Reeni said:

    Thank you for sharing all of your great tips! That sure is a lot of work. I bet everyone has a great time!

  • Namitha said:

    Such a terrific party…everything looks wonderful !

  • MaryMoh said:

    Oh wow…amazing!!! Thanks very much for sharing. I just wonder whether I can cope with so many kids…haha. But it sure looks so much fun.

  • pigpigscorner said:

    Well done! I don’t think I can manage that!

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  • Rashmi from Yumkid.com said:

    You said it well when you say – the joy on their face makes it sooo worthwhile. That is exactly what I keep telling myself every year after a kid’s bday party. Like you I go big, because it is a celebration of their life! The day I became a mommy :). I have found myself doing all sorts of crazy stuff over the last few years like cooking for 70 people, gift wrapping with hand made name tags etc, but I haven’t made my kids a birthday cake at home. I really do hope that I make a cake for them one of these days.

    BTW – Just discovered your blog. I love it!

  • sanjeeta kk (author) said:

    @Rashmi, Thanks for being here. And good to hear that you too enjoy organizing parties for your kids. Hope you make the cakes also and let me know. Hugs.

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