The key to a successful event is planning, beginning with the menu. Take care to balance dishes that require last minute active work with dishes that can be made in advance and / or cooked “passively” (i.e. in the oven, requiring no hands-on). Consider the cooking space available (4 burners, 6 burners, one oven, two ovens, etc.) and the requirements of each dish. Think through the details in advance to lay the ground work for success – the host should also enjoy the party, and thorough planning from the beginning is a giant step towards a joyful event.