I am all about parties. Get-togethers, gatherings, shindigs, fiestas, celebrations—whatever you want to call them, I’m all about them. But I should clarify… I am all about attending said parties, not having anything to do with preparing for them.

Seeing that I work in public relations and often assist in event planning, my previous statement may come across as contradictory. However, planning a party for 10 to 20 friends who are actually tasting the dishes and drinks you prepared is far different than putting on an extravagant soiree with fabulous bites and beverages prepared by a team of expert caterers.

To be honest, I’m not too savvy in the kitchen. I make a mean frozen pizza (most of the time) and am quite talented at uncorking a bottle of on-sale CVS wine, but anything other than that is pushing it. So I’m sure you can imagine my utter horror and dismay when I regretfully offered to provide food and drink for a recent boat party. Total foot-in-mouth, hand-to-forehead moment.

After the initial shock and terror fleeted and I was forced to clean up my own mess, I developed quite a successful, delicious array of snacks and sips that had all party attendees bowing before me and kissing my feet! So for all of you petrified of party planning and lacking culinary skills, here are my suggestions for catering to your friends:

Assorted Mini Sandwiches A saying to live by: Kill them with cuteness. Itty-bitty sandwiches will do just that! Start out with small rolls, add random deli selections and give them a nice little name—“Meat Your Heart Out” for your carnivore friends, “Very Veggie” for the herbivores, etc. Throw on some cheese and keep the condiments on the side (as everyone’s preferences are different), and your guests will be delighted! And even if the sandwiches taste terrible, their cuteness will make up for it.

Delicious, Potent Beverages I always like to serve mimosas no matter what the occasion, because people always feel special and important when they sip on champagne. Honestly, it doesn’t really matter what drinks you decide to serve partygoers. If the drinks are strong and plentiful, people seem to be satisfied.

Perfect Party Playlist Perhaps the most important key to a successful party is the music. If it’s too loud guests will be annoyed, and if it’s too lame guests will think you are a total tone-deaf loser. Keep it lively and switch up eras and genres, and I can guarantee the boat will be rockin!

I hope my party planning tips help all of you hopeless hosts and hostesses. And if all else fails, call Zapwater client Blue Plate.

Brigid Parr Asst. Publicist