Candace Kalasky, owner and creative director of Lovestruck, an Omaha company that plans weddings and events like baby showers and rehearsal dinners, offered us a few pro tips when it comes to planning your own soup party — she's actually hosted her own soup party in the past.
Q: So if a person is wanting to have a soup party for the first time, where should she begin?
A: Well, it starts with the style of the event. Is it going to be a buffet or a sit-down dinner? How formal do they want it to feel? Is there anything special that we should include? And then from there, you just do what makes sense.
Q: We have had challenges in our home trying to figure out how best to arrange seating so people are comfortable. How can a person best figure that out?
A: It's important to optimize what you have. We have moved furniture around to spaces that won't be used for the event and then brought in rented furniture. With long tables you can fit a lot more people. But at the same time, you don't want to completely remove furniture. People do want to get comfortable and sit down and talk and relax. In terms of layout, think about where people are going to gather. Most likely it's around any type of alcohol or in the kitchen. Make more standing room in those areas, and seating removed from those areas.
Q: Any tips on refining a guest list?
A: It's important to put together a group that gets along. Invite people who will branch out and talk to someone they don't know. That always makes a party more interesting and lively. It's all about mixing types and groups of people.
Q: What about special diets?
A: You don't want someone with a food allergy to be stuck to a salad bar or a veggie platter. When we first started it was mostly vegetarian, and now it's all sorts of things: milk allergies, gluten allergies. You have to make sure that the menu is well-rounded.
Q: I've found myself overwhelmed with ideas and recipes on Pinterest when planning a party. What do you do to help people with that?
A: People always want to do something different and unique. A lot of times we will have to modify the idea so it makes sense. In a way my job has become to sort through and decide what actually makes sense and what goes together. You have to take those ideas and adjust and edit them to make it work.
— Sarah Baker Hansen