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    Be a guest at your own party with these stress-free party planning tips

    by Tracey Porpora

    Looking to host family and friends this spring and summer for special events that celebrate life’s most important moments?

    According to the experts at ShopRite’s catering department, it’s easier than you think.

    “Our goal is to help our customers make their party-planning process as simple and stress-free as possible,” says Lisa Pace-Standridge, Catering Marketing Specialist at ShopRite. “Just because you are hosting a party doesn’t mean you have to do it all alone. Our team is here to assist customers with their needs – whether that means helping to plan the menu and cater an entire affair, or just provide a delicious sheet cake from our bakery, that’s what we’re all about.”

    Lisa says the key to party-planning is, well, planning. “We understand that when you host a party, there’s a lot that goes into it. But our advice is to keep focused on the big picture. A party is a great time to gather with friends and family and enjoy each other’s company. The food is of course a big part of it, but the main idea is that you’re celebrating a special occasion together.”

    She says would-be party hosts are often daunted by the tasks of orchestrating an entire party from scratch, but with a little advance work, it can be a breeze.

    “The first step to great party planning is about putting together a guest list that works for you, then you can figure out a theme and create a budget that includes food, drinks and decorations,” she says. “If you’re not sure how much food you’ll need or what kind of menu will work best for your gathering, you can always ask a catering professional for help.”

    She suggests that if you have guests with specific dietary concerns, you can consult with one of the supermarket’s in-store registered dietitians to find options that will work with their needs.

    “Party planning is all about pulling together an event that you feel comfortable with. Your guests are going to be appreciative of whatever you do, and if they have a good time, you’re going to have a good time.”

    Other stress-busting tips she suggests are setting your table in advance, planning out your music, and recruiting family members to help with setup and breakdown. But more than anything, her best advice is simple, “Don’t stress out over getting every detail perfect,” she advises. “When you look back and realize you were able to feel like a guest at your own party, that’s when you’ll know your party was a success.”

    For more information on catering your next event at ShopRite, call 1-800-ShopRite or visit shoprite.com.