Get a step ahead with these stylish, crowd-pleasing nibbles

One of the friendliest ways to throw a party is to stick with appetizers. Set plates of them around the room, and it will be natural for your guests to circulate and strike up conversations.

Here are some nibbles that will give them something wonderful to talk about. Each has steps built in that you can do ahead ― a sauce here, a whole recipe there ― to keep the day of the party sane.

Choose a couple of the appetizers for a short and sweet occasion; offer all if you want your guests to linger and consider it dinner.

Menus and more: Your complete party planner