There are several factors that influence menu planning. Specifically for me, I only plan a menu during holidays or times when we are expecting company. Things I consider are (1) budget (2) theme (3) time and difficulty of dish (4) how many people and I am serving; how many items do I need. Will I need four course meal or just a variety of finger foods and snacks? Lastly, I would consider my display; what dishes do I have that will compliment the item and what room do I have for them.
I don't entertain nearly enough. I love it.