Party On: Making Your Event Memorable
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By Mia Bolaris-Forget
Who doesn’t love a good house party? In summer, the deck is the haute hot spot while winter warrants gatherings around the fire and the TV for some good food and movies.
But, whether you’re entertaining in the winter, spring, summer or fall you’ll want your gathering to be a success. And, that means learning the tricks of the trade that will have your guests gushing about your gathering.
Remember, the party you host is a reflection of you, whether it’s at home or someplace else and it should creatively convey who you are and what you’re all about. Above all I should be fun and memorable. And, while every group and gathering may have it’s own special little ingredients for success, most successful soirees have some basic staples on their “menu”.
· A personal touch: Just because it’s a birthday or holiday doesn’t mean you can’t get creative and put your own individual spin or twist. Think about hosting a green party during Christmas or a “tropical beach party” when it’s cold outside serving up some refreshing summer drinks and some spicy hot poolside foods. Artists can showcase some of their latest and greatest favourites, while musicians can show off some different mixes, even hand some out as “souvenirs”.
· Dare to be different: Rather than keep beers in a cooler or fridge follow through on your beach theme and stash them in a huge pail packed with ice. And, thinking about picking a them that isn’t so “tried and true”. How about a food from around the world tasting party that allows each guest to also showcase their culinary prowess, or a wine or beverage from around the world fete sure to tickle everyone’s palete.
· Don’t be a lone planner: Keep in mind that most hosts and hostesses work just as hard as they play these days and that can mean limited time for proper preparations and possibly a host that too pooped to party. Consider asking some trusted family and friends to pitch in and give you a hand whether with the set up, break down, or a little of both.
· Put it in writing: Express the purpose and the premise of your party right up front and on the invitation. Also make sure the invite contains ALL the specific information such as day, time, address, dress code, etc. Email invites, though for many not necessarily preferably, are just fine as is a phone call asking guests to attend. Last but not least, if you mail or email you invites make sure your provide a space for invitees to RSVP and a date that you need an answer by.
· The more the merrier Experts suggest inviting more people than you want to attend, since studies show that three out of twenty guests won’t make it, even at the last minute. Make sure the group is well diversified and don’t always invite the same crowd, or your gatherings may risk getting stale….holidays, birthday and other family occasions are an exception. If you invite a group of folks that don’t know each other make sure to greet each guest at the door and to make introductions. Make sure snacks and drinks are readily available and close at hand giving attendees as chance to unwind, relax, mix and mingle.
· Make it a “timely” event: Make sure guests understand that there is both a start and end time to your fete. This is especially important since most guests arrive at least 30 minutes after your start time and may stay a bit past when you had hoped or expected them to leave, especially as you say your goodbyes. Ask some close friends and family to get there beforehand to give you a hand and perhaps stay a bit later or stay over to help with the cleanup and with the diehard who may be reluctant to call it a night.
· Use lighting to your advantage: Ambiance can turn into an “exorbitant” out-of-pocket expense, especially if you invest in some quality decorations and extras. Instead experts suggest simply dimming the light and lighting a few candles, softly scented, and/or replacing some white light bulbs with soft pink ones that give off the same ambiance as candlelight. Fresh florals are another fairly affordable and highly recommended option. You can use a variety of vases in varying sizes and cluster them in groups or show them off separately. Bowls also make great centerpieces, especially when filled with festive citrus and other such fruits.
· Sound off: Music is a major must. Just remember to keep your crowd in mind. Kick off the festivities with some soothing mood music increasing the volume and the beat as the night goes on, then bring it back down as the evening and the festivities taper off. Make sure to have a little something for everyone and, if it’s in your budget consider some classy live entertainment.
· (Good and plenty): You’ll want to make sure the food your serve appeals to your guests and that there’s plenty of it to go around. Always get more ice and beverages, utensils and food than you think you’ll need but try not to go overboard. And, if you’re ordering out, it’s best to pad your order by 10 percent. And, if you do wind up with more than you “bargained” for, you can always make some “doggie” bags for your guests or donate some to a local shelter.
· Get your game on: Make sure you have some movies, games or activities (that are simple) preplanned and allow guests to interact. Try to center activities around your party theme and depending on the crowd consider contests and prizes for participants.
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Party On: Making Your Event Memorable