The last few days have been a bit of a blur as the man has had a significant birthday and I have been in the throes of throwing a party. I love having masses of people over for a fabulous evening – so here are the tips I’ve picked up to make the night memorable….
Firstly, as with interior decor, think about the atmosphere. Visually you want people to walk in and feel immediately that they are at a party. So get the lights down low, and throw in a few fairy lights, candles, coloured lights or anything to create the ambience…
Move furniture and rugs either out of the room, or to the edges to give people room to circulate. Leave enough chairs that people can sit in little groups, and enough tables that guests have somewhere to pop their drinks.
Generous flower arrangements help create a sense of festivity. I went to the local florist and got four bunches of lilies for $10 because they were at their peak and would only last a day. This is the perfect time to seize a bargain with flowers that the florist needs to move (not so nice to give as a gift when they are limp the next day). I’ve talked about flower arrangements here, so I stuck to one flower, and built height by splitting them between vases of varying sizes.
Whether you’re doing food or drink, make the table look generous by filling it: with food, glasses, vases… whatever. Think of it as a display. Cake stands are useful as they add height – which is the secret to a fabulous-looking banquet. Make sure some plates (at the back) are higher than those at the front and you have instant drama.
Welcome guests with a signature cocktail. I did the classic Bellini, from Harry’s Bar in Venice: peach puree and Champagne. It’s summery, delicious and glamorous. This gets people in the mood straight away. For those who are driving and not drinking, have a supply of classic Mineral Water. We got through a whole case of San Pelligrino…
Many wine shops will lend you glasses if you buy your booze from them – a cheap and easy way of catering to the masses.
Ensure you have great music playing (we had the most fabulous band: Deejay Gosper) so that all sense are stimulated. Plan your playlist prior to the event so that you have the music ready to roll, without the need for decisions on the night.
Even if you’re not serving a meal, ensure there is some food to mop up the alcohol. Large serves of a few simple items is best: salmon and cream cheese on rye bread, rosemary and garlic flatbread: easy finger food.
Dress fabulously as the hostess (or host) and welcome everyone with a huge smile, a drink and an introduction to someone else.
Finally, when it’s all over…. get the man to clear up…..