Party Planning Tips

If you are anything like me, you know parties, both as an enthusiastic hostess and as an appreciative guest.  Great parties are like great opera performances.  People talk about them for years, so why not share some tips to best inspire others.

I recently read Jamee Gregory’s book, “New York Parties, Private Views”.  Armed with a can-do attitude, Gregory put together a high-octane compendium of 15 brunches, lunches and dinners given by top-tier hosts.  But just because the pages are filled with all the right people living it up in all the right places (fashion designers Tory Burch and Michael Kors, Evelyn Lauder, among others) don’t think the book is all unattainable glamour.

My take away from the book is that life is not perfect, so don’t expect a party to be entirely flawless.  Experienced hosts just roll with the punches, and the book is packed with their smart tips and stylish solutions.  Fearful of mixing chic and cheap?  Lauder has no problem combining Baccarat crystal with Crate & Barrel dishware, and neither should you.  Weak cooking skills?  Kors orders in from a favorite restaurant.

Now, since we are not all leading fashion designers with their budgets, here are a few tips for hosting a stress-free fabulous party:

Simple Planning.  Planning a party shouldn’t be stressful or intimidating.  After all, aren’t you excited to host your friends, family and colleagues?  Stay organized by starting early.  Start your cleaning well in advance and make a list of grocery items you need from the menu you created.

Simple Décor.  No need to over-do it on the decorations, unless you are planning a themed party.  If it’s a simple cocktail affair, keep décor to a minimum with candles and fresh flowers.

Photo courtesy of SecretGarden

Stay Relaxed.  Leave yourself an hour before guests arrive to freshen up, slip into something party-ready and light some candles for added ambiance.  This creates a welcoming atmosphere from the moment you open the door with a big smile and cocktail in hand, of course.

So, whether you are staging a country breakfast, a dress up tea party or a cocktail party, the best tip I can give you is that it’s the spirit of the get together that counts.  A party, is a gift you make for your friends!

(photo courtesy of ifoodtv)