In the past couple of weeks, I’ve been privileged enough to attend (and in some cases, host) many parties – from anything as small as a family afternoon tea party to a energy-filled reunion. It makes me wonder..what makes a good party? Last week, my friend hosted a beautiful and wonderfully romantic engagement dinner party for my sister. Everything of the event was memorable, the ambiance, the people, and of course the food! I would like to share with you some of the pictures from that night and some of the “ingredients” that make my kind of good party.
- Interesting people – it’s obvious that people have the most fun when surrounded by the people they love and feel comfortable to be with. How could a party be fun if you can’t relax and enjoy the moment but have to be conscious about what you say or do all the time, right? But at the same time, if the party is not an extremely intimate or exclusive event, I believe, the host should also try to introduce some new friends to the guests. The kind of friends that you believe could “click” with your guests, have some common interests, and bring something new to the table.
- Yummy food – nothing is worse, for a food lover like me, than to be stuck in a boring party with bad food. My definition of bad food could be anything from dishes that are not tasty, or most of the time, dishes that are oh so very expected – the dreaded generic party foods! I believe, if you want to wow your guests, first, you obviously need to make sure that all dishes are tasty. But on top of that, you should make sure you have two things – variety and a sense of surprise. With more and more people becoming vegetarians, vegans, pescatarians etc. it’s more important now than ever to give a variety of dishes at your party. You need to know your guests and cater to their needs. But at the same time, you need to make sure that your dishes have a “wow” factor. You may want to be more adventurous with your dishes by introducing exotic delicacies to your friend. But the key is to make it accessible. For example, at my friend’s dinner party, one of the guest brought “Uni,” which wasn’t something that appeals to everyone’s pallets. Yet, he brought it in the form of uni spaghetti, which made the dish much more accessible to the guests and everyone was happy and excited to try it.
- An atmosphere – what takes a party from being good to being memorable is the atmosphere. You have to make your event an experience and not just a dinner. You could do this in many ways. The key is to engage all the senses – scented candles (not too strong, please) for the nose, pretty flowers or creative decors for the eyes, suitable music for the ears etc. It is also very important for you to ensure that all the elements fit well together. If your décor is very elegant and luxurious, then please inform your guests to prevent them from turning up in jeans and feeling left out. You get the idea.
- Creative drinks – not only should you provide variety of drinks – alcoholic and non-alcoholic – to your guests. You could take it up a notch and have a signature drink for your event. My favorite party drink to make is sangria. It’s easy to make, very drinkable, really pleasing to the eyes, and did I mention, absolutely delicious? Below is a good (but pretty strong) recipe, I normally just throw in whatever fruits I like though, the combination is endless, and that’s the whole fun of it!
- 1/2 cup brandy
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/3 cup frozen lemonade concentrate
- 1/3 cup orange juice
- 1 (750 milliliter) bottle dry red wine
- 1/2 cup triple sec
- 1 lemon, sliced into rounds
- 1 orange, sliced into rounds
- 1 lime, sliced into rounds
- 1/4 cup white sugar (optional)
- 8 maraschino cherries
- 2 cups carbonated water (optional)
- In a large pitcher or bowl, mix together the brandy, lemon juice, lemonade concentrate, orange juice, red wine, triple sec, and sugar. Float slices of lemon, orange and lime, and maraschino cherries in the mixture. Refrigerate overnight for best flavor. For a fizzy sangria, add club soda just before serving.
- A caring and fun host – Last but not least, the host is the machine behind the whole party engine -if the host sucks…then the party sucks – it’s that plain and simple. So make sure that you entertain your guests in whichever way you see fit and make sure no one is left out, alrighty?
I’m no party expert and I definitely have A LOT more to learn but I just wanted to share with you these pointers in the hope that they could help you throw an awesome party. Now, go send out those invitations!