My house is definitely not the biggest on the block, nor is it the most remarkable. In fact, more than a few remodeling projects stand before me. But my parties are rarely forgotten and I’ll tell you why (and no, it’s not for any of the reasons your best college parties went down in history).
A memorable gathering is a sensory experience from beginning to end. Look at every detail from a guest’s perspective. Make it warm, comfortable and inviting with fresh flowers, candles, and holiday décor if applicable. And for goodness sakes if it’s a nighttime gathering, dim the lights y’all. No dimmers? Simply switch out your bulbs to a lower wattage. Don’t overlook the exterior either…it’s your guests’ first impression. Pay attention to your soundtrack. If your budget allows, consider hiring a musician, even if it’s just for a short time, and wow your guests.
Stock the bar. Consider including at least one signature drink. Pour it into an old fashioned glass beverage jug, clearly labeled and surrounded by the appropriate drinkware, stirrers, and any other necessary garnishes. Perhaps hire a bartender. Have plenty of non-alcoholic beverages on hand as well.
Your menu choices can make your soiree. Whether it’s a sit down dinner, buffet, or you’re just serving apps, folks will remember your delicious offerings, so make them count. Food prep can be very stressful, so do as much as you can ahead of time. Call on your pals to pitch in, or even have it catered…whatever you must to do take some of the pressure off of yourself (a glass of wine helps too). You need plenty of time to get yourself looking fabulous!
Set up multiple food stations based on theme or kind in different areas. This gets people moving around the space. Of course, my favorite is the dessert bar. Have fun with serving pieces…vintage-looking tiered dessert trays make my heart beat fast. Offer a small variety of options. Petit fours topped to match your party’s theme, sugar cookies decorated for the occasion or with a special message for your guests. Doberge squares, Cajunnolis®, or turtles add local flavor. Surprise people with slices of King Cake out of season.
Stay tuned for Part 2 and find out how to amaze your guests on their way out the door with more than a gracious goodbye. Have fun y’all! – M. T.