A bright idea here and an innovative move there… and you’ll be ready to be the coolest party hosts in town. Here’s how to go about it…
Let your friends know your house is where the action is set… create an online invite through sites like Evite, Punchbowl or Facebook. They allow you to customise the look and feel of your invite. Add pictures and be creative with your words – tailoring it to your invitees. With competitive friends, the buzz starts with the invite.
A positive return gift
Hand over a ‘homemade happiness’ jar to each guest. A return gift always brings a smile on people’s faces. The jar can have flowers, pebbles, sea-shells and a ‘thank you’ note. If you are into making jam or pickle, you can also buy small jars and put winter veggie pickles or jam, and pack it in style. Keep it small and beautiful.
DIY cocktail bar
Elevate the concept of a bar by keeping it ‘self service style’. Group together all the ingredients, equipment — ice scoops, barspoons, strainers, bar towels and a dump bucket for used ice — and a selection of unique glassware for each drink, along with a printed recipe in an easy-to-read, spill-proof format. Use your imagination for garnishes: garden-fresh herbs, seasonal fruits and edible flowers.
Surprise your guests. How about a paper party? Set aside your expensive Chinaware. Use disposable paperware. And for placemats, use pages torn from a steamy novel or comic. This will add an element of fun and intrigue plus you wouldn’t have to bother about keeping your guests entertained, at least for the first 30 minutes. They will be busy chit-chatting and giggling among themselves, reading what’s on their individual mats. What’s more? You’ll have less mess to clean up post the party. …
But not together
The trick to a super-hit party is to never let those lovey-dovey couples, or best friends sit together. Some of them end up turning party poopers by interacting only among themselves and people they know. So, if you have many courses at the party, switch seating at each course. All that moving really gets people talking and adds excitement.
Lighting with a difference
Buy black lights from a local store and set them up around the house to get the guests into an electrifying mood. Get glow sticks, bracelets, necklaces, or even eyeglasses to hand out to guests. Consider using fibre optic lights to add colour. ‘Tonic water glows under black lights. Try making ice cubes or jello moulds with tonic water for a glowing food and drink display.
Hijack the DJ duty
An infectious playlist is an express ticket to a stellar party. Start off with some tracks you can sing along to at the top of your lungs. Next, you need some songs that’ll make you dance, you simply won’t be able to avoid putting your hands up and just sway! Third, mix in a few mellow tracks – everyone needs a breather.
Have a custom-designed raw bar with assorted sushi push pops as an innovative twist on the standard hors d’oeuvre.
Ask each guest to carry one dish with them. This way you will land up serving a buffet to your guests without pinching your pocket. Whichever theme you may choose, the crux of New Year’s is to have a good time with people close to you.
Move it, move it
Getting carried away at the New Year’s party is a tradition, but if your funny moves end up on Facebook, you may be grumpy on the first day of next year – after the hangover effect bids you goodbye. To ring in the new year in style, opt for time-tested ballroom dance moves like salsa, waltz and jive – just make sure you update your moves by referring to some latest YouTube videos. And if you think you are likely to screw up, ditch anything intense and intimate; you certainly don’t want to stamp your partner’s foot. Stick to your forever favourite Bollywood moves or simply sway to music.
Play safe with cheese
Keeping the fare light on New Year’s Eve is a good idea, especially since the party will start late and people will probably eat beforehand. Try organising a chic cheese platter with a variety of cheeses, fruits, complementary sides and crackers. It is one of the quickest and easiest appetisers, plus, it works equally well with vegetarians and non-vegetarians. Another fabulous cheesy option is tomato soup shooters with mini-grilled cheese. It’s surpringly easy to make and looks delicious too.
No ‘drinking-and-driving’ party
Make it clear that the party is a ‘no drinking and driving party’. As a host, you can ask people to carpool and then remind them to arrange for transport beforehand. It is much easier to keep people from driving when there is a plan in place for their transportation. Collect your guests’ keys if they have driven to your place. They will get it back only if they are sober.
Most people like to play an active role at a party. Harness this impulse to your advantage and create a mini hospitality team of your own. This idea works great when you have a good amount of people invited. Depute one person to look after another. Divide the task, this way, even you can sit and chill at your own party. The bigger the party, the bigger the hospitality team. This will lighten your burden in a big way.
Be a master mixologist
From mojitos to Manhattans, find a go-to cocktail which will charm your guests. You could hire a mixologist, and give him your list of drinks to mix. Or have a craft cocktail training class where the bartender demonstrates how to make a killer drink. Or wait till next year, till you get SomaBar, the robot bartender. Hit a couple of buttons and let the robot make cocktails for you. The menu has over 300 different options. Hit and Hic!
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