The key to hosting a good party lies in the planning. With a well laid out agenda, the job is halfway done. That said, you don’t have to lose sleep over all the nitty-gritty. Planning a party should be fun! If you intend to host your own soiree but don’t know where to start, we spoke to Ong Liling, director of the Cicheti Group, which manages Bar Cicheti & Fynn, for some tips on how to give your guests a good time.
Be it an intimate get-together or a celebratory bash, here are a few things to take note of when throwing any sort of party:
1. Find A Suitable Venue
Finalise the size of your guest list before you decide on a venue. This way, you can envision how much space you will need to comfortably fit everyone. Remember to take into account seating areas and prepare enough tables and chairs. These will also affect the amount of free space you have and ensure that your guests don’t end up standing the whole time.
2. Keep Your Guests Well-Fed
A room full of hungry guests will definitely put a damper on your party, so make sure there is a constant flow of food until the last guest leaves.
“To avoid an avalanche of flavours and potential complications arising from too many choices, I always try to start planning a party by deciding on a certain type of cuisine – say Mexican, Italian, or Japanese – that would best suit my theme or guest profiles,” says Ong. “Not only does this show thoughtful consideration to details, it also ensures flavour profiles of dishes are in line.”
Plus, a little effort goes a long way. “Make sure you check with guests for any dietary restrictions or allergies,” Ong cautions. “The last thing you want as host is a dash to the ER!”
3. Pump Up That Playlist
What’s a party without good music? Create a house party playlist that consists of various genres of music – popular favourites everyone knows, classics everyone can sing along to, hip hop, R&B or house to get the beat pumping, and rock to ramp up the energy.
“Good music sets the tone and mood,” Ong agrees. “I usually kick off with some old classics or jazz, and progress to something a little more upbeat as the night carries on. Spotify has a great feature called Song Radio, which I find incredibly useful for making quick playlists. Also, a rule of thumb: the more energized a party gets, the louder your music can go!”
4. Choose Your Tipples
While a steady flow of beverages is essential for any party, a good selection of wine and cocktails definitely help to liven things up.
“I love putting together a lovely selection of wines and a signature cocktail,” says Ong. “It’s a thrill selecting wines from my cellar to share with friends. The stories alone when opening a specific label – where I bought it, the grapes, the producer – make for great dinner conversations. For that added touch, you can blow your guests away with a special home-crafted cocktail that you can prepare ahead of time.”
If you’re anticipating people of all ages, offer a range of beverages – spirits for older folk, wine and cocktails for younger drinkers, and non-alcoholic punch or soft drinks for under-aged guests.
5. Pay Attention to Details
Little touches to your setting can add to the mood of the party too.
“I print little menus of the food and wine I am serving so my guests know what they are having. It always adds that little extra to their experience,” says Ong. She also believes in the power of décor.
“Refreshing florals give your venue an instant lift. Remember to cut less than you intend to when assembling an arrangement to account for error: you can always go shorter but never longer. You could add a small arrangement in the washroom as well!”
And speaking of washrooms, Ong suggests spending some time freshening it up. “Your guests will notice the little touches and how you’ve gone the extra mile. I usually lay out some nice perfume, hair spray, lip balm, a scented candle and an indulgent hand wash in the washroom.”