The modern way to celebrate returns to the cozy home soirées of the 50’s and ’60’s. Invite 30 to 75 close friends, associates and confidantes over to break bread and toast life with an assortment of good eats and delicious libations of the hand-crafted sort.

Here’s where those store bought cupcakes stack up against the gourmet bakery kind…in the details. You can throw together a little something or get busy retro style with a modern soirée experience. Here are my tips for putting your event in the latter category:

1) Create a theme. Establishing a theme sets the tone for your event that you should carry through all elements. A theme will enhance the interest in and memorability of your event.

2) Invitations. There are few gestures that communicate special attention and consideration like a hand-written and/or mailed invitation. Your invitation can be informal or formal. A well thought-out invitation includes essential details such as date, time (beginning and approximate ending) , full street and city address, RSVP deadline, phone, email, parking, theme and other relevant details. A great invitation answers your guests questions up-front. Remember, easy and thorough information increases the fun factor for everyone.

3) Decor.  Style out your space with some soul that reflects the theme and functionally allows for an easy flow to support conversation, eating, drinking, playing, etc. Great scents and lighting can do wonders to set the mood and boost the energy. If you don’t have the furniture or utensils you need, remember you can rent anything these days.

4) Plan a food menu. The food selection is a vital portion of your event. The power of taste is divine. From a cocktail hour to sit-down dinner to a potluck, my recommendation is to set a taste baseline. If you are having a potluck, encourage your guests to bring a dish that correlates to the menu. You can also give people recipes ideas and sources that they might want to consider. When you make it easy and convenient, more people will step up their game and the food will be delicious.

5) Create beverage pairings.  Just like nicer restaurants, create alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage options to accent to menu. People like expanding their culinary adventures and sharing what they know.

6) Break out the beats. Any party without music is a dull, roaring bore. People can be bored at home. So create your own playlist or hire a professional to DJ your event or create a custom playlist that again plays off the theme and keeps the sounds flowing. Oh yeah, if people wanted to hear what is played on the radio, they can sit in their cars. Try to avoid having your guests drown in the daily duplication of Top 40 hits.

7)  Add an element of surprise. You can do something big such as a guest musical or performing artist or something small such as an surprise specialty drink every hour. Games of all types are usually a hit. One thing I know is that humor creates heart space. Keep things fresh to provide your guests many opportunities to build memories and connections. These all add up to an unforgettable experience.

8) Logistics. Something as easy as reading your address from the street is a big deal, especially for guests who have never been to your home. Make sure people can easily find your house, a place to park (valet is always an option) and can find their way into your house. Setting up a welcoming, fun-inspired entrance starts everyone off on the right foot.

9) Hire some pros. When people hire me and my team to plan and work their events, they are overjoyed at how much having people handle the details helps them to really enjoy their own party and guests. It’s your party too, so be all up in it playing and not working.

10) Social media etiquette. Most people can’t wait to Facebook their party experiences. However, not so fast. More people are asking to not be included in pictures and posts, so please make sure everyone’s wishes are respected. Another note of etiquette are professional photographers who might document your event. A true professional will always ask if people are comfortable having their photo taken. Please make sure your photographer abide by that code of consideration versus shoving their camera in front of peoples’ faces and snapping whatever images they want.

There is always something to celebrate. Get your guest list out and enjoy some face-to-face time connecting with those who make a difference in your life. If you desire some imaginative ideas and help, of course you can reach out.


Image credit: We Are Scout




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