you wanna throw a party at home?
It's simple you know. The mantra is: the fun begins from the word go!
All it takes is a little bit of planning.
Here is a start:
The date, the date!
~Decide a date, preferably a Friday or Saturday.
~A Saturday dinner works best. It gives you the whole day to go through your to-do list.
~Sunday brunch is also a good idea. You could entertain people until the evening and still have enough time to organise yourself for the upcoming week at work.
~Sunday dinner? Nah, it is just too close to Monday morning blues.
~The guest list isn't as easy as it sounds: Make a list a week in advance.
~Check with your best pal/girlfriend/boyfriend/spouse about who they want to invite.
~Be prepared to add and subtract -- it is just impossible to invite all our favourite people.
~Besides, you also have to consider space (at home) and your budget.
~What you could do is invite people in batches. If you can't call one set this month, call them next month!
How to call
Inviting is not an art. But don't be callous.
~Tell them in person, on the phone, on e-mail. Do all three, preferably.
How long does it take to shoot an e-mail, after all?
~Invite your friends four, five days in advance. In case there are dropouts, you will have enough time to invite someone else.
The dress code
~Do let your guests know who else is coming to the party.
~If you have a dress code, let them know what they should wear.
~Of course, the best thing would be to ask them to wear anything they want -- shorts, pyjamas, salwar-kameezes, halters.
You want your guests to be comfortable, right?
Confer and revel.
~Check with your guests on the menu and drinks they would like.
Pamper them a little!
~If they offer to bring a bottle of wine or dessert, be frank. Tell them yes or no.
~If you know they will bring something anyway, tell them what you prefer -- chocolate cake, red wine, vodka, whatever.
Check, check, check!
Do you have enough plates, glasses, cutlery, dessert bowls?
~Borrow from a friend, if you are okay with it.
~If that's not your scene, get those use and throw plates. They serve the purpose, even if they don't look great.
One day before
~Stack enough ice trays in the freezer.
~Make room in your refrigerator for bottles, dessert, etc.
~Mark vegetarian and non-vegetarian food covers for the microwave.
~If you are ordering food, have the menu ready.
~If you are cooking, your ingredients should be ready.
Your party will fizzle without:
-A large dustbin. Put an additional big plastic bag in the kitchen to chuck empty bottles and soiled napkins.
Preity Zinta's most expensive buy!
And the food!
What to feed them?
~If you are a shaky cook or simply don't have the time, ask your cook to fix a meal. And/or order some food from outside.
~Stick to one type of cuisine. If it is Indian, avoid Sesame Chicken as a starter and Biryani as main course.
~Stick to one or two main vegetarian and non vegetarian dishes instead of having a huge spread.
~Two starters, two main course dishes and two desserts are a great idea.
Some winning menus:
~Thai Green Curry and plain rice. Club this with some Chinese or Thai starters of your choice.
~Biryani. Find a place or person who makes great biryani and order by the kilogramme.
Tip: The best biryani is not in restaurants but in the homes of people whose culinary skills are spread by word of mouth. Ask around. You will be surprised how quickly you will find a list.
~Instead of thinking too much about dessert, order a cake or pudding.
~Once again, tap into names who bake cakes at home. They are the best and much cheaper than the fancy pastry shops.
What's a party without booze?
Once you have your guests' preferences, stock the bar accordingly.
Vodka, red and white wine, rum, whisky are the usual suspects.
~Put the wine in the refrigerator half an hour before serving.
~There are many wine options available. Shops usually keep a list and will show you what they have.
~Here are some good, economical options for wine: Sula Chenin Blanc, Sula Blush.
Both bottles cost under Rs 500.
Play your favourite and keep some tapes or CDs on top so that guests too have a choice.
Avoid blaring the music. The best parties are driven by conversation and laughter.
Next stop: Bathroom
This is an absolute must!
See that your bathroom is clean. It is the one place that is used most at a party.
~Keep a clean hand towel and box of tissues, hand wash and extra toilet roll.
~Put some flowers by the sink -- mogras in a bowl smell great.
~Scented candles bring that extra touch of warmth.
Don't have a party without flowers!
Get flowers you like. Stick them in glasses, empty wine bottles or vases.
Red, yellow, pink Gerberas look great in transparent white jugs.
Put them over your refrigerator, on the floor, in the bookcase.
A green potted plant by your door looks great.
~Do not allow smokers to engulf your living room with cigarette dhuan (smoke).
Tell them beforehand to use the balcony or the verandah.
~Keep some ashtrays handy. It's terrible to find ash all over your plants and the floor.
~Keep some stools ready at the smoker's corner. Smokers usually have a conference of sorts even when squeezed in a corner.
Freeway to everywhere.
~Open your home to your guests.
~Allow them in the kitchen, bedroom, study: it gives everyone space and creates a friendly atmosphere.
~Do lock your cupboards/ wardrobe.
~Put away valuables -- curios, etc. Remember, things can get stolen at any party.
You are the best host when...
~You dress well and comfortably.
You have to stretch and pick up the crumbs, wash glasses when you run out of clean ones and squat on the floor to chat.
~You enjoy the party.
Don't get stressed about your guests. Show them around -- where the food, microwave, booze, etc are -- and let them help themselves.
When the party's over.
~Put all the leftovers in the fridge.
~Stack plates in the sink and hit the bed.
~Wake up late the following morning and chill.
~And don't forget to send SMSes to your friends, thanking them for coming to your party!
Here's to a great bash! Am I invited?