Once upon a time university students partied with a case of beer and loud music, not to mention the even louder raging hormones. Today’s professionals want to go home happy and fulfilled.
When your guests stay much longer than you had anticipated or can endure, you know they had a good time and enjoyed themselves.
When it comes to the guest list, mixing is the key. Invite designers, stylists, photographers, computer specialists, lawyers, architects, and food professionals of different ages. But a house full of interesting people can become interesting only if the host knows how to introduce each one. Always have an interesting one-liner for each person like “ He was in Hong Kong recently to deliver a speech on …. “ or mention the profession along with some expertise in it.
Be careful to choose appropriate introductory lines and try not to go overboard.
THE LOOK OF YOUR DIGS
Most people don’t go to parties to inspect the furniture, but your digs should look its best, which can be achieved by clever, soft lighting to create an inviting ambience. Dim the lights and help every invited guest look like a movie star.
Music should be middle-of-the-road to please the majority. If you happen to have eccentric or hip friends, you may want to purchase a few CD’s to reflect their musical preferences.
For large parties (100 or more) you may want to consider a disc jokey with a vast musical repertoire. If “ heavy “ dancing is likely to take place, remove everything fragile out of harms way. Flimsy and shoddily constructed floors have been known to collapse from large groups dancing thunderously. Make sure to alternate slow and fast music to provide a break. Sufficiently long pauses are recommended to provide opportunities to converse and refresh!
A quiet party meant for meditation is hardly the one guests will remember for any length of time.
Generally, in every group there are a few who cluster at the buffet while others go hungry. Some consider the food table a “ through “ and eat to their heart’s content, leaving others holding the bag and the host desperate for more food. Spread the food on small “ food stations “. Dips may be inexpensive and easy to produce but can be messy. Sele3ct your dips and foods carefully, if you want to offer any at all.
Certain foods become popular and fade away. This depends much on the crowd you invite. These days smoked salmon tartare, teri-yaki chicken, salmon teri-yaki, shrimp in all sorts of preparations, Middle Eastern finger foods, a variety of foods wrapped in puff pastry, and vegetable stews are in.
For a sit down dinner, three courses should be the minimum, but do not exceed five unless you are entertaining “ foodies “ who know a lot about food and appreciate gourmet plates.
Consider foods most people like. Beef tongue with Madeira Sauce, and calf’s liver, Mediterranean style or whole roasted lamb’s head may appeal to you, but most North Americans shudder at the thought.
Shrimp in Pernod, dill and cream, roast strip loin of beef with tree peppercorn sauce, an exotic salad with champagne vinegar vinaigrette, and a simple appealing dessert of fresh fruits will please most. The secret here is presenting ordinary food imaginatively.
For wines, your budget will set the limits. LCBO offers many levels of quality. You can select from general listings, which if selected judiciously, can be ad3equate, or choose from the Vintages division offerings, or decide to splurge and buy from the Classic catalogue (LCBO provided free of charge copies of monthly Vintages booklets, and annual Classics catalogue. Call, or log on www.lcbo.com or write to LCBO 55 Lakeshore Boulevard East, Toronto,)
Always have a selection of beers and think about liquor good and hard before deciding to offer any.
Most liquors require soft drinks, ice cubes, and a lot of glasses. If you decide to offer liquor a large number people consider hiring a bartender. This will allow you to mingle and generally have a good time with your guests.
Mineral waters should be available for those who abstain, and always keep an eye on people who like to overindulge as this may result in unpleasant and costly litigation.
You can always hire a caterer to look after the food, or someone to look after both food and beverage. Some caterers deliver the food and leave you to worry about display and service; others will provide everything including service.
There exist many caterers listed in the yellow Pages, Party Suppliers, rentals, even consultants. Believe it or not some provincial liquor boards have web pages to facilitate your search of beverages. Some also co-operate with delivery services.
Organizing a party can be a lot of fun!