Someone very astute once said “it’s the people who make the party, not the drinks”. In my opinion that means that no amount of alcohol can turn a gloomy, dull party into the smash hit of the season. It brings to mind a birthday party my friends and I once attended thrown by the guest of honour himself. A more depressing event may have never been held before in the history of the world. The poor host did his utmost to attempt to stir things up, but to no avail. We sat in his living room uncomfortably staring at each other wishing we were young enough to claim we had a note from our mothers saying we could leave early.
Being a student of human behaviour, the phenomenon of the dull party has held me fascinated for a long time and I have been looking to find the formula for throwing the perfect soiree. Using the aforementioned ‘most tedious party ever’ as my starting point, let me present to you a little survival guide to assist in creating an evening of delightful social intercourse which will remain in your friends minds as a sweet memory.
Step 1. Planning to Party
For me the best place to start when planning any function whether big or small is to speak to an expert. This for me is always my go-to caterer from Diamond Blue in Melbourne. They enable me to lay some groundwork by discussing and selecting the best type of function to suit my needs. Over the years I have done the lot – spit roasts, finger foods, full menu dining, BBQs and even picnic boxes! Each one has been special and memorable and I certainly wouldn’t even attempt wasting my time trying to cater myself, especially whilst worrying about my guests enjoyment. I leave that to the experts so I can virtually become a guest myself and soak up the food and fun.
Step 2. Setting the Scene
Whether I am hosting an intimate dinner party or a corporate style marquee event, it is imperative to set the scene. Lighting needs to be utilised to create atmosphere. Sitting in a brightly lit hall with fluorescent lights glaring down on you never inspired anyone to enjoy themselves. Candles, either on a big scale or small, are a beautiful and intimate way to relax people and make them feel comfortable. Dress tables to be masterpieces which delight the eye and are icebreakers to get people talking.
Provide a few stools for those who need to sit but wish to still converse with those standing. Sofas and easy chairs are party killers so tuck them away for the evening.
Step 3. Guest Selection
If you are anything like me, then you know more than your fair share of people who fancy themselves as interesting raconteur types, sipping on their brandy and telling amusing stories whilst holding court and entertaining the masses. In reality they are terminal bores who tell interminable stories that have absolutely no point and even less interesting content. They find me, how do they find me?!!
On the other hand is the uncommon diamond of a guest who is both witty and charismatic. This rare bird is elusive but does exist, and they are one excellent reason you go to all the trouble of throwing a party – for the pleasure of their company. You don’t need to be a road scholar to know which guests would turn your party into a wake and which ones would be a valuable asset to entertain and amuse. Trust me, do yourself a favour and invite the latter and tell the former you are moving to Tahiti.
Step 4. Let’s Get This Party Started
A DJ is a great way to add to the party atmosphere as long as they:
- Know the guest demographic and understand what is suitable and what isn’t
- Keep the music volume to a reasonable level so people can socialise, at least at the beginning
- Provide their own equipment and lighting
Getting a party right for the novice can be a bit harrowing. After all, if your guests don’t enjoy themselves the first time, they may not return for a second invitation – they may have moved to Tahiti… With so much riding on the success of your venture, it pays to put thoughtful consideration into getting it right. Who knows, you may find you have quite the flair for it. Amusez-vous bien! (Have a great time!)