Are you ready for the Diwali party?
Want to host a Diwali party and don't know how to go about it? Here’s how to get your guests to drop all other invitations and make a beeline for your do.india Updated: Oct 22, 2011 17:51 IST
It’s that time of the year again! Song, dance, dinners, lunches and tonnes of festivities that just call for an evening or afternoon of pleasure. Of course, you’re invited here, there and everywhere, and you’re pleased to accept those invitations. But – and it’s a big but – there’s also the question of the party that you’re going to host.
Unless you’ve thrown so many parties in your life that you’re practically a pro, or unless you’ve thrown up your hands and turned the whole thing over to a party planner, chances are the whole concept of hosting a party is giving you nervous tension. Because naturally you want to be the perfect host. Naturally you want to throw a party that’ll be remembered. Naturally you want to be the host with the most.
Don’t panic. It’s not that difficult. Here’s how to get your guests to drop all other invitations and make a beeline for your do.Make it formal... And magnificent!
Yes, we all know it. A grand party means an expensive one. But splashing money around is not enough to make it classy. Just a few little things will make all the difference.
1. Make it personal – If you don’t want your party to degenerate into scattered groups of people talking only among themselves, make sure that you invite people who are likely to be on the same wavelength, with similar interests. That done, it’s nice to create invitations for the occasion. A phone call or text is just too casual for the grand party you are planning. Keep your invites simple, but also personal. "Add an extra line for every individual or deliver it along with flowers or a box of chocolates. Each guest must feel special," says Aditya Kapur, owner of Party Hunterz, a party supply store that conceptualises parties of all sorts. Also, make sure the invites are delivered by hand.
2. Follow up – With so many invitations pouring in at this time of the year, you should make the effort to ensure that your party is not forgotten. "Make a personal phone call to each of your guests and follow it up by a text message. Your guests must always feel that they are essential to your party," says Saumya Khurrana, CEO, Saumya Designs n Décor.
3. Plan it well – Create a difference with the look and décor. A theme always works well because you it allows you to go all out with décor. Whether it’s modern or ethnic, whether it’s minimalist or the dhinchak, let your décor set the tone for your party.
4. Make it grand – If you want to make an impact, it’ll come from the details. Let the arrangements bowl your guests over. From thematic flower arrangements (lilies perhaps, or roses) to your table settings, make sure everything is striking. Set each table beautifully. "A centre flower arrangement and candle lights next to every plate on every table set a classic mood," says Khurana. "Also, every table must have under plates, wine glasses and magnificent cutlery and silverware and napkins."
5. Food matters – This is the most important aspect of any party. Everybody likes good food. And yours needs to be the best. "Pick your service caterer with the utmost caution," warns Khurana. "They need to be professional, hygienic and able to make finger licking food." When ordering, err on the side of excess. There’s nothing worse than falling short of food. And make sure there’s a wide variety of dishes. "Everyone should be able to make choices," says Kapur. Remember: the servers and waiters should be properly trained, uniformed, attentive and courteous.
6. Lighting and music– Avoid harsh lights of any description. Instead, use mood lighting. But don’t depend on candles, they aren’t enough. Use them as add-ons. Set the music according to the mood as well.
7. Comfort seating– Gone are the days of shamiana type, straight backed chairs. Use comfortable loungers. "Every body wants to relax at a party. Loungers are best for idle, carefree conversations," says Aditya Kapur.
8. Drink in style – If you want to be known for style and extravagance, a good drinks menu is a must. "You must have a great wine list and a wide range of drinks for your guests. If you are inviting people to your home, chances are you have shared a drink with them before. Keep your guests’ tastes in mind and stock their preferences in your bar," says Kapur. A good bartender is also a must. Hire a professional, or co-opt someone from your family or friends to make the party a little more personal.
9. Be the host – Certainly you must enjoy your own party, but your primary role is to ensure that your guests are happy. Talk to each guest at least twice or thrice to check if they are having a good time or need anything. Don’t forget to chat with everyone too. You must make them feel warm and welcomed.
10.End with a gift– Escort each guest out personally, and hand over a little something to take back home. "Whether it’s a box of chocolates or a trendy scarf for ladies, a give away adds great value," says Kapur.
Let Diwali rock
Whether you want your party to be casual or formal is really up to you. To make it a proper Diwali party, however, here are some things you need to do.
lamp it up – Make sure something glitters in every corner. Lamps, lanterns, diyas, candles, use everything that casts a warm glow.
Bow to tradition – Face it
Diwali is not New Year’s Eve. From table covers that could be made of old saris to flower decor with gendas, and pretty diyas in place of candle stands on your tables, throw in the Diwali flavour everywhere. Insist that your guests arrive in traditional Indian outfits. Dhoti-kurtas and saris instead of suits and dresses will give your party a sense of occasion.
Raise the bar
Sure, your food is likely to be Indian, but what about your drinks? Concoct a few desi cocktails – golgappa shots, Patiala chuskis and imli shots will get everyone’s tastebuds tingling.
If taash is on the agenda, get your card tables to suit the mood. From poker lamps to table cloths and customised cards and accessories, ace your gambling games.
So the environmentalists will hate us, but what the heck! Get out the sparklers, anars and whatnots and have a blast. After all, it’s Diwali!
Casual and classy
Sure, a casual party is meant for close friends and family, so you may believe that you needn’t do very much. But that’s exactly the wrong attitude to have. It’s precisely because these people are so important to you that you should go out of your way to make them feel special. So by all means keep it simple. But remember these little things.
2. Set the theme – You could make it fun by setting a theme for the party. "Nothing major, but you could always do things like setting a colour theme or organising a masquerade or Hawaiian party. Add a fun dress code and see your guests have a ball," adds Aditya Kapur.
3. Stay at home – For true comfort, forget the pub. Invite your pals home, organise comfort seating, throw lots of cushions about and make space so that they can fool around.
4. Flower power – Colourful flowers always make a difference. "However small the gathering may be, create some special flower arrangements. It changes moods, adds colour, looks pretty and makes your guests feel that you made an effort to welcome them," says Khurrana.
5. Eat and drink– Choose the cuisine well. With a small gathering, it is always better to pick one cuisine and organise a great tasting variety within it. "Get a good bartender and keep the drinks flowing. If it is a relatively young crowd, arrange for a lot of drink options such as shots etc, and finger foods on the side. Great snacks are always a big hit," says Kapur.
6. Make it fun – "Get your friends to test their vocals with some karaoke. Or test their capacity with games like drinking ludo or poker. Add a bit of drama with a strip tease dart game, or perhaps organise props and accessories for each of them and photograph them with their wild side in full frame," says Kapur. "Just go all out and have fun. There’ll be no one to judge you but yourselves."
7. Be prepared – If you’re all still in a state to walk, see your friends to their cars, or organise taxis for them. But it’s good to be prepared for guests too sleepy or too inebriated to go home. Make arrangements for at least some of your friends to sleep over.
From HT Brunch, October 23
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First Published: Oct 20, 2011 18:56 IST