|1 Setting the date|
Whether it’s an email, a formal written invitation or even just a WhatsApp message, it’s best to let your guests know about your get-together as early as possible. We recommend setting a date and deciding on a specific theme no later than two weeks in advance of your party.
Use emojis, illustrations, interesting fonts and vibrant colours for your invitations that are relevant to your chosen theme to set the scene in your guests’ minds. Tricks like this will help you create a buzz and help generate a feeling of fun in the lead up to your party.
Start the hunt for interesting props and trinkets for your gathering early. Preparation in this area is key and the sooner you commence your search for decorative items, the better your home will look on the day. Home stores, bargain basements and charity shops are ideal places to find fabulous props and decorations. You will be amazed by the variety of interesting products available in these places and how inexpensive these items really are.
Think a few months out and keep an eye out for items that can be stored for future use. If you have storage areas in your home or even in a garden shed, that could be ideal for stockpiling useful props such as lighting fixtures, linens, glassware and candle holders that you come across on your travels that you know will be useful eventually even if you don’t need them just now.
But just what should you be looking for? Candles and lighting are super important and really you can’t have too many or too much variety. They help create a feeling of warmth and comfort at your events and can be used really effectively to build an atmosphere.
So keep an eye out for table lamps, corner lamps or even lampshades that can be changed around to match a colour scheme.
Mood music can make the difference in creating a relaxing environment. It’s particularly important at the start of the event, when people are just arriving and your space may feel a little empty. Source a sound system that’s up to the space you are using – a small room could be fine with a smart speaker while a back garden barbecue or engagement party might need something with a bit more kick.
Create or find a playlist and consider if there will be dancing later on. As the party progresses, turn up the music gradually. Bodies soak up sound, so a music system that seems loud in an empty room can end up being not powerful enough when the room is full of people and dancing is on the cards.
As the guests arrive, serve the signature cocktails we’ve provided recipes for. A smart and exciting cocktail on arrival gets the party started straight away and is a great way to build some buzz.
When it comes to dressing your table, don’t worry too much about achieving perfection. It’s the overall effort that counts, and it’s perfectly fine to use the cutlery and glass wear you have to hand. We’ve listed suggestions to help achieve a coordinated look but that’s all they are – suggestions.
Don’t be afraid to whip out antique cutlery or fancy glassware for your get together if you have them though, they can add a funkiness to your table and remind people that this isn’t an ordinary event. Be open-minded about your props, they can be used for many different gatherings and get-togethers. Even in your own home, look about for items that can be upcycled and turned into dinner party props. For example, when we were doing the photos for the Fiesta Mexicana chapter, we upcycled a rug into a table runner and used dishcloths as napkins. They looked the part, so why not? Imagination and creativity are free, and they can make the money you do have to spend go a lot further.
Finally, we’re big believers in finishing off dressed rooms with flowers, they’re the final ingredient that place a ‘frame’ around your work and make it look professional and finished. It’s also worth considering using scented candles or even incense to add another sensory note to your room dressing.