In my nearly 20 years of planning parties I’ve seen it all: natural disasters, wardrobe malfunctions and even a bomb scare. I’ve changed clothes in a broom closet, served food and stepped outside of an event when an unruly guest at the door wouldn’t accept the fact that we were at capacity. He went in and I stood on the street with my clipboard – in the snow. It’s been a wild ride but through it all I’ve learned that the devil is in the details. There’s never a question of if something will go wrong – it’s just a matter of when. Here are four sure-fire ways to ensure that no matter what happens – your guests will have a good time (even if you don’t!).
1. Don’t sweat the small stuff
That’s a new one – said no one. Of course you’ve heard it before because it’s true. If you handle a disaster correctly your guests will be none the wiser. Ask yourself if you want to be the one who freaked out because her hair was on fire or the person who lit up the night with an amazing baked Alaska.
2. Feed the beast
Guests will forgive a lot as long as they’re being fed. I’ve seen them sweat through a broken air conditioning, stumble in the dark in a power outage and inhale wet paint fumes to get to a good cheese plate. What they can’t forgive is your running out of food.
3. Closing time
You know the score – you ain’t gotta go home but you can’t stay here. Fifteen minutes before the end of the party I close down all but one bar aka last call. Then I start turning up the lights and turning down the music. Then wander I through the crowd casually recommending great area restaurants for dinner after the event.
4. The bitter end
The party is over – don’t let hangers on happen to you. You’ve been teetering in stilettos all night. The last thing you want is to linger any longer than necessary. I shut down all of the bars, cut off the music and turn up the lights. For good measure I check under the beds and in closets. No judgement – but I really have seen it all.