1. “…I like large parties. Large parties are so intimate. At small parties there isn’t any privacy.” —The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Miss Party loves this quote. The first time she read it, it took a few moments to realize the truth hiding amongst the paradoxical words. Miss Party, herself, has always preferred hosting larger cocktail-style parties rather than smaller dinner parties. Why is that anyway?
Well, something about a 2-4 couple dinner party has always made Miss Party a bit more angsty than throwing a bash for 100. Sounds a little counterintuitive, yes, but she feels more pressure to personally perform miracles in the kitchen while everyone watches on than cooking a few days ahead at her leisure for the larger version (and catering the last-minute yummies). Catching up at length with any one individual at a dinner party seems a bit rude and who wants private matters discussed in front of others any more than they want to be left out of a conversation?
Large parties, on the other hand, they have a much different flow. Small groups, individual conversations are completely natural and customary. There is an unexpected privacy in a large gathering. Intimate conversation occurs between close friends and interesting conversation can develop amongst acquaintances (rather than group speak at the dinner table). Guests rotate and move around, catching up with lots of different individuals and are quite happy taking care of themselves if everything is planned well on their behalf. Miss Party finds the atmosphere congenial and relaxed and, with a few good hired hands in the kitchen doing the dirty work, she can also be congenial and relaxed. Here’s the other thing, you pretty much do the same amount of work for 10 as you do for 50, so why not go big? Miss Party says, “GO BIG!”
2. “Make new friends but keep the old; one is silver, the other gold.” Girl Scouts song
Staying in touch with friends and acquaintances, both old and new, is a tough business the older and busier we get. We have friends of all sorts –some we are involved with regularly, others we see periodically or infrequently but still want to stay in touch with. No matter how good yours and their intentions may be, life gets crazy. It’s a never-ending whirlwind and suddenly months fly by. Spring is upon us and, in the blink of an eye, summer will have everyone heading off to vacation homes, traveling, visiting relatives or carting children every which way to day camps and summer jobs.
A pre-summer party is the perfect excuse to bring all those you care about together to catch up for an evening BEFORE everyone parts for the summer season. Throw all those people in your life on a guest list (many that likely know each other in other ways besides through you or your family) and see what happens. An outdoor summer evening cocktail-style party works well for adults who have daytime family obligations or an afternoon family party so children can be a part of the fun may be a better option for your family. Got a pool? Invite kids/adults to bring their swimsuits and towels.
3. “Many hands make light work.” Proverb author unknown
This is an old saying, but never more true than for a large gathering. Apply this saying in many ways when it comes to hosting a party. Here are a few of Miss Party’s favorites:
There is NOTHING like the motivation of a party date deadline to get ‘many hands’ working on projects in and around your home. You’ll have your place hopping when you think of all your friends who are going to see it in it’s current state of affairs (hire what you can and recruit the rest). It’ll be shiny as a new penny by party time, trust Miss Party. Give that party date to any contractor or other hired work as their deadline and watch them move mountains and walls to make your home spit spot by the time all those other potential customers come streaming in wanting to know who did that amazing work (or not). The same goes for the outside landscaping, whether it’s something you take care of or you hire out. Every home deserves a good turn every once in awhile and just think of all that might be completed and enjoyed long after the party is over.
In terms of how “many hands make light work” in prepping for a large party, if you invite 75 people for cocktails, you’ll probably get at least 35-40% of the “yes'” who will ask what they can bring. Your work in the kitchen certainly will be much lighter when you take them up on their offer. If you invite that same number over for drinks and apps (AND ask them to bring an hors d’oeuvre to share), you’ll never run out of food. You can refocus all your hosting energy on the other moving parts of a large party. As a side note, Miss Party definitely believes that the “many hands” saying applies in the kitchen during the party. Spending a little money on dedicated kitchen/waitstaff help is some of the best money you’ll spend on your party. As the hostess, you and your guests will be much happier if you’re hanging out with them having fun and not stuck in the kitchen.
Another way to think about how ‘many hands make light work,” is to co-host a large summer party with another friend or family. Throw the idea out there well in advance of dates you might have in mind to give your friend(s) time to consider the idea and get back to you. You can divide up the party responsibilities to make it manageable for all. This party co-hosting idea can work well if two guests of honor from two different families share something in common such as a graduation or birthdays.
Print a copy of Miss Party’s Perfect Party Planner (pull down menu in header) to keep you on schedule. Don’t procrastinate, just go for it!!