After a slightly muted beginning, the ‘Roaring Twenties’ can properly begin to gather steam. Hosting a soiree is a wonderful way to celebrate… anything… with your friends. The idea of a soiree conjures decadent images, perhaps scenes from the Great Gatsby with a multitude of champagne towers and well-dressed guests. People laughing, eating and drinking. And so it should be – at least in intention. To host the ultimate soiree requires planning, a dash of excellence and a spritz of confidence. We’ll help you with the planning, you bring the excellence. Here are some key considerations for hosting the ultimate soiree. 1. Numbers Do you want to host a big summer get together, or something a bit more intimate? Both are viable, but require a different approach. A big party encompasses a broad range of invitees, and your focus will be on connecting them like a social bee, dropping some delightful conversation pollen before flying off to sort more cocktails and make more introductions. A smaller dinner party allows for a more involved conversation between fewer people with more of a dinner party vibe. You’ll be able to spend a bit more time with each guest, and in smaller groups. 2. A Theme Having a central theme helps tie the event together. It means you have something to aim at and return to if you find yourself feeling a tad overwhelmed. The theme can be as simple as black-tie, or something more seasonal like Christmas or a beach party in the summer. Use the theme to create a dress code, plan decorations and tie everything together. 3. Invitations For a big party, feel free to stick to digital invitations, but if it’s a more intimate affair, a hand-written invitation is a delightful touch. Remember how you felt when you last received a letter or a hand-written note? It’s very impactful and will help set the tone for your event. Keep the invitation enticing but to the point – give all the relevant details. When, where, why, and if your guests are expected to bring anything or come dressed in a specific way. Do make you add RSVP – and don’t be afraid to chase this up a week or so beforehand. Just a friendly reminder via text asking for an answer one way or another. This way you won’t be stressed and panicked, and they won’t feel flustered. 4. Dietary Requirements We’re living in an age where dietary requirements are not just a polite question, but a sign you as a host care. You don’t have to make a huge deal about it, but asking ahead can save your guests from feeling awkward on the night. If you’re putting on a buffet, rather than cooking dinner, you can then have a range of foods to cater for the differing dietary requirements. If you’re putting on a 3-course dinner, you can take these into account. As a nice touch, add a card explaining what each foodstuff is and what allergy or intolerance it may have inside it. 5. Introductions As host, it’s your role to keep the evening moving swimmingly. If you have invited guests from different parts of your life, then part of creating a fun-filled atmosphere is not letting anyone feel like they’re alone. If you see someone looking lost, make sure to guide someone else to them and leave them with a little tidbit of info. That way, neither party will be left with the dreaded ‘so, what do you do?’ opener, and conversation can flow more easily. 6. Drinks vs Food If you’re hosting a big get together your focus should be on making the drinks a featured guest. The food should be simple but effective, and be more buffet or hor d’oeuvres style. You want to encourage mingling, and unless you have a large dining table (and even if you do) everyone sitting down to eat slows proceedings. Instead, focus on preparing a signature cocktail – perhaps even invent your own (you could have fun in the run-up working one out) and make sure some are pre-made to offer to your guests as they arrive. Alternatively, bring out the prosseco or champagne on entry. Don’t forget about your guests that may not be drinking! Create a mocktail for them too – and have more options than just juice or fizzy pop.If you’d prefer not to mix your own drinks you can order premade cocktails or even hire a mobile cocktail company to create masterpieces for you all night. 7. Cooking - do or don’t For a big party, you don’t need to do much cooking. People won’t be expecting the Great British Menu. You will need to focus on providing excellent, tasty morsels so people don’t go hungry. Or even put on a buffet so people can pick. With a smaller dinner party, don’t be tempted to go for a hugely time consuming dish, or one that requires a lot of prep in the run-up. You’ll have enough on your plate without needing to marinade every 12 hours! Whatever size your get together, you might decide (and it’s not a bad thing) that it’s easier to hire someone in to cook to allow you to bring your hosting skills to the fore. 8. Ambience - music and lighting You know from your own experience that a good party becomes a great party when the music seems to ebb and flow, guiding your mood, subtly pushing you onto the dancefloor or allowing you to rest. Set up the music ahead of time, either by spending time putting your own playlist together, or setting up a shared one in a service such as Spotify and invite everyone to add their own favourite songs onto it. The lighting needs to be light enough to see, but not too bright everyone feels exposed. Create a sense of warmth your guests will feel at ease with. 9. Tradition If you’re planning on making this a regular affair, consider starting a tradition. For example, you could play a specific game, or ask each guest to bring the ingredients for a cocktail (one ingredient each – rather than asking them to fork out for multiple bottles!). It’s a nice touch that makes the event more memorable, instead of just another (albeit fun) party. 10. Keep it simple It might sound counter-intuitive given the long list you’ve read to get this far, but keep it as simple as you can. Don’t cook something for the first time, don’t try and ‘wow’ your guests with a fantastical main or centrepiece – but do ‘wow’ them by being on top of their every need and providing them with a good time. To do that, you have to have the headspace to host – rather than slaving away in the kitchen. 11. Have fun Always a bit difficult when you’re hosting, but remember to have fun! Also factor in a prep day beforehand and a relax day afterwards so you’re not trying to compress everything into the morning / day itself. This will assist in making the whole experience much more palatable. Hosting any event can be stressful, and here at Bundant we like to take the stress out of life where we can. When you’re tidying up afterwards, and washing the towels, you don’t want to have to go and buy more washing detergent. Try the Bundantband now and ensure your cleaning products never run out again!