~ Entertaining for Parties Large & Small ~
By Rick of The Private Pro's
Holiday entertaining usually comes in 2 forms: full scale parties & casual gatherings.
Full Scale Parties: The cornerstone for a successful event is to keep it organized & have a strong plan of execution. Personally, I can pull together a party for up to 200 people in about 48 hours (ignoring only the invite process which should be initiated about 30 days in advance). Each year I also host 3 full scale events - complete with 6 DJ's, national & local talent, a fashion show, fire performers, GoGo's, plus various enticements throughout the evening. Such events pull up to 700 in attendance, & I do it all in about 6 weeks.
So how do I keep it all organized? The secret is to have a good team & maintain order through the "party sheet" (a basic binder for everything you'll need with a task oriented battle plan to keep it all on track).
As far as your team is concerned, The Private Pro's are going strong & here to serve you. Your job is to be the host, so let us work the party while you entertain your guests. I have a great group of top people & we're here to fulfill your needs whatever they may be.
But how do you then keep initial preparations as stress free as possible? It doesn't matter if you're doing a full scale event or small party, always start w/ the party sheet. This offers a good outline of your vision for the night, then keeps everything organized & on track as things progress. Each section outlines your essential needs:
- Action Items / To Do: a concise plan of action for what needs to be done.
- The Bar: listing bar stock, mixers, & any specialty drinks.
- Buffet: a menu for what will be served, plus any special needs or recipes.
- Décor: a basic outline for decorations or costuming if they apply.
- Supplies: what basic supplies will you need (plates, cups, etc)?
- Key Players: Contact info for those involved - Private Pro's, DJ's, catering, rentals, etc.
- Evening Schedule: is there as a schedule for dinner service or entertainment?
- Important Notes: are there any important notes for the venue, staff, DJ's, catering, etc?
- Promotions / Invites: a full scale event might require a promotional campaign. But even for a private party, these days it's recommended you mail, email, & post an event page to Facebook.
- Main Copy (Invitation): list your dialogue for the invitations, adjusted for online & print.
- Guest List: list both who has been invited as well as RSVP's.
- Pre-Game Checklist: a quick rundown for the day of the event (this is CRUCIAL).
- Payouts/Financials: who will be paid & what is the expected cost.
This simple tactic will help to make you an event planner of professional capability! As the day draws near you'll be organized, confident, & less stressed knowing you're on top of it. Then for the party itself, your job is to be the host. So let your team handle the party while you spend time with loved ones.
But not all holiday entertaining is a full blown party…
Casual Gatherings: Keep it stress free & be ready! With just a few simple tips you can ALWAYS be ready for friends or family should they drop over for a visit.
- Keep a Party Shelf - I recommend keeping a cabinet somewhere where you store you basic party supplies. Such elements as serving platters & any needed elements will then be at the ready.
- Cocktails - Having a suitable bar on hand is always advised for instant entertaining. Just the basics are required: a decent Vodka, Gin, Rum, Bourbon, Scotch, Tequila, & Triple Sec or Cointreau. If you don't want to go buy a full bar in one shot, then purchasing a bottle here & there will soon give you everything you need. Keep a few mixers on hand (tonic, soda, coke, diet coke, ginger ale, as well as some cranberry & pineapple). All you need then is a bit of wine & beer, & you'll have a fully stocked bar ready at a moment's notice. Just be sure to keep a couple limes in the fridge w/ a bottle of olives & cherries.
- Hors D'oeuvres - Pre-packaged frozen appetizers from Cosco or Whole Foods are of very high quality & offer a quick solution to last minute entertaining. Placing a couple cheeses & cured meats on a nice cutting board will allow you have an immediate appetizer while your frozen hors d'oeuvres are in the oven. Shake up a couple drinks & you have an instant party!
- Quick Décor - Keep some decorative accents on hand & have at least one or two rooms in the house decorated for the season. This way you'll always have a place to gather should guests drop by. Consult magazines such as Better Homes & Gardens or Martha Stewart for simple but elegant ideas.
- Quick Clean - When friends drop by, you don't have to clean the whole house. But a main room can be quickly tidied up by throwing any chaos into closets or cabinets. Dirty dishes can be placed in the dishwasher & dealt with later. Give the main bath a quick wipe, then close the doors to any rooms you'd rather not have guests see. Now you're ready to receive guests at a moment's notice.
Introducing a Few New Services: we still offer the very best in bartending & private party assistance, but we now offer a few other services to further enhance your next affair.
- Event Planning - For the standard party, the Private Pro's Party Planner should give you everything you need for a successful evening. But for a full scale event, be it private, corporate, a fundraiser, or grand ball - we are able to offer full scale planning on the most professional level.
- Wine Tasting & Bartending Seminars - Looking for something different? We also offer special classes for wine tasting or tending bar. All classes are heavily slanted toward private parties & offer something fun & different for a more intimate crowd.
- On-site Chef Services - We do not offer catering (except through our referral network), but we do offer an on-site chef service for dinner parties, special affairs, & more intimate gatherings.
- Performance Art - For more lavish affairs, we have an extensive network of fire performers, belly dancers, burlesque performers, bands, go-go, models & DJ's. All are fully insured & offer a professional level of entertainment that is sure to please.
The Private Pro's Party Blog: I've recently updated our website & 'am working on a Party Blog to archive our previous & ongoing newsletters. Need some tips or ideas for your next event? Can't remember your favorite holiday drink? Then this is a good place to find what you need. Please check back as we'll have this online soon.
And don't forget our City Guide (www.ThePrivateProfessionals.com): offering a full list of various social & professional organizations, all which list a number of great events going on for the holiday season.
If there's anything we can do to be of assistance then please don't hesitate to call. In the meantime, I hope the season finds you happy, healthy, & prosperous in all that you strive to be.
Offered in loving memory of A.R. Dostal (1923-2013),
Rest well dad, I love you.