8 Secrets to Throwing an Amazing Party
We had the privilege of sharing some party tips with Bridentity Crisis. Below is the full article and interview.
By Kristin Joy of Bridentity Crisis
Have you ever attended a party or event and thought, “How did they make everything look so perfect? How is it all so well planned? And how is the host/hostess not freaking the F out right now?” Because that’s what I think literally every time I attend an event. I’m not what you would call a “natural hostess” so it beyond impresses me when I meet someone who has it all together and throws events with grace and ease. But recently I met a woman who can turn anyone into a modern day Martha. Meet Ngoc Nguyen Lay, author of the beautifully designed and super smart book, Inspired Celebrations. In it, Ngoc breaks down the exact how-to’s for a variety of event opportunities, whether it’s an impeccably styled bridal shower or a fun-filled Oktoberfest celebration. Here, she chatted with me about her top secrets for hostess-with-the-mostessing and how anyone can put together Pinterest-worthy events with just a little time and organization.
In today’s social media age, it seems that every party you see on Instagram and Pinterest is perfectly flawless, which can be overwhelming for brides and bridesmaids who are planning events. What tip would you offer to these party planners who are stressed about living up to the images they see on the Internet?
When I work with clients, i tell them these images are real, because it is documented, but not every single table is going to look that way. You just need to pick and choose where you want to focus: a cocktail station or a dessert table and create vignettes. You don’t have to do the whole party flawless, just focus on the ones you’re really excited about.
In your book, you make party planning seem easy with a week-by-week breakdown of what the host/hostess should be accomplishing before the event, which I think is such a smart idea. Tell us more about why you organized the tasks this way.
I feel like breaking it down week by week its more attainable. The first thing people think about when planning a party is the fun stuff—invitations, decorations—but those don’t come until you get the logistics done first, like setting the budget. Then you can focus on the fun things.
What do you think is the most common mistake that hosts/hostesses make when planning a wedding-related event, like an engagement party, bridal shower or bachelorette party?
Most of the time for these types of events, you’re working with a team, so not communicating and forgetting to work together tends to be the most common issue. Secondly, many people want to surprise the bride, so they don’t ask the bride what she’s looking for at these events and she may have something in mind but feels awkward discussing it. I think it’s important to have a convo with the person you’re planning the party for, then have a convo with the people you’re planning the party with.
Food at events: make it yourself or hire a caterer?
Look at your skill set and see what you’re interested in doing. If you like hosting because you like to cook, then do it yourself and hire someone to do decor. Or if there’s someone in the group that enjoys cooking, then they can make something really personal. There’s also a term I use called semi homemade: do some of it yourselves and hire a caterer to do the rest.
What’s a typical stressor that you think could be avoided with proper planning?
Budget. If you don’t set a budget and then you start seeing the numbers it becomes a big deal. The second thing is not planning or scheduling in advance. Figure out what your tasks are and delegate, especially when you have a team (such as a bridal shower or bachelorette party) so you’re not handling all the different elements at once.
I love that you say Champagne is a must for any style of engagement party! Any other “must dos” you can think of?
The only must that the bride and groom should do is address their guests in some capacity. Actually, at any party you host, you may not feel like you need to give a speech, but this type of party doesn’t happen all the time so addressing your guests is a big must.
So many brides are not into playing games at their showers, but so many guests expect it. So should the bride get over herself and do it anyway to please the crowd? What about opening gifts?
I’m very new age with games and opening gifts—if the bride doesn’t want to do it, call it quits. But I do agree that you risk offending folks if you don’t open presents. So compromise. If the bride doesn’t want to do games, she can be a judge. Or maybe you can have more passive games, like guessing games about the couple. Then if people really want to play, they can but if they don’t, they don’t have to. At the end of the day, you’re hosting the party for the individual.
Are favors a necessity for engagement parties and bridal showers? What if the hosts/hostesses are on a tight budget — still a must?
No, totally not. There are different ways to gift favors to guests. In fact, there are favors that don’t cost any money. The bride at one shower I attended recently wrote a message to every guest and put it at the place setting and that was a “favor” but it didn’t cost anything. So think outside of the budget, it doesn’t have to be an item. People will cherish that more than a box of chocolates they would’ve been given.
Post Published on April 26, 2017.