A great party in your home is tough to beat. You have all of the comforts of your house at your fingertips and the ability to truly personalize and excel at hosting. But with great party throwing skills comes great party responsibilities. From cleanup to cocktails, it is a ton of work pulling a celebration off.
Instead of going it alone, consider throwing a party out at your favorite bar. Jason LaGarenne of The Anchor, a bar and nightclub in New York City, can teach you how to personalize a party even when you’re out and about!
What are the first steps in planning?
Having a good ballpark idea of how many people you are expecting is a good place to start. Facebook invites tend to be unreliable because we all have friends who either RSVP to everything and not show up or RSVP to nothing and show up to everything. Although we can accommodate most unforeseen things and adapt accordingly, if you tell a venue you have 20 people coming and 150 show up, things can get a little hairy. Budgets are not terribly important, as we customize our events to meet any budget — the most important first step is to know what kind of party you want. Some questions to ask yourself are: Do you want something quiet and intimate, a bacchanalian, booze-soaked dance party, or something in between? What type of music will your guests enjoy the most? What will they be drinking? Will you be serving food or is it a late night event? Obviously, for something like a birthday party, you'll know most of your guests, so deciding what kind of party works best for you should be fairly easy.
What are some ways you can personalize the event?
A signature cocktail is a nice touch, but one of my favorite things to do for the birthday parties I help people put together is create personalized touches that can be enjoyed communally — this gets people interacting and is especially helpful for the guests that may not know everyone at the party. An example of this is doing custom punch bowls rather than individual drinks. Now, I realize "punchbowl" gets people thinking “50's high-school dance,” those god-awful tubs of who knows what, or "jungle juice" (served from garbage cans!) from college parties — but rest assured, we work with the person throwing the party to create amazing concoctions featuring fresh juices and quality spirits. They are a far cry from what you may have had in college and have been a huge hit with the parties we host.
What are some definite “don’ts” when planning a party out?
It's important to know your guests — so I would say don't just invite everyone you know or send a mass invite to all of you Facebook "friends." You want a good sized crowd, but you want people that will add to the fun of the evening. Also, another don't is don't show up blackout drunk to your own party — a spirited dinner or a little pre-gaming never hurt, but people are there to celebrate and drink with you, not carry you out or babysit you in the bathroom. Pretty much anything — any odd requests, unique personalities, and specialized tastes — we can handle.
What does every great party absolutely need?
In my experience, the most important part of any party is the music. People are willing to overlook certain things, but if the music sucks, it can make for an awful time. A good dance party and people letting themselves go is what makes for a memorable experience. Another generic "birthday dinner" or lame pretentious club does not create genuine good times that people will talk about. This is the reason we are known for booking incredible, nationally renowned DJs. Through our relationships, we are able to bring the best DJs the city has to offer and we work with them to play music our guests will love. Rather than pay cover charges or big money for these same DJs at big clubs, we provide them for free in the interest of our guest's enjoyment. We absorb the costs this involves because it's that important.