While we can’t officially condone getting ball-slappingly drunk and willfully getting your friends trashed, you can definitely glean some excellent party pointers from this wild party planner’s post. When the da Vinci of throwing parties wants to share his knowledge take note.
By James Farrell | Photos by Renata Chebel
I don’t throw parties. I hurl them in people’s faces at full pelt. They are literally unmissable events.
My most recent bash was my most successful to date: a ‘Hedonism & Decadence’ themed extravaganza.
I know this because:
1) It was discussed at a departmental meeting in one guest’s workplace (literally printed on the agenda).
2) The police turned up and they weren’t even invited.
3) I am still – one month on – being vehemently thanked.
It was a wonderful night. If Gatsby had been there, he might not have believed himself to be so great after all. But how do I do it? What’s my secret recipe for revelry? A magician never reveals his secrets, but I don’t do magic, I just work it.
1. Body count
Recipe: First-off, don’t ever – under any circumstances – limit your guestlist. Your main concern should always be numbers. You may naively think of your guests as friends, but that is a fatal mistake. Detach yourself. Each ‘invite recipient’ (as I shall rather affectionately refer to them from here on in) represents another body at your party. And the more bodies you have at a party, the more fabulous (and probably sweatier) it is likely to be. I tend to invite everyone I’ve ever met, but I suppose you can be slightly more selective. Slightly. And try to vary your guestlist in terms of age, gender, and sexual preference. There tends to be an abundance of girls and gays at my parties, so I often have to headhunt heterosexuals to balance things out a bit. Positive discrimination isn’t ideal, but sometimes it’s inevitable.
Secret Ingredient: Send each and every ‘invite recipient’ a personalized message requesting their presence at your party. This will evoke feelings of guilt, gratitude, and obligation, and it should increase your overall guest total by at least 30 percent.
Recipe: You don’t want drunken brawls, people being sick in the bath, and red wine split all over your brand new carpet. Wrong. That’s exactly what you want. Liquor your guests up from the moment they step foot over the threshold and keep the juices flowing all night. Sure, people will bring their own booze, but it is crucial that everyone is lathered up (if not totally leathered) if key social activities are to occur (such as surprise make out sessions, never seen before dance moves, and candid conversations about losing your virginity). If you’re worried your punch is going to lead to a punch-out, you’ve obviously put the right amount of vodka in it. Why not add a dash more?
Secret Ingredient: Serve everyone a strong shot on arrival (it’s a bit like slapping your guests in the face as they enter, but it’s gotta be done); Jell-o shots an hour later when people are starting to get a little wobbly; and then Tequila Slammers all around to finish the job off.
3. Attention to Detail
Recipe: People appreciate effort. So make some. I usually blow my life savings on decorations, but if you’re creative then you may not need to empty your bank account (just sell a few Premium Bonds). However, if push comes to shove, you must splash out; it is your social standing at stake and that is, of course, priceless. For my latest party, each room was themed as one of the Seven Deadly Sins. Vanity was my favorite: photographs of every ‘invite recipient’ adorned to the wall; mirrors left, right and center, ‘ME’ written everywhere, and disposable cameras hanging from the ceiling. You dress to impress. The same principle should be applied to the venue.
Secret Ingredient: An interactive element. For instance, in ‘The Wrath Room’ (which appropriately doubled as the bathroom), guests were invited to scribble/doodle what made them angry on the wall. Apparently, Dame Judy Dench is horribly unpopular.
4. Work the Room
Recipe: This may be a party, but you must take it seriously. Sure, you can drink on the job, but your role as host is crucial to the night’s success. Firstly, you gotta look good; simply looking presentable is unacceptable. Aim for smokin’ hot. Secondly, spread yourself around. Thin, but not too thin. Embrace each guest like they’re your dearest friend (even if you aren’t particularly fond of them), but don’t spend an hour in the corner talking to Jean Hammond about the future of NHS dentistry just to make her feel welcome. Devote at least two full minutes of attention to each guest, so that everyone feels valued (this will help boost morale on the night while also increasing numbers at your next event – always think ahead).
Secret Ingredient: Set the dancing in motion yourself by announcing to your guests that you are DJing at midnight. This ought to intrigue enough people to fill up the dance floor within minutes. If you have no musical credibility, it is your personal responsibility to drag people onto the floor until it can sustain itself.
(N.B. Although people should be allowed to dance wherever they wish, there must be an official floor).
Recipe: Your event must be eventful if it is to go down in the history books (slash the books about great parties). However, do not expect fate to step in and see you through; a little engineering work is required. Particularly memorable, and easy to orchestrate, events might include: the appearance of a minor celebrity, a full-blown argument between you and another guest which ends with their ejection from the party (you may wish to invite someone specifically for this for this purpose), or perhaps an elaborate pyrotechnic display. Whichever fireworks you choose, make sure to keep it under wraps until the very last moment; the element of surprise is key. Boo!
Secret Ingredient: If you’re getting desperate, call the police and report your party yourself. (Disclaimer: I do not condone wasting police time).
I wish you every bit of luck. And maybe one day I’ll be lucky enough to meet you and hopefully for you, it’ll be at one of my parties…