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P You Are Invited

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A guide to planning a great party

OCTOBER 27, 2011

A tasteful occasion

Plan for your guests’ different palates

the Allegria is



lanning a party can have its share of ups and down. Depending on the party’s degree of formality, the planning can range from super-stressful to incredibly easy.

for the holidays!

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For more formal functions, planning can be on the stressful side, as hosts want to impress their guests. For more casual gatherings, the mood is generally more laid back, and the planning is typically easier on the host as a result. One thing all hosts must consider when planning a get-together is their guests’ palates. While there’s no accounting for especially picky eaters, there are several things hosts must consider and quiz prospective guests about when putting together a party menu, whether that party is a black-tie affair or more of a jeans and t-shirt type of gathering. Consider your guests’ different needs when planning a party menu. Offer options that take Health conditions: Some health into account dietary restrictions. conditions greatly restrict what a host and guest are of the same faith, some people follow person can and cannot eat. T o put everyone at ease, religion more closely than others, so it’s best to ask guests privately ask guests if they have any dietary restrictions. about any religious dietary restrictions. Some guests might be lactose intolerant, while others Lifestyle: More and more people have adopted might not be able to eat foods prepared with salt. Asking vegetarian or even vegan lifestyles. Hosts who are not about health restrictions prior to the party will keep vegetarian or vegan might find it difficult to feed guests guests from feeling as if they should bring their own food, who are. If guests do follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, and it will save hosts the embarrassment of serving a meal ask them for meal suggestions and offer to prepare a meal their guests might not be able to enjoy. for them. If they insist on bringing their own dish, hosts Religious restrictions: Observant followers of certain should not be offended but allow their guests the freedom religions might be prohibited to eat certain foods. Even if to prepare their own meals if they so desire. Allergies: Alle rgie While adults routinely grow out of food not all adults leave their allergies behind. Hosts allergies, no can inquire ahead of time as to guests’ food allergies and avoid a potentially dangerous situation once guests sit si down to eat. “Diet”ary restrictions: Some dietary restrictions have nothing to do with existing medical conditions, religion, lifestyle, or allergies. Some people just restrict what they eat to watch their weight. While a party is supposed to be a time to let loose, some guests su might migh want to avoid certain foods to stay true to their diets. diet If guests are trying to lose weight, hosts should offer offe some food that won’ t pack on the pounds but will be delicious nonetheless.




PARTY, PARTY, PARTY is an advertising supplement to the HERALD Community Newspapers. Copyright © 2011 Richner Communications, Inc. Published by Richner Communications, Inc. 2 Endo Blvd., Garden City, NY 11530 (516) 569-4000 •

You’ve set the date, now what?


on’t let the prospect of planning your dream event get the best of you.

Party expert Roz Keith, founder of Party Planning Plus, believes that it’ s possible to give a fabulous party without emptying out the bank account with some advance planning and thorough preparation. “When a bride finds the right dress, she just knows it. When house hunting and you walk into an open house, you know when you’re home. When looking for just the right reception venue for your Bat Mitzvah (or any other event), you know when you’ve found the one,” says Keith. “The energy of the space speaks to you. The size, the menu, the pricing, the catering manager , the decor…. it all screams, “this is the one.” When making the final decision, there are always going to be your non-negotiables (things you just can’t live without) and the things you can compromise on. This holds true for many decisions whether buying the perfect dress, your new home or booking the venue.” Never be afraid to ask for what you want, advises Keith. “Be upfront about your budget. Don’ t assume a venue/restaurant is out of your price range…you will be surprised, especially in this economy , what you can negotiate for. Remember, be fair, the banquet hall is in the business to make money but would like to earn your business and book your event.”

Ready to party

Entertaining with style Get set to throw a fabulous party. It all starts with the planning. And planning the party can be half the fun, not a stressed-out nightmare, if you pay attention to some of the rules of party planning, according to party planning experts. Basic Rules Of Party Planning Who? - Who is coming to your party? Is it your friends, coworkers, your boss? What? - What kind of party are you throwing? Is it a theme party, a sporting event or dinner/cocktail party? Where? - Location, location, location! When? - Is it during the day, evening or maybe late Night? - Is it seasonal? A pool party in January maybe!? Why? - What do you hope to accomplish with this Party (Besides a hang over, a full stomach or incriminating photos of your guests!) All these questions will be asked of yourself during the initial party planning stages. They will all overlap and are all equally important when making your decisions. You may not be able to answer one without the other so consider them all to put together the best plan possible with the least amount of effort and highest amount of enjoyment for you and your guests. Who will you be inviting to your party? Who will be coming to your party? It is vitally important to know who you are catering to. Is it for close friends? Complete strangers? Co workers or business peers? In planning any social event, you need to consider the guests, do they know each other? Is it an Ice breaker? Do you need to provide name tags? How many people are you expecting? What are their likes and dislikes? Are they heavy drinkers or heavy eaters? Do they have a demographic? Find out what you all commonly share as interests and deliver those in spades. Understanding your guests will help to clarify your goals for your event and also help determine the kind of party that is appropriate. You wouldn’t plan an elaborate outdoor pig roast for a

group of vegetarians or organize a cocktail reception for a bar mitzvah would you? So be very aware of who you plan on having at your party and be considerate of their needs. All great parties cater greatly to their guests. Wow your guests and they will always remember you, Whimper your guests and they will find a way to always forget you. What are the objectives of your party? What is the objective of your party? What kind of party are you going to throw? Does the objective meet your needs as well as your guests needs? This is a very important question in that all your decisions from here will be affected by what party you are having. If you are having a theme party, consider that you may need decorations and costumes. This doesn’t have to be expensive. A great Martini party can be had simply by having your guests dress semi formal. Because every party is a the med party of some sort, find the right theme for you and your guests. Here are a few great theme party ideas: Do you love food? A great recipe/cooking party may be the way for you. Do you enjoy golf Maybe a Sunday afternoon masters BBQ? Do you love mysteries? Consider a murder mystery party where somebody plays the killer and somebody plays the victim. Do you love wine? Have a wine tasting and dinner party. Half the group brings food, the other half wine to match. Choose your party theme, it can be revolving or seasonal and make sure your guests will be receptive, (not everyone likes to get in costume) and make sure your goals are attainable.

• • • •

Where will your party be located? As in real estate so goes great party planning, location, location, location, is paramount. There are many factors to consider when choosing a location for any party: Crammed rooms, inadequate lavatory facilities, inability to sit or stand comfortably, limited access to food and or beverages are serious problems just to name

a few and will certainly be a detriment to your guests overall satisfaction. We have all been to parties with too many people in too small an apartment with too long a line for the washroom meanwhile being all too ready to leave! To make location an easy choice here are some very useful considerations to make when choosing a venue: Does it have the space I need? Will my guests be able to freely mingle? Is there adequate bathroom facilities? Is there an area to sit? Is it easily accessible? Is there transit or cabs available near by? Can your guests leave their vehicles should they be consuming alcohol? Consider using a drive home service in your area to keep people from drinking and driving. They usually charge a stipend, usually double what a cab would cost, to drive your guest and their cars home, This service is well worth the price. check out Keys Please! a great service! We highly recommend doing this! If you are planning on renting a hall, a hotel room or banquet room then ensure you look at a few different venues and consider these important questions: Does it have food and beverage facilities? If yes, will they provide the room free if you use their food and beverage services? Are there adequate washroom facilities and are they wheel chair accessible? Is there an outdoor/patio/smoking area? At what time will you have access to the facility and at what time are you to leave? Do they provide any post function cleaning? Is there adequate electrical for decor, a DJ or a Band? Do they have in-house audio visual? What is the room capacity? Is there any security? Will you need security? When will you be hosting your party? Choosing the right time, date or season to have your party will impact greatly on why you have a party, where you have your party, what your party is for and who you will be inviting to your party.

• • • • • •

• • • • • • • • • •

AZ to

A sk for referrals from a friend. B udget: What can I afford? C hecklist: Caterer, Centerpieces,

Candle lighting ceremony, Cake

D evelop a plan of attack E njoy the process - don’t stress out F rugal yet still fabulous G ames: Give-aways, Goody bags H armony I nvitations... E-vites, e-responses J ustify your needs/expenses, look at

priorities and don’t forget to compromise

K ids... don’t forget to consider what they want

L ocation, Location, Location...

is it convenient for you and others

M usic - live vs. DJ N eighbors. Great for extra freezer space, especially if you are doing your own baking, etc.

O pen-minded yet objective, everyone wants things “their” way

P arty planner... consider help from professional event planners

Q uiet time... take a nap, watch Oprah, smell the flowers

R esearch: Do your homework S olicit your friends/relatives to help... don’t be afraid to ask

T heme: Do you have one? U nderstanding your spouse/child’s point-of-view

V oice your opinion but don’t make it a competition... again, compromise

W elcome your out-of-towners. Remember,

they spent money to come to your event

X -Ray... put the spotlight on the main reason/purpose for the party in the first place

Y ou deserve a pat on the back for getting it done!

Z EN - Peace of mind Courtesy of

October 27, 2011 — PARTY, PARTY, PARTY - Herald Community Newspapers

A fabulous celebration awaits

Getting started: Party Planning from


October 27, 2011 — PARTY, PARTY, PARTY - Herald Community Newspapers

Invitation countdown

The RSVP dilemma


Be a Good Guest

ne common problem when hosting a party is sending out invitations only to have a handful of people actually respond.

There are ways to entice others to say “yea” or “nay” to the invite. RSVP stands for “respondez s’il vous plait,” which is the French translation of, please respond. Although just about every invitation, whether paper, electronic or verbal, generally includes a response request, many invitees fail to make the call or send that e-mail. This can be annoying for a host or hostess trying to plan a party based on the number of guests. Although failure to respond to an invitation can seem like poor etiquette, party hosts should expect lots of non-responses. Here are some other ways to encourage guests to reply when invited. Set a deadline. Instead of leaving it as an open response, be sure to indicate on the invitation when the response will be needed. (RSVP by September 10, 2011.) Be clear. In this day and age one would hope others would understand what RSVP means. However , there are some who believe they have to respond only if they are coming to the fete. Change the wording of the invitation to include a more explicit description of what is desired in a response. (Please respond if you will or will not be attending by this date.) Give response options. Let’s face it, with all of the electronic devices some people are simply “phone-a-phobic.” They’d much rather text, e-mail or place a wall post that they’ll be attending ... or not. Especially if someone isn’t going to be able to attend, it can be a little embarrassing to call aand give a reason why he or she will be a no-show . Give guests plenty of ways to respond (and save face) so they’ll be more likely to do so. (Call, e-mail or IM your response to: ...) fa N No ticket, no entry. Remember the last concert, theater show or sports event attended? T o enter such events a person will need a ticket as proof of payment. The same concept can be applied to su individuals’ parties. Once a person responds in the affirmative, he or she can be issued a “ticket” in for attendance. If a person fails to reply, no ticket, no entry. This may seem harsh and may alienate fo a few people, but it can drive home the RSVP point to serial non-responders. G Give a reason why the response is needed. If others realize the reason why a prompt response is nneeded, it may encourage them to reply. (Please reply by ‘said date’ because I need to give a head ccount to the restaurant.) W When all else fails, adapt. Some people in the family or friends are well known non-responders. Over time one can gauge whether they’ll be at the party or not depending on their actions. For O eexample, maybe Cousin Sue’s RSVP silence always means she’ll be there. Some people always ddecline invitations. If a within-reason headcount can be obtained, make assumptions on the rest. PPick up the phone. Party planners who really need an accurate headcount for financial reasons (the restaurant will charge for the number of plates reserved) can give non-responders a call. It’ s (t more work and it puts others on the spot, but it’ s the most effective way to getting responses. m

• • • • •




hether it is to a wedding, a

dinner party, shower or gala event, an invitation comes with some important obligations. Here’s a quick guide to keep you on the guest list. How Do I Respond? Reply in the manner indicated on the invitation. RSVP and no response card: a handwritten response to the host at the retur n address on the envelope. Response Card: fill in and reply by the date indicated and return in the enclosed envelope. RSVP with phone number: telephone and make sure to speak in person – answering machines can be unreliable. RSVP with email: you may accept or decline electronically. Regrets only: reply only if you cannot attend. If your host doesn’t hear from you, he is expecting you! No reply requested? Unusual, but it is always polite to let someone know your intentions.

• • •

Invitation timing

When to send out the invitations Whether you’re mailing invitations or inviting guests by phone, timing is key.

Send an invitation too late and the guest may already be booked; send it too early and it might be misplaced or forgotten. The following guidelines aren’t set in stone, but will give you an idea of when to mail various types of invitations.

THE EVENT WHEN TO INVITE Anniversary party ..........................3 to 6 weeks Bar or Bat Mitzvah .........................1 month Bon Voyage party..........................Last minute to 3 weeks Casual party..................................Same day to 2 weeks Charity Ball ...................................6 weeks to 3 months Christmas party..............................1 month Cocktail party ................................1 to 4 weeks Debutante Ball ...............................6 weeks to 3 months Formal dinner ................................3 to 6 weeks Graduation party ...........................3 weeks Housewarming party .....................A few days to 3 weeks Informal dinner ..............................A few days to 3 weeks Lunch or Tea ..................................A few days to 2 weeks Thanksgiving dinner .......................2 weeks to 2 months

A phone call would be sufficient. Is That Your Final Answer?

• Changing a ‘yes’ to a ‘no’ is only acceptable

• • •

on account of: illness or injury, a death in the family or an unavoidable professional or business conflict. Call your hosts immediately. Canceling because you have a “better” of fer: is a sure fire way to get dropped from ALL the guest lists. Being a “no show”: is unacceptable. Changing a ‘no’ to a ‘yes’ is OK: only if it will not upset the hosts’ arrangements.

Say “Thank You”

• Make sure to thank your hosts before you Courtesy of the Emily Post Institute

leave, and then again by phone or note the next day.



FF By Chandra Orr

rom e-mail invites to blogging about the big day, more and more people are turning to the Internet to spread the word about their affairs, but even in the digital age, proper etiquette still applies.

Do Create A Private Event Website Facebook and Twitter are fine for posting news in the moment, but spring for a dedicated website to share official details of the event. “A dedicated website allows the party-giver to control who sees the information and when. Other electronic mediums do not have the same privacy settings,� explains etiquette expert Darlene Dennis, author of “Host or Hostage?� Easily accessible sites can pose safety issues – strangers can find out when you will be away from home – and give a false sense of involvement to those who won’ t be invited to the affair. A private website ensures that only those who need the information get the information. Don’t Use The Web For Invitations For save-the-date announcements and photo sharing, the Web works wonders, but when it comes to the official invitations, snail mail is still a must.

“Websites are a fabulous way to share the details of the event and travel information for out-of-town guests – but be sure the medium matches the message. A quick reminder is fine by e-mail, but a formal invitation is best sent by mail,� says Jodi R.R. Smith, president of Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting. After all, the invites reveal a lot about the occasion. “The invitation sets the tone of the event. Even though everything is moving to online avenues, a mailed invitation is still the proper way to invite guests,� says Curtrise Garner, author of “The New Rules of Etiquette.� Do Think Twice Before You Post By openly sharing the details of the planning process, you open yourself up to unsolicited comments, critiques and suggestions. “There are plenty of people with a multitude of opinions who feel they have a right to weigh in on almost any topic,� Smith says. “Cousins or college buddies who may not have made the guest list, the venue, the celebration menu – as soon as the information is posted, it is open to critique.�

Do Consider The Impact Be respectful of your guests – and yourself – when sharing anecdotes and photos online. “Don’t be silly or reveal Proper etiquette still applies when sending out invitations to a special celebration. anything of a personal nature that will be an embarrassment to you spelling someone’s name, so pay close attention to or your family, either now or at a later date,� Dennis names, dates, addresses and driving directions. says. “Toss out pictures of anyone in the act of doing Also, be sure your mass e-mail list includes only anything socially inappropriate.� those invited to the affair. Friends and family will appreciate a few short video Do Send Personal Thank-You’s clips and a tasteful selection of pictures – but don’ t go Avoid using e-mail to show appreciation for those overboard. gifts. Thank-you notes deserve the personal touch – the “Very few people want to see all 675 pictures. kind that comes from handwritten snail mail. Instead, choose 30 representative ones,� Smith says. “Some things need to maintain a traditional paper Don’t Click Too Soon Whether sending e-mail invites or posting travel information to a website, edit everything before you hit the send button –- and ask a friend to proofread all communications before you commit. N othing’ s worse than giving guests the wrong date for the event or mis-

trail,� Dennis says. “Handwritten thank-you notes tell how well-mannered and educated you are. Use black or blue ink and your nicest cursive writing. Remember the names of those who sent gifts and exactly which gifts they sent – and mention a bit about how pleased you are with the givers’ presence on your special day.�



Follow these simple doâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; s and donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ts to merge your special occasion with the Web and youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll come off looking classy:

October 27, 2011 â&#x20AC;&#x201D; PARTY, PARTY, PARTY - Herald Community Newspapers

Simple rules for party correspondence in the digital age

An affair to remember

Throw the best party of the season

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When planning your special occasion, whatever it may be, there are five simple tips that will make it a night to remember. The recession caused many companies to cut back on expenses, especially holiday parties. However, we’ve seen a recent jump in the amount of bookings for corporate holiday parties, which is great news for everyone. Show your employees that you appreciate their hard work. • Have an awards ceremony. Do something different, not just Best Employee but Best Looking on a Monday Morning. Have fun with it because a little recognition goes a long way. • Have a theme. Parties with themes add that much more excitement to any occasion. T ry a red carpet event, a murder mystery night, or a luau. There’s nothing like summer in the snow to spice up the night. • Make it personal. Personalize party favors for each person. If its an office function, have someone from the office dress up to give out the gifts. It instantly becomes a more intimate occasion that your guest will cherish. • Try pairings. Everyone expects typical holiday fare during the season, so surprise them. Offer a wine and cheese tasting, or a appetizer and craft beer pairing to give the night an exotic twist. • Find a caterer you trust. Unlike test driving a car before you buy it, in event planning, you don’t see what you’ve paid for until the night of the party. Make sure you trust your caterer, and let them handle the stressful details and finishing touches. That’s why we’re here – so that you can enjoy this special time of year with the people that matter the most. On behalf of the family at the Inn at New Hyde Park, we wish you all a happy and healthy holiday season! Frank Marino is the owner of the Inn at New Hyde Park. He has been an event planner on Long Island for over 40 years.


Q - Is it appropriate to register in time for our engagement party? A - It’s perfectly acceptable to register as soon as you get engaged. This gives guests who’d

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Q - Who Chooses the Engagement Ring? A - It’s a long-standing tradition that the guy chooses the ring he thinks is perfect for his gal, then surprises her by

popping the question. Historically, that’s just “the way it was done.” But let’ s talk reality for a second. This is a ring the bride will wear for a long, long time, so she’d better like it. What could be worse than watching her open the box and say “Oh”, because it’s not quite what she really wanted? There’s nothing wrong with the bride letting the groom in on the style of diamond she thinks is coolest (even if it’s just the shape she prefers; you can always change the setting). Let’s face it -- a guy wants to see his sweetie’ s face light up when she sees he’s chosen the perfect ring, but he can’ t be expected to read her mind. So pointing him in the right direction will make everyone happy . On the flip side, if a girl would rather select the exact ring she wants, these days that’ s totally acceptable, too.

Mind your manners



October 27, 2011 — PARTY, PARTY, PARTY - Herald Community Newspapers

Do’s and don’ts of holiday office parties ith the season for holiday office parties rapidly approaching , now is a great time to go over some do’s and don’ts for employees hoping to have a good time ... but not too good of a time.

The Do’s

The Don’ts

Do attend the party. Even though the holiday season is the busiest of the year for many people, time must be made to attend the office holiday party . Declining the invitation can imply an individual doesn’t care about the company or his or her coworkers. Do behave. Even if the party is as jovial as jovial gets, remember behavior is still being monitored by fellow employees and higher-ups. Do be gracious to the hosts. The company often covers the tab for the party , so be gracious when leaving for the night, thanking bosses for the food and drink. Also, avoid negative comments about the party, regardless of how bad something might be. Do ask about guests ahead of time. Many office parties encourage bringing spouses or significant others to the festivities. However, those thinking of bringing kids along should inquire ahead of time if that’s acceptable. Sometimes an office holiday party is not the ideal locale for children.

Don’t dress as if going out for a hot night on the town. Conservative dress is often best. It also might not hurt to wear something that symbolizes the holiday season. Don’t get overly flirty with coworkers. Nearly every business has had an office romance or two. But publicly flirting with a coworker in front of the rest of the office and their significant others is a good way to become fodder for the water cooler conversations come Monday morning. Don’t overindulge. The food might be delicious and the alcohol might be free, but overindulging in either is a recipe for disaster . Moderation is ideal when it comes to food and drink at the office party, and ask a spouse or significant other to be mindful of how much you have had, if necessary . Don’t discuss work. While some work discussions are bound to happen, the laid-back nature of the office party might cause some to say something they will later regret. Keep topics light and avoid discussing anything that might lead to an argument. Don’t drink and drive. Workers who have had one too many should call a taxi or ask for a ride home. Law enforcement officials are extra aware of drunk drivers during the holidays, and getting behind the wheel after a drink or two is never a good idea.

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Ways To Be Good Host No matter the kind of party you’re throwing, there are some things a host should remember, even before the party starts. • Invite clearly. Include necessary information for your guests in the invitation. Is the party a casual get-together or more formal? What about the attire? Maybe a guest would benefit by knowing ahead of time who else will be there, which you might mention when they RSVP. • Plan well. Preparing your guest list carefully is key to a successful party. Then do as much as you can ahead of time. (Lower the stress level by serving food and refreshments you know will work.) Get everything ready well before your guests arrive, so you’ll feel relaxed from the very beginning. • Remain calm. Giving a party can be enjoyable, especially if you approach it with simplicity. Get help if necessary, and don’t let your guests think you’re huffing and puffing. They’ll feel far more comfortable if they don’t have to wonder whether they’re causing you any trouble. • Keep your guests feeling welcome. Make sure guests are warmly greeted, then made to feel welcome throughout the party. Look after each guest as much as you can. If you notice that a guest has an empty glass or if there’s one person standing alone, remedy the situation as quickly and cheerfully as possible. • Be flexible and gracious. Your soufflé falls. Or one friend arrives with an unexpected guest. The ruined dessert? Have a fallback. The uninvited guest? As discourteous as it is for someone to spring a surprise on you, be gracious. No polite host would ever send an uninvited guest packing.


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October 27, 2011 — PARTY, PARTY, PARTY - Herald Community Newspapers


Being the Maid-of-Honor is a huge responsibility for anyone. Not only do you help the bride plan her Big Day, you have to make ALL the decisions for the bachelorette party. How do you do that while trying to please the Bride and all of her special friends or bridesmaids?! W e’ll try and help you avoid a Real Houswives worthy clash. First, make sure you plan a party that suits her expectations without ruining the surprise. A great tool to us is to give the bride a mini questionnaire asking her likes and dis-likes.

• How many girls do you want to invite? • What is your budget that you think your friends may want to spend? • What activities do you like to do? • Destinations you would like to have the bachelorette party? • Overnight or single day? • What don’t you want to do? • Name 5 things you love? • Are you into the bachelorette paraphernalia? • Mild / Hot / Spicy bachelorette party • Are the extended family invited?


Picture perfect


October 27, 2011 — PARTY, PARTY, PARTY - Herald Community Newspapers

Take photos of your special event like a pro arties are a great time for family and friends to come together and have some fun.

And, of course, you’ll want the memories to last. Long after that special celebration has ended, you’ll be reliving it with your family and guests and sharing the photos. So you’ll want to make sure you get those photos that define the moment. Consider these simple tips, from professional photographers, to help capture that event with party shots that last. Break the camera out early. Depending on the type of party you may need to start taking pictures early. Arrive early to take pictures of the decorations, food, the cake, etc. before any people show up. Get the group. Typically people don’t stay in a large group at parties; they are all spread out in smaller groups. While having everyone in the same room at the same time, get that group shot so you can treasure it afterwards. Be candid. You can get some great shots of your family and friends when they don’t even know they are getting their picture taken. This is great for getting the emotion at the party. Keep your camera handy and turned on so you’ll be ready for those spontaneous expressions.


Don’t be afraid to zoom in or out. Don’ t be afraid of zooming in so your subject fits into your camera frame. This way you can capture the expression of the subject. Also make sure you get pictures of the party as a whole, don’t be afraid to zoom out to capture the entire room. Avoid red eye. One of the most common occurrences when taking pictures of people at parties is red eye. To make sure your friends and family don’t look evil eyed have them look just over your shoulder rather than directly at camera. This should help reduce the chances of red eye in your pictures therefore saving you time having to take it out before printing them. Know the schedule of events. Make sure you get a copy of the time of the events so you can have your camera ready and specific shots are not missed. Think about perspective. Don’t be afraid to try different perspectives throughout the party: get at eye level with the kids to get their perspective




of the party or take pictures standing on a chair or staircase to get a shot of everyone at the party.

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October 27, 2011 — PARTY, PARTY, PARTY - Herald Community Newspapers


Party with pizzazz

Tipping point

Celebrate without the stress


hrowing a party, no matter how big or small, whether you hire party planning services or not, can be a daunting affair.

From making sure you invite the right people to buying enough food for your guests, there are a dizzying amount of variables that can determine whether or not your party is a success. Take the following ideas into consideration to not only ensure your party will go off without a hitch, but to make the process as stress-free as possible. Learn to enjoy the planning process: So many people look at the prospect of throwing a party as an overwhelming chore. It can actually be a lot of fun. There’ s nothing more satisfying than looking at your fete mid-party and relishing the sight of your guests having a great time. Make it extra fun by going with a theme and then researching it. Consider your guests when menu planning: When you’re planning the menu for your party, whether you’re serving a five-course meal or putting a bunch of snacks out, be sure to take into consideration the type of guests who are coming. Whether it’s your close friends or co-workers, different groups of people prefer different types of foods, so keep this in mind. Also, be sure to ask if any of your guests have dietary concerns such as lactose intolerance, kosher, diabetes, vegetarian, nut allergies, etc. (plus, it‘s just a classy thing to do). Keep a detailed to-do list: Weeks (or even months) before the party, create a to-do list that reminds you of everything that needs to be done for the party and make sure to update it as you go along. Staying organized is a sure way to not get stressed out as the party draws near. The same goes for your menu planning. Write down what you’re serving – from appetizers to drinks and desserts – and list which ingredients you’ll need next to each menu item.

Stick with what you know: It can be tempting to try a new recipe for your party, but it’s probably best to resist this urge unless you have time to perfect the new process. Trying a new recipe is always risky, and unless you don’t mind serving your guests a botched dish, best to whip up a recipe you’re sure will dazzle them, and one you know exactly how to make. Plus, making something new can be stressful. Buy your supplies/ingredients two to three days beforehand: Another easy way to ensure your party doesn’t stress you out to your wit’s end is to get on the ball and buy everything you need two-to-three days before the party (no earlier for perishable food items). Getting everything early also will make sure no last-minute food emergencies occur. There’s nothing more stressful than stopping by the grocery store only to discover they’re out of what you need, and you have no time to go searching because your party is about to begin. Prepare whatever you can the day before: This is every hostess’ little secret – make whatever you can the night before. Doing this makes the hours before the party less crazy and lets you focus on getting yourself ready before your guests arrive. Several things can be prepared the night before, such as man types of desserts, breads, cheese and crackers plates and spreads. Also, doing any vegetable or herb cutting the night before is a smart idea, as well as setting the table early too. A few more ideas: Decorate simply using flowers or bowls of candy and/or fruit. No need to go overboard in this area. Also, consider nixing cooking in the first place. Having the food catered or organizing a potluck is a great way to make throwing your party even easier. Also, consider making punch instead of serving separate drinks to each guest.

Gratuities for party vendors a nice touch


here’s no better way to say “job well done” to a vendor who has helped make your affair a complete success than by offering a tip. Although tips are not mandatory, they can show a DJ, caterer or another hired helper just how much his or her exemplary service was appreciated. Some vendors include tips in their regular schedule of charges, primarily catering facilities that will be hiring wait and bar staff for the event. Others do not include a gratuity into their charges, so it is up to the customer to provide a tip if desired. Fifteen to 20 percent is usually customary, according to etiquette experts, and may be adjusted depending on the size of the affair and the quality of the job done. Businesses owned and operated by a single person, such as a florist or photographer, often pocket all of the proceeds charged for services. Therefore, a gratuity for such vendors is typically unnecessary. Businesses that hire out staff, such as a large music and entertainment company or a limousine service, will pay employees a salary. Party hosts can show those employees they appreciate the job done with an additional tip. A catering hall typically has a staff working behind the scenes to keep guests happy. These staff members include coat-check personnel, a catering manager, kitchen staff, and parking attendants. It can be customary to tip these individuals. One dollar per guest is typically sufficient. Or you can choose to individually tip those who went above and beyond. Even though a special party can cost thousands of dollars, and the idea of parting with another dollar can seem monumental, it is important factor tipping into the overall party budget. It may be necessary to keep about $1,000 to $1,500 available for gratuities alone. How much is enough? While you’re welcome to let your conscience be your guide, here are some standard guidelines. Caterer, maitre d’, club manager, hotel banquet manager: 15 percent to 20 percent of the total food and drink bill before tax – unless it’s already included in the contract. Wait staff: 15 percent of the total food bill, given to the catering manager or maitre d’ to distribute – unless included in the contract. Bartenders: 15 percent of the total bar bill (given to the catering manager or maitre d’ to distribute). Musicians, DJs: 15 percent of services; $25 to $50 per musician. Limousine drivers: 15 percent to 20 percent of the bill – usually stipulated in the contract. Delivery drivers: $5 to $25 each; the consultant or staff member present may deliver tip for the client at delivery. Powder room and coat-check attendants: 50 cents to $2 per guest. Valet parking attendants: $1 to $2 per vehicle. Hairstylist, manicurist, and makeup artist: 10 to 15 percent of the total bill.

• • • • • • • • •

Toast the season…


October 27, 2011 — PARTY, PARTY, PARTY - Herald Community Newspapers

The holiday office party is making a comeback


he holiday season is almost here and all around us people are making their plans to celebrate with their families and loved ones, but what about our coworkers?

We spend over 40 hours a week together and share many breakfasts and lunches with each other , so why aren’t we celebrating the holidays together and taking a look back at our accomplishments over the year? Holiday parties have been a dying trend over the past couple of years, but for many organizations this is one of the only times during the year all associates can get together , let their hair down and have a good time. While holiday bonuses are a nice treat, the memories of a holiday party can be a special extra. Get your staff together and head out for a night to remember and reminisce upon. Look for a unique experience that will make an impression on your staff that says “you are special” to management. Y our event can range from a multi-course local organic dinner and wine pairing by world renowned chef, to a cocktail party with passed nibbles and exotic stations, or just a late night gathering with drinks, dancing and a little nosh overlooking a view anywhere from the ocean to the Manhattan skyline. Whether you invite spouses or limit the festivities to employees only, you and your staff should be ready to relax and have a wonderful time. For a truly memorable experience, you might want to consider treating your company to an overnight celebration. Consider the Allegria in Long Beach, with magnificent ocean views, offering a hint of summer as winter approaches. When you plan your overnight holiday extravaganza at the Allegria Hotel, you will be treated to a complimentary group breakfast the next morning, so you can recap your party and share the memories. The Atlantica Restaurant and Chef Todd Jacobs are ready to assist you in planning an unforgettable party. This holiday season the Allegria says, “Come party with us, and remember what happens at the Allegria stays at the Allegria.”


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October 27, 2011 — PARTY, PARTY, PARTY - Herald Community Newspapers

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Party! Party! Party! - Herald Community Newspapers - October 27, 2011  

Party! Party! Party! - Herald Community Newspapers

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