Planning and hosting a cocktail party is an exciting time, and with just a little effort, it can be one of the best events of the year.
Whether you’re celebrating your birthday in style, throwing a glamorous holiday celebration, or simply want an excuse to be the hostess with the most-est, a cocktail party is a fabulously elegant way to do it!
You’ll have an opportunity to don your favorite cocktail dress, get your hair and nails done (or at least have fun doing them yourself), and wear your most glamorous jewelry to match. There is a lot of planning involved in throwing a cocktail party, so make sure you are prepared if you want to look fabulous and have everything go smoothly.
Here are 5 top tips to make sure your cocktail party will be one to remember:
Grab Your Cocktail Dresses: How to Throw a Fabulous Cocktail Party
Step 1: Send out invitations. Nothing says, “this night will be special!” like a bespoke, paper invitation! Everything is done online these days, and invitations to gatherings are no different, but you can make your invitations stand out and build the party excitement by taking the classy route and hand-delivering invitations to your guests a few weeks in advance. Let everyone know to wear their cocktail dresses and suits, so it will be the classy affair you desire.
Step 2: Choose your outfit. Once you’ve decided who’s coming, it’s time to pick out what you’ll wear to dazzle them! The great thing about cocktail dresses is that they’re super versatile, so even if you’ve technically bought a cocktail dress especially for this occasion, you can wear it again for the next engagement celebration, wedding anniversary or work party.
Depending on the style of your dress, you may want to choose jewelry and a makeup look to compliment it. Your shoes and clutch (if you have one) should give the opposite effect of your dress; that is, if your dress is highly patterned or covered in sequins, consider block colors for your heels and bag. Or, if your dress is quite simple, look at a textured clutch or shoes with a fun pattern on them. Remember, it’s your night, and you set the tone with your outfit!
Don’t be afraid to have a few different options ready to go, especially if you’re thinking of trying something a bit more daring. It’s better to have too many cocktail dresses than be stuck with one you no longer feel comfortable in. You could even do an outfit change mid-party if you wanted to!
Step 3: Decide on refreshments. Sometimes the food is as memorable a part of a cocktail party as the drinks. Try and keep it seasonal, depending on the time of year. If it’s summertime, offer some light hors d’oeuvres like bruschetta or spring rolls, or if it’s winter, serve up some arancini balls or baba ganoush with crudites.
If you don’t love cooking, it’s best to order these nibbles locally, so you don’t have to worry about preparing the food at the last minute.
Step 4: Set up your bar and prepare the decorations. You can take the bar as far as you want – simply have a side of the kitchen where guests can serve themselves, offer drinks off a stylish bar trolley, man the bar yourself, or hire a bartender to wow your guests. Whatever your setup, make sure you have plenty of supplies so you can simply enjoy the night.
It’s a good idea to prepare your décor the night before (especially if you’re holding it on a Friday), so you only have to worry about dressing up and hosting on the day.
Step 5: Cue the music! Create a playlist beforehand. It’s important to remember the flow of the playlist – you want to make sure that each piece of music goes seamlessly into the next without feeling awkward or jarring. This playlist should elevate the mood and heighten the sense of elegance and opulence.
Step 6: Enjoy the night! Now comes the day of the event. Ensure everything is ready to go, or easy to take the final steps, and then get ready so you don’t get anything on your cocktail dress. After that, all you need to do is wait for your guests to arrive and greet them all in their cocktail dresses and suits!
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