(NAPSA) - With more and more people entertaining at home, "event designer to the stars" Preston Bailey offers his personal tips for ensuring a memorable event.
"When hosting a party at home, don't feel that you need to throw an over-the-top, complicated affair to impress your guests," says Bailey, who has styled hundreds of events for such celebrities as Joan Rivers, Matt Lauer and Oprah Winfrey. "Relax and have fun. Parties are meant to relieve stress, not cause it!"
Bailey recommends focusing on seven key areas when throwing a party at your home:
The Guest List - Keep the list small and ask guests to invite a few of their closest friends. The result is a party in which everyone knows someone and feels comfortable, but also has the opportunity to meet new people.
Tone - Set the tone of a party by looking to an object, color scheme or occasion for inspiration. A simple pinecone might be the inspiration for a holiday party. The key is subtlety. Sprinkle a few pinecones here and there, and incorporate evergreen into other aspects of the party, such as the table setting or favors.
The Invitation - A personal, unusual invitation signals to guests that the party will be truly special. One idea is to send an exquisitely wrapped box of chocolates with a note that simply says, "Please be my guest."
Table Setting - Break the rules a bit and combine flea market finds with more formal items. You can stack pretty, mismatched dishes and allow guests to choose their own. Surprise guests with creative placecard holders by making a slit in the top of a chocolate truffle and inserting a placecard.
Food - Consider your guests and determine whether or not they like to cook. If they do, invite them into the kitchen to spend quality time together. For groups that would rather not cook, contact a few local restaurants and order a complementary course from each one.
Dessert - After a heavy meal, no one has room for a big plate of dessert-they prefer a delicate finishing touch. Give guests a taste of a new product that has just become available, such as Godiva's new Caramel Nouveau chocolates that are a true indulgence in terms of both taste and visual appeal.
Party Favors - Order or cook extra food and send your guests off with leftovers in colorful Chinese-style take-out containers. Personalize each container with beautiful, hand-written calligraphy.