Summer is the perfect time to host a party for your friends and family due to the availability of fresh blooms, gorgeous produce and inviting weather. So whether you’re throwing a casual Sunday brunch in the backyard or hosting a sunset cocktail party by the pool, it’s time to brush up on your hosting skills. We asked some of the go-to party people in Los Angeles—from caterers and florists to party planners—to share their tips for throwing a party that your guests will always remember. Our favorite tip? Have fun.
Party Like A Pro
Pepper In A Few Thoughtful Details
"Personal, hand-written notes to each guest or a menu with dishes that appeal to individual tastes are nice little touches that can make a big impact," says Los Angeles event planner Nancy Park. "And don't forget about music. Create a playlist that fits the group and reason for gathering, and make sure it's playing before guests arrive."
Enjoy The Party (For Real This Time)
"But most importantly, have fun," says Park. "Your guests will enjoy themselves if they see you doing the same!"
Go For Old World Charm
Flowers and candles are great and all, but a formal table setting can amp up your party decor in all of the right ways. "Use your dinnerware to create texture on the table," advise the experts at Casa de Perrin, LA's top table-design company. "Start with a dramatic charger, and your table will look more styled immediately!"
Get Dramatic With Flowers
Flowers are a huge part of any party but not everyone can keep an expert floral designer on speed dial, like Jaclyne Breault of Heavenly Blooms. Breault's tip? For maximum impact with little effort, "use one floral variety grouped in low vases. You can even forage for some greenery from your own backyard to accent."
Know Your Guests Palates
"When throwing a brunch you need to be aware of the guests who will be attending: serious vegetarians, mostly meat-eaters, diet-conscious types, etc. This should dictate the type of menu you produce," urges Urban Palate's Geoffrey Bernstein. Additionally, be strategic when it comes to your prep work. "You don’t want to miss out on the party because you're stuck in the kitchen."
Get Creative With Cocktails
Don't be afraid to take it up a notch with beverages. Talmadge Lowe of Pharmacie LA suggests moving away from the expected cocktails (see: mimosas for brunch) and serving your guests something unexpected but equally crowd-pleasing like a light and refreshing gin cocktail. His favorites on that front? The French 75 (1oz gin + 1/2oz lemon juice + 1/2oz simple syrup + 2oz champagne) and the Seventh Heaven (1 1/2oz gin + 1 1/2oz grapefruit juice + 1oz maraschino liqueur).
Organize The Crowd
The calligraphy experts at Letters to You suggest adding that extra bit of customized detail to an event in the form of place cards or buffet cards, which can also help you stay organized and prevent awkward table dynamics. Plus, these charming details add to the décor without necessarily costing a fortune. (The brand's Instagram account is rife with DIY inspiration.)