Savoir Faire: Hosting A Party

Kirsten_Chad No secret: Everyone loves a good party. And while knowing how to throw a good one should be just as obvious, sometimes it requires a few trade secrets. Behind every awesome fete, there's very often an equally impressive and skilled host. Or two. Kirsten Schubert, a hostess extraordinaire, and her boyfriend Chad Walsh, the bar manager at The Dutch (and recently named one of Zagat's 30 Under 30!), are a) one of my favorite "power couples" when it comes to entertaining and throwing parties, and b) definitely people you want to be friends with.

They teamed up to deliver some great tips for turning a regular old get-together into something your friends will remember well after their hangovers fade. First, Kirsten tells us how to get the party started, from choosing themes and motifs to party favors (Yes! Party favors!)...

· Set The Mood: Never underestimate the power of atmosphere! For indoor parties, colored, or faceted light bulbs are a cheap and easy way to get some left of center luminosity going. Keep the bulb wattage low, and make sure the light sources are evenly spread around your space to light up any dark corners.

· Don't Be Afraid of Motifs: Theme parties get a bad rep, but having a concept makes planning your soiree more focused and gets your guests excited. Start with an idea, then decide what food, drink, and decorative touches bring that to life. Slightly obscure holidays with a great background story are a great place to start! I recently threw a Chinese New Year party, and outfitted the apartment with red light bulbs, cheap Chinese candies, lucky cats, and had bowls of dumplings passed around. At the end of the night, everyone went home with a pair of red chopsticks and a red envelope filled with Yen. Which brings me to...

· Everybody Loves A Party Favor: Remember when you were a kid, and you would get one of those chinzy plastic bags filled with useless plastic toys and delicious candies? And how excited you were to peak inside? The grown up version of that means giving your guests a token for them to remember the evening by, and to thank them for coming. Home-baked treats are always a good option, or perhaps some dried flowers tied to a cocktail recipe from the party, or any other useful (don't give them junk) idea you can come up with! Who doesn't like presents?

· Soundtrack: Focus more on the mood you're trying to set, as opposed to impressing your friends with knowing the newest band from Brooklyn no one has heard of. Choose a few artists, and use either Pandora or Spotify to create a playlist/radio station based on your choices for the most fuss-free option. I like to customize my playlistand focus on music that lends itself to celebrating, which means New Orleans jazz, 60's soul music, Solange and Jai Paul to make it current, and some Nino Rota for whimsy. If you have been stockpiling vinyl you purchased at flea markets, now is the time to use it! Let guests choose records, taking the responsibility of playing DJ out of your hands.

· Getting People Who Don't Know Each Other, To Get To Know Each Other: Part of the fun of going to a party is getting to meet new people, but guests may feel a bit sheepish about walking up to someone cold and introducing themselves. Remember what your friends are enthusiastic about and introduce them to people with similar interests. Your friend who just wrote a novel might want to talk to the film buff, and someone with a past history of making doorknobs will find something to talk about with the art framing enthusiast. Participation based pursuits like DIY pizza, games (Cards Against Humanity will get everyone rolling over in laughter), and the afore mentioned vinyl records will get guests talking. One last non-negotiable tip...

· Make Sure You Have Lemons and Ice: You simply can't throw a party without them.

Savoir Faire: Hosting A Party (Part II)

Here is New York.