Janie is the ultimate hostess. Stories from her parties are legendary around the office. Polaroids are either shared or destroyed – depending on the level of fun & how late that particular party guest left. And Janie absolutely abides by Lilly’s guide to entertaining – fetes should be all parts fun & no parts fussy. While we all wait for an invite to Janie’s next soiree, we can have our own party to remember with her tips!
1. Ummm, duh…tip number one is to wear a JAW-DROPPING DRESS! Lilly usually has about a million to choose from. It simply guarantees that you will have a blast – even if you burn the roast, drop the platter of hors d’oeuvres or spill your champagne cocktail on the dog. The outfit MATTERS. Fun dress = happy hostess = elated guests.
2. Whether indoors or out, everything should be inviting. I love fancy, yummy smelling candles and an enormous bar. For some reason (hmmm, I wonder why) everyone seems to congregate around there. Smarties! Whether a Peach Bellini, a virgin daiquiri or a cherry coke, people want to chit-chat right next to the libations so make it comfortable. And it’s OK to linger.
3. Candles are my best friend. Everyone looks prettier, more handsome, better, whatever…by candlelight. It is our ultimate goal in life to look pretty, right? (Well, among other things like world peace and putting an end to hunger but an array of candles might be a quicker fix) So light up! Lots of candles at different heights. Votives and big Moroccan jars filled with pillar candles. Smelly candles: bamboo and jasmine are my favorite. Candles…everywhere! Just don’t go to bed with out blowing them out!
4. Sit down dinners are special. OF COURSE any party is fun but I adore the intimacy of a sit down dinner. Last week I had 25 over and although that sounds like a lot, it feels festive AND intimate when you are all seated together. Place cards are critical. Sometimes I put little hearts next to peoples names or stars or !!!! if they are super-fun. Making toasts during a seated dinner is a great way to get everyone laughing and focused on FUN. Once I littered the table with joke books and everyone read them aloud…great for all ages.
5. Oh oh, fun entertaining tip…have a CUTE date. Sneaking a kiss during the dinner party makes it SO MUCH MORE FUN! Husband. Brother, adorable new neighbor, boyfriend…everyone gets a match. Although not essential, the mix of boy/girl and different people from different places and backgrounds makes for a lively group. Lilly was famous for her parties in Palm Beach, one reason being that she had everyone from the gardener to the heiress who just flew in from Monte Carlo. Life is a party and EVERYONE is invited. (note to self…I need a gardener and need to make friends with the new heiress that just moved in next door wink wink)
6. Serve Food. Does that count as a tip? Well, you need to give them SOMETHING to eat. I am no Julia Childs but WHO CARES. You can order in Indian and have a buffet of exotic tastes…you can have platters of fried chicken from the grocery store (I do this in the summer and tell everyone it is an old family recipe and they n-e-v-e-r know the diff, shhhhh)…one time I served everyone a take-out container of chicken lo mein and chopsticks. If you are in fact, Julia Childs…go nuts and invite me please.
7. An eclectic table makes me happy. There is ABSOLUTELY NO REASON (ever ever ever) to be perfect. So striped and floral napkins, mixed plate patterns, flowers in various shaped vases…more is awesome, different is better and when nothing goes together somehow…it does!
8. MUSIC and DANCING are…expected. BYOM- bring your own music! Have guests make mixes…my friend Lindsey is famous for her late-night dance mix. If we win the lottery we should all have a DJ that follows us around so we have ‘walking music’ and our own ‘theme song’ but until then…we’ll stick with Apple. After dinner the music should get louder. That hints to guests…time to either GO HOME or GET DANCING.
9. Let’s get back to the bar, shall we? MAKE IT A SPECIAL BAR…like a martini bar! There can be different kinds of martinis with instructions and a ‘make your own’ vibe. Appletinis and Chocolate martinis and…oh oh…Cosmos. It always adds color and fun to the conversation!
10. An easy crowd pleaser…I always have a tray of hangover helpers by the door for people when they leave: aspirin, Alka-Seltzer, M&Ms, breath mints, vitamins. It says…I love you enough to make sure you feel as fabulous tomorrow as you do right now.
11. Was this supposed to be 10 tips??… I can’t help it I want 11 because this is the most important one! SMILE. Let nothing stress you out. Hug everyone tons. Kisses are encouraged. Let them know you are thrilled they came. Friends and family are a girl’s best friend and making a guest feel welcome is the most important tip of all.