From decor to ambience and music, follow these insider tips to give your guests an evening to remember
It’s always lovely to gather family and friends to celebrate special occasions together, but while hosting is fun, it can also be stressful. no stranger to throwing huge, lavish parties is Iroshini Chua, medical Director of Drs Chua and Partners, and designer of her own bespoke jewellery line. The veteran host, who recently celebrated her 40th birthday in Sri Lanka, her home country, shares, “Due to cultural influence, hosting is my second nature, and it has become my passion to cook [for my guests].”
Here, Iroshini shares her top 10 tips to help you throw a fabulous, stylish party:
1. It’s All About The Guests
“Born and brought up in Sri Lanka, I was groomed (as are many young girls there) by my parents to be a gracious host,” Iroshini says. Her golden rule as a host is to keep the focus on the guests and celebrate them. on her recent 40th birthday party in Sri Lanka, she says, “this party was in fact a celebration of the blessings in my life – my family and friends”.
2. Plan Ahead
Last-minute planning is a big no-no because you might miss out on vital details. “So make sure to send out the save-the-dates, confirm the venue and book the photographer (if needed) early,” Iroshini says, “and the rest of the details can be ironed out around them.”
3. Decide On A Theme
“Everything from stationery (invites, menu cards, place settings), decor and ambience, to food and entertainment should be tied together with a theme,” she says. It doesn’t have to be complicated. For example, her Sri Lanka birthday party had a black, silver, white and Tiffany blue colour theme complemented with a floral theme featuring roses and white hydrangeas.
4. Send Out Well-Designed Invites
“First impressions are important. The party invite is your first point of contact with the guests so make it count,” Iroshini advises. “For big parties that involve people travelling in from different countries, paperless post is a helpful way of keeping track of rSvPs. Invites can be handwritten cards designed in line with the theme.”
5. Focus On The Menu
Quality and quantity is essential when it comes to food at a party, so never scrimp on either. “I never eschew on the quality of ingredients,” Iroshini says, “So do order special ingredients in advance to ensure the availability of fresh produce.” She continues, “I always try to keep the menu interesting by picking up ingredients from different countries during my travels. With so many flavours to tap into from around the world, every menu is exciting to plan!” Also bear in mind your guests’ dietary restrictions and food allergies as a sign of respect.
6. Set The Tone With Decor
If you’re throwing a large party, Iroshini believes a sizable portion of your budget should be set aside for lightings to make a grand impact, as well as impressive table settings that showcase a floral centrepiece. She recommends scented candles, dimmer lighting, bone china and crystalware grounded with a floral centrepiece. Iroshini adds, “Flowers help soften the look, create a calming and welcoming atmosphere, and make everything look prettier.”
7. Decide On Entertainment
Planning a small icebreaker or two is an excellent way to get everyone involved. “make sure you prepare music,” Iroshini says, “and having a photo booth (or photo wall) will also entertain your guests as they can have loads of fun with the props!”
8. Fix A Dress Code
A dress code helps to bring out the theme as well as augment the ambience, Iroshini suggests. For her birthday party, the dress code was “Party Dresses” as it was a celebratory evening and she wanted everyone to be dressed to dance.
9. Small Details Make A Deep Impression
Sending out personalised and formal dinner invitations, printing your guests’ names on place cards and providing a door gift of baked goodies are just some ways to make your guests feel special, Iroshini says. “A ‘thank you’ note could also be given as a token of appreciation for their presence,” she suggests.
10. Relax Before The Party
Planning can really take the wind out of you, so try to take some downtime just before the big day to relax. It’s important that you don’t get too caught up in the preparation and burn out during the party! Iroshini says, “I love checking into a spa for some treatments beforehand to achieve calmness, composure and relaxation.”