Celebration expert and author Darcy Miller lays down some ground rules.
There are a few hallmark moments that make us feel like accomplished grown-ass adults. Like, say, when we finally upgraded our wine vessels from hand-me-down coffee cups to real Bourdeaux-approved wineglasses. Or that time we learned what it took (not an entire month’s paycheck) to start an art collection. And, well, we wouldn’t be fully functioning adults without perfecting the art of throwing a party, now, would we? Which is why, when we played with Sharpies and glitter in the craft closet with Martha Stewart Weddings editor Darcy Miller a few months back, we made sure to ask her all about what goes into the perfect event. She did write a book about it, after all.
1. Be Organized
“If you give yourself enough time, everything is easier, more fun, and less expensive to plan. Even though you can get almost everything on Amazon Prime! When you are getting cocktail napkins customized—and trust me, I should listen to my own advice—you need time. I’m always emailing for a party, being like, ‘Oh, can you put this on a cocktail napkin? My party is in two days!’ But in a dream, I would say that would be one piece of advice.”
“You have to decide what your priorities are. For some people it’s the band, for others the alcohol, theme, or location. Pick the things where you want to spend your time, and focus on those. What is your favorite color? Book? Flavor? Restaurant? Bar? Location?”
3. Make it Personal
“I’m the resident card maker at the office. I try to create the card the day of the person’s birthday, so I can sketch their outfit onto the card. It doesn’t matter if you can draw or not, the real point is to make something personal and special for the person or group of people you are hosting. If you’re throwing a birthday for someone and let’s say they always wear Ray-Bans, buy a few pairs, or go to Oriental Trading for some [more affordable] sunglasses—when they walk in, everyone will have sunglasses on. It’s those soulful ideas that end up resonating the most.”
4. Good Vibes
“Make people feel included and comfortable—you have to think about the experience at a party for the guests. You don’t want the music to be too loud, you want there to be food, and not just have alcoholic drinks. Just think about your guests, who they are and what their experience would be.”