Party on the Fly: How to Throw a Party in Under an Hour

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Party on the Fly: How to Throw a Party in Under an Hour

It’s the holidays, which inevitably means holiday parties. And holiday parties mean people inviting themselves over to your house at the last minute to host them (or in our case, forgetting we invited people over to host them…). But before you stress too much about how to get the wine and clean the house before the doorbell rings, our resident etiquette and party expert, Heather Wiese-Alexander of invitation destination bell’INVITO, has got the 411 on how to make it look like your impromptu party was actually planned. 

“It’s five o’clock on Friday and you are without plans! Suddenly you realize the stars have aligned and a few of your favorite people are free and up for some holiday fun. Impromptu parties are the best! Go ahead. Volunteer to be the host. You can do all these things in under an hour. Plan it! Your place at six for a much needed night of chilling with good people.

Here’s what to do:

  1. Fluff the sofa cushions and spruce up the powder bath—you’ve got company coming!
  2. Pick up a handful of flowers from the market, or better yet, use an app like Caviar or Favor to do the market run while you prep.
  3. Pull out these 3 service pieces —they make your table or bar-top look effortlessly chic:
  4. Enlist help! Assign each friend a specific item to bring. Use the menu below that already takes into account price, food pairings and a range of dietary restrictions without sacrificing a beautiful, delicious spread.
    • Cheese pairings. Good cheese is expensive. Assign just 1 type of cheese and it’s compliment to any one person. Depending on your group size, choose as many or a few from the list below:
      • Young (medium-soft) gouda cheese and apples;
      • Brie and a fig or aprotic jam topping—usually found next to the cheeses at the market;
      • Aged (firm) pecorino and honey;
      • Fresh Mozzarella (looks like a ball of white dough in milky water) and olive oil or balsamic vinegar;
      • Cheddar and salty crackers;
      • Chevre, table water (bland – not salty) crackers and pears; or
      • Manchego and dried apricots.
    • Raw Sliced veggies;
    • Hummus;
    • Sliced Prosciutto or salami (this also could be divided up for two people depending on your crowd);
    • Wine;
    • Beer;
    • Something non-alcoholic (fresh-pressed juice, sparkling water);
    • Orange, lime and/or lemons to use for drinks;
    • Chips, crackers or nuts (I personally love Marcona Almonds. They are usually found near olives at the market.);
    • Toothpicks and cocktail napkins; and
    • Disposable plates and cups. (I always specify clear plastic or something recycled if asked what I prefer.)
  5. Pop-in the playlist! Here are my two holiday playlists, Cozy Christmas and Holiday Party,  on Spotify if you don’t have one already made. I like an easy-going vibe that serves as background and is easy to talk over. You can download the Spotify app easily here if you don’t already have it.
  6. Mirror check! You’re beautiful AND you just threw together a killer party. These are the nights we live for! Enjoy every minute. You’re not allowed to stress about one single thing for the rest of the night.

Tips for the extra fabulous: We get it—you like to be truly in control of your spread. You can have the full menu delivered while you primp and light candles. (Who doesn’t love that idea!) Major cities have delivery companies for just such an occasion. I use the heck out of Favor because it isn’t just for take-out delivery, they pick up groceries and other extras. I keep and use both apps on my phone — you can only have one runner at a time with each company.”

— Heather Wiese-Alexander

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Fluff the sofa cushions and spruce up the powder bath—you’ve got company coming!

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