HOW TO PLAN THE PERFECT HOUSE PARTY
From warm christening ceremonies to grand weddings, from quirky house warmings to cosy baby showers, we are always looking to make our celebrations special. Whatever be the occasion, throwing a house party is the ideal way to unwind with your favourite people. “You can take liberties with the space by personalis- ing it to your mood. Plus there are no nagging thoughts of a curfew,” says Arthi Aniruda, model, and daughterin-law of cricketer Krish Srikkanth.
CENTRE STAGE—THE BEST THEMES
Arthi and husband Aniruda host some of the finest parties in town and her last birthday party tops the list. “My husband had planned a party with a movie theme and it was amazing how it turned out. He dressed up as Captain Haddock and we had people show up as Cat Woman, Tintin and even the Joker ‘nurse’! It’s most fun when it’s unpredictable,” she says.
Parties are the best places to break out of your shell. Don’t wait for those tequila shots to do the work; let your imagination loose and jot down the things that will make your bash the wackiest from the word go. Lakshmi Krishnaswamy, owner of the Lux 214 fashion store, decided to make her WE MAY LOOK WEST WARD FOR MANY THINGS, BUTWE DON’T NEED ANYBODY TELLING US HOW TO PARTY. AND WHAT BETTER PLACE TO SHOWCASE OUR INHERENT HIGH SPIRITS THAN OUR HOMES? AS 2013 WRAPS UP, SIMPLY CHENNAI TELLS YOU HOWTO PLAN THE PERFECT HOUSE PARTY.
WHEN YOU ARE PLANNING A CONCEPT PARTY, GO AHEAD AND BE BOLD. ONE WAY TO MAKE YOUR PARTY A SURE ENTERTAINER IS TO SYNC THE DÉCOR AND DINNERWARE TO A SINGULAR THEME.
daughter’s 16th birthday bash an occasion for herself and her friends to revisit their teenage years. “We decided to dress up as 16-year-olds. Some of my friends, who had gone to the same school as my daughter’s, even showed up wearing their old uniforms,” recalls Krishnaswamy.
When you are planning a concept party, go ahead and be bold, as there are plenty of unique options to explore to your liking. One way to make your party a sure entertainer is to sync aspects like décor and dinnerware to a singular theme. The best way to do this is to pick up plenty of disposables, and mix and match them to your preference. This means extra effort, but it will make your party very personal. “Chennai is now home to a number of expats and they love theme parties. In order to keep the cultural experience authentic, most of our merchandise is sourced from abroad. Be it Halloween or the Disney princess theme, we have the right accessories,” says Mignonne of Party Hunterz. “Chennaiites are drawn to larger-than-life themes of casinos and Bollywood,” she adds.
Staying true to a theme is important when you are celebrating a festival. Lakshmi Krishnaswamy, who shares her birthday with her husband and her daughter in the month of November, throws three parties every year—two for the birthdays and one for Diwali. For Diwali celebrations, she handpicks the best lights in town to aesthetically illuminate her place and insists on a traditional dress code— veshtis, angavasthrams, kur
tas and beautiful, ornate saris. Designer Sidney Sladen’s annual Christmas party is always the talk of the town. Priya Manikandan, costume designer, is one of the many who look forward to it. “Sidney Sladen’s Christmas party sees at least 75 to 100 people every year. He decks up the whole house himself and has a six-foot tall, beautifully decorated tree. The food is brilliant, especially his mashed potatoes. It is popular among all his friends,” she says.
Sidney owes his success to his meticulous party planning. “I start preparing for the party at least ten days in advance—from decorations to the DJ and also deciding the menu. I love cooking, so I make at least 12 out of 15 dishes for the party myself. I am also very particular that I never ever run out of liquor,” he says.
A familiar crowd is a happy crowd. While parties are inherently great places to break the ice, a good host always goes that extra mile in making his/her guests feel at home. One way to do this is to plan some fun, interactive games that get better with the flowing fuel and music. “I make sure I invite people who know and get along well with each other. No one should feel left out. And alcohol must last at least 12 hours,” says Krishnaswamy.
But it is also healthy to break away from planning and just have a good time, feels Prabhulakshman ‘Buddy’, an educationist and a regular host, who prefers to keep his evenings flexible and spontaneous. “I don’t do too much planning; I just ensure that the fundamentals like ambience, food and alcohol are right. For me, it is all about everyone, including myself, having a good time,” he says.
CONTACT Confetti Event Planners, Shop 7, Mookambika Complex, Lady Desika Road, Mylapore TEL 9884188379
MIX‘ N’ MATCH—CREATIVE PROPS
Personalising your soirée has never been simpler with specialised party stores and services cropping up in the city. Name the concept and you’ll find it in the form of funky paper art, pompoms, balloon bouquets, masks and even cutlery. Gone are the days when parties were just about music and alcohol. Today, seasoned hosts want to be innovative in making their parties the talk of the town. “A new fad is the concept of five-minute photographs. Guests can get their pictures taken as soon as they enter the party and get a copy in five minutes. With Facebook, and Whatsapp being the main portals of spreading any news, this works wonderfully,” says Krishnaswamy.
Even party invitations are getting quirkier. From diaper-shaped GONE ARE THE DAYS WHEN PARTIES WERE JUST ABOUT MUSIC & ALCOHOL. TODAY, SEASONED HOSTS WANT TO BE INNOVATIVE IN MAKING THEIR PARTIES THE TALK OF THE TOWN. cupcakes sent for baby showers to old photo collages for 60th birthday celebrations, there is no limiting the ideas. But more important are party supplies and props. From fantasy lands, to monsters from the graveyard shift, there is a prop for every incredible story. But the easiest mood you can create is the flirty retro with colourful Afro wigs, oversized frames, straw mustaches, bling caps and Elvis suits. Halloween is another occasion to pick up the craziest outfits at the costume rentals in Vadapalani and accessorise them with spider webs, witch hats, fake nails, crème make-up, face masks and pumpkins.
TIP “Balloon bouquets are the latest rage. We have a range of Qualatex balloons in different shapes and sizes. Helium balloons make for colourful bouquets.” – Mignonne, Party Hunterz
CONTACT Party Hunterz, Ispahani Centre, Nungambakkam High Road, Nungambakkam TEL 66759609
MEAL TICKET—BEST PARTY FOOD
Feisty Asia, sunny Mexico or romantic Italy—whatever is on your current wish list, make your party an excuse to bring it on the plate. Pick a country
that inspires you and you can recreate its flavours in the form of mouthwatering short-eats and appetisers. Charlie Singh, ex-DJ and owner of Spoonbill, a restaurant that serves world street food, caters international classics for house parties. “There is a lot of creativity and awareness among people today and expanding their demand is their exposure to world cultures and a web full of ideas. We have observed a high demand for German and Arabic cuisines—curry wursts, döner kebabs and falafels,” he says.
Party knick-knacks are best when they are light, diverse and innovative. Mediterranean hot and cold mezzes are a great start to an evening and Stid Drageide, Executive Chef, Park Hyatt, recommends little but delicious portions of tabouleh, baba ganoush, stuffed phyllo, zuchini fritters, labneh, hummus and pita. Grilled foods are excellent for lazy barbeque evenings. Choose from a wide variety, including grilled satays with potatoes, corn, tofu, minced seafood, prawns and chicken, grilled salads, romaine lettuce, Caprese and fruit salad.
“An interesting variation is the colour-themed cocktail party—match the cocktail colours with tindli (baby cucumber) and almonds for a green and white combination; tuna with pineapple for a yellow and red combination and two coloured macaroons for a black and white combination. It’s really about how creative you can get,” says chef Stid. It is important to prep dishes that would go well with the mild sips of wine and whiskies at the beginning of a party.
TIP “Try to make your own starter. Put canopies on crackers or white bread,
PARTY KNICK-KNACKS SHOUD BE LIGHT, DIVERSE AND INNOVATIVE. MEDITERRANEAN HOT AND COLD MEZZES ARE A GREAT WAY TO START AN EVENING.
make it colourful by topping it up with an egg slice, mayonnaise and ketchup. Seasoned pineapple cubes on a toothpick are also favourites.” – Charlie Singh, owner, Spoonbill
CONTACT Spoonbill, 239, TTK Road, Parthasarathypuram, Teynampet TEL 42064442
CONTACT The Flying Elephant, Park Hyatt, 39 Velachery Road TEL 71771234
GOOD TIMES PLAYLIST—BEST MUSIC
Music is the life of a party. Bring in an interesting twist to the karaoke and organise your own private jamming sessions. They are splendid to liven up a get-together and involve your guests on a platform, giving them a chance to bond. Ask the guitarists in your group to polish their notes and take turns to sing as they strum to your all-time favourite numbers. You can also make the party livelier by choosing different music genres for each hour, saving the craziest for the last.
DJ Vijay Chawla, who is a favourite in the house party circuit, has his style
well-planned out. “House parties are laid-back and candid. I usually start with retro and RnB that’s easy on the ears and go on to play some foot-thumping dance numbers,” he says. Vijay says house parties are the best places to listen to and enjoy newer forms of music. He insists his clients allow the DJ to try out newer tunes at least for a part of the evening. “In a nightclub, people are forced to listen to what is being played. Of course, playing the chart hits always makes guests happy. But as a DJ, it is also my job to introduce my clients to newer styles of music,” he says.
TIP “Keep your favourite house and progressive house numbers for the
THE NEXT TIME YOU FEEL LIKE PARTYING, LEAVE BEHIND EXCESS PLANNING, SLIP INTO COMFY PYJAMAS AND JUMBO T-SHIRTS, AND BRING OUT YOUR OLD BOARD GAMES.
last. This genre sets the mood late into the party, when people have danced, eaten and like to sit back and have a good time.”—DJ Vijay Chawla CONTACT firstname.lastname@example.org
ONE FOR THE SPORT—BEST GAMES
Tired of standing by the bar, applying that make-up and getting wasted, night after night? The next time you feel like partying, break away from all the excess planning, slip into comfy pyjamas and jumbo t-shirts, bring out your old game boxes and keep your shot glasses ready for a nightlong of craziness. Game nights are incredibly fun, creative and high on energy.
Drinking games like Questions (where you start a dialogue with a question and maintain it with more questions, and the ones asking the most rhetoric questions or breaking the flow will have to have a drink) and Beer Pong (like Ping Pong—only aimed at hitting the ball into your opponent’s beer mug), are perfect to beat workweek blues. For something more indoor and laid-back, throw in some board games like Carcassonne (where the game board is a medieval landscape built by the players as the game progresses) and Kill Doctor Lucky (where the game board is a floor plan of Doctor Lucky's mansion, and is accompanied by a deck of cards representing the objects and opportunities that can be found there to kill him), and you will stay up all night in the spirit of the sport.
Game nights are also the perfect places to revisit your old school time games. “Only, with all that booze, they become more mind-blowing,” says 27-year-old Shilpa Krishnan, content manager at a reading programme. Shilpa’s game parties are known for their big head counts, creative twists, informative trivia and ice-breaking. She also uses technology to aid her with the best options. “We frequently have charade nights; the Heads-up Charade is a popular party app on Android and gives us some amazing varieties. Every time the player gets the name in the charade right, he gets to drink down his victory,” she says.
TIP “If you want to notch up the fun, bring out your forgotten school time games like Tangled, Dog and The Bone and Doctor Doctor from the grave and on to your terrace. Once you’ve had a few drinks, you’ll loosen up and have a blast.”—Shilpa Krishnan, content manager and a house party host.
CONTACT Hamleys, Express Avenue Mall, Plot No.213, Whites Road, Royapettah TEL 28464656
A.R. SUMANTH KUMAR; Party Props by