Party Confidential: New Etiquette for Fabulous Entertaining

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9780312382117: Party Confidential: New Etiquette for Fabulous Entertaining
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Planning a party can be fun, but doing it right requires organization and creativity. Social graces have gone through a major transformation since the days of Emily Post, so it's time for a book that brings you up to date on modern decorum. Along with advice from celebrities and experts in the field, Party Confidential: New Etiquette for Fabulous Entertaining answers the questions people want--and need--to know about everything related to a party, from planning to attending.  It addresses topics that are not covered in traditional etiquette books and takes a new approach to covering the basics. You'll learn all the essentials, like how to: * Invite someone last-minute* Handle unexpected guests* Accomodate dietary requests like vegan or kosher* Leave a party early* Ask if you can bring a guest* Respond to an RSVP--and when* And much, much more.This is the only book you need to be a consummate host, as well as a perfect guest, at every party.

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About the Author:

Elizabeth Harrison and Lara Shriftman are the principals at the public relations, special events and marketing firm Harrison & Shriftman, with offices in New York, Los Angeles and Miami. The special events division of their company has produced many highly publicized events, including hotel, restaurant and store openings, product launches, nmovie premieres and charity events.  Lara spends most of her time in Los Angeles and Elizabeth lives in New York City. Together, they co-authored Fete Accompli!: The Ultimate Guide to Creative Entertaining and have been touted as experts in entertaining by Glamour, Elle, Vanity Fair, The New York TImes, "Extra," "E!," and :The Today Show."

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Party Confidential
onePARTY PLANNING 101so, you wanna throw a party? here's howIMAGINE THIS A gorgeous garden, twinkling with candlelight, and beautiful flowers blooming. Servers in white dresses circulate with trays of Champagne and delicious tidbits--like a sinfully delicious puff pastry stuffed with a smidge of cheese and charcuterie. Couples congregate on plush white sofas and sip cocktails by the bar while discussing the latest Britney Spears brouhaha and, wait, where did you get that dress? I must have it! As the evening charges on the tunes heat up and couples bounce onto the dance floor. Now that's a party. 
SOUNDS AMAZING, RIGHT? Trust us, it is. Unfortunately, the mere thought of putting together even a cocktail party for the neighbors can put some hosts into a cold sweat. Relax, take a deep breath, and listen up. Throwing a bash is simple, easy, and most of all, fun, yes, fun! To illustrate the point, we've distilled the finer points of party planning into ten easy steps.TEN NO-FAIL STEPS TO A FAB FÊTE1. WHAT'S THE SCOOP? There are thousands of reasons to throw a party: a birthday, half-birthday, anniversary (wedding, one year since you quit smoking or kicked the coffee habit, lost twenty-five pounds, and so on), holiday (Halloween, Christmas, New Year's, Valentine's Day, Saint Patrick's Day, Memorial Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Jewish New Year ... there's even Columbus Day!), the summer solstice, winter solstice, upcoming wedding (engagement, bachelorette,bridal shower), award-show viewing of any kind (Oscars, Emmys, Golden Globes, People's Choice, VH-1 Fashion Rocks, MTV VMAs, and more), a new job ... any momentous occasion worth saying woo-hoo!2. CONCEPT Pick a theme, whether it's a color or a full-on dress-up extravaganza, and go with it. Some of our favorites include: Leather and Lace, Golf Pros and Tennis Hos, Denim and Diamonds, CEOs and Secretary Hos, 70s, 80s, 90s, Dress as Your Favorite Celebrity, Barbie and Ken, Old Hollywood, RollerSkating à la Boogie Nights, Beach Party, Vegas Casino Night ... anything goes!3. ORGANIZATION PLUS We can't emphasize this aspect more: the key to throwing any successful event is to be organized. Keep track of every single detail and we promise, your head won't implode! Create a master list that details each and every component, from the guest list to the vendors to the flowers.4. THE GUEST LIST Before you can get the word out about your fabulous, not-to-be-missed event of the millennium, you have to decide who and how many to invite. Is this a small, intimate gathering? A big blowout? Do you need a host committee? If you have a guest of honor, be sure to discuss who they want in attendance. Mix it up; invite new acquaintances and old faves so guests extend their social network. And don't forget to overinvite! Out of every ten guests, plan on two no-shows. And always, always confirm guests. Not only does confirmation serve as a reminder to them, but ensures their attendance!5. MONEY TALKS Okay, you know why you're partying and who you're inviting. Now you need to figure out how much you can afford to spend. Again, organization is important. Put together a dream list of everything you'll need to pull this baby off and then estimate how much it will cost, then add 10 percent. Also, when constructing your budget decide what is the most important aspect--is it invites or Cristal?6. SPOT ON Location is everything! It could be your living room, backyard, the local park, the hottest new club in town, a swanky hotel suite, or a classic restaurant, like Mr. Chow, Dan Tana's, Hamburger Hamlet, or Cipriani's. Take into consideration how much space you'll need to accommodate the guest list and what your budget can handle. Be creative when choosing a location; think of a place where your guests will be delighted to spend the night.7. NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH If you decide to throw your bash at home, there are some basic steps you won't want to forget. Namely, notifying the neighbors! The rebuffed girl-next-door could bring an end to your night, so let them know of your plans well in advance. Better yet, invite them over so they're a part of the merriment or send a fabulous gift beforehand to butter them up.8. THE A-TEAM Make sure your staff knows what is expected of them. This includes hired staff (catering, valet, servers, cleaning, and more) as well as the staff at a location such as a restaurant or nightclub. If you're doing it at home, hiring help is still a must, even when you're strapped for cash (your nephew would kill for an extra fifty bucks, wouldn't he?).9. GOOD VIBES You don't have to be a professional party planner to create a cool, interesting space. Think about your theme and what you can do to make it come to life. Consider the décor, lighting, music, and any extra-special touch that will make your gala the greatest ever.10. LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL Most important, make sure that you are enjoying yourself, because if you're not, you can be certain your guests aren't having any fun, either!take noteAlways use unscented candles at dinner parties; an overpowering scent can compete with the luscious smells coming from the prepared meal. Plus, you never know when a particular scent will turn a guest's stomach. At cocktail parties or any other kind of event, feel free to pick scented candles, but pick one single light fragrance and stick with it. Don't mix green tea candles with vanilla spice; separate they are lovely--but combined? Not so much!WHAT MAKES A GOOD PARTY?Ever wondered the secret of the best party in town? It certainly depends on the type of party you are throwing and who you are inviting. Take a tip from our hunky Hollywood men about town, Harry Morton and Hugh Jackman. 
"Numero Uno. Hot girls. You can absolutely never have too many. Rule #2: Copious amounts of alcohol. You need to loosen everyone up. Rule #3: Amazing music. And last, top it off with flattering lighting. It can make a six look like a nine."Harry Morton 
"Having shots served to the guests at the door as they arrive."Hugh Jackman 
"People, music, food, and locale. All of the above should be great with preparation. The operative word is 'best.' The best of people, music, food, and locale."Michael Michele 
Take a tip from one of Hollywood's greatest hostesses, Dani Janssen, and make a sure statement about what you expect from your guests. This doyenne of Oscar night throws an annual after-party that is the most coveted invite in town. She crafts (and cooks!) a late-night dinner for Hollywood royalty like Jack Nicholson, Clint Eastwood, and Billy Bob Thornton. The day of her party she never answers the phone, which is her way of sending the no-cancellation message. In fact, to cancel, or worse yet, be a no-show, on this once-a-year event means you may be deleted from the list. 
So how did Dani cultivate this implicit set of rules? It's simple--she creates a sensational evening and is tactfully honest about what she expects from her guests. Remember, it's your party, so you call the shots!MUST DINNER PARTY INVITES BE RECIPROCATED?As party planners, Lara and Elizabeth encounter this issue more times than they can count. They throw and attend countless parties, both business and personal. As a rule, you shouldn't expect a return invite unless you are going out of the way for a particular guest, perhaps by accommodating extra guests or something along those lines. If you're in a position to reciprocate an invite, consider the type of event you are planning. Is it big? small? intimate? Will the invitee mix with the guests you've already invited? If not, then wait for an appropriate occasion or take them out to lunch or dinner. Also, be aware of guests who invite you to an event because they want to attend your once-a-year Halloween Bash. If you don't want to feel beholden, then don't attend their party. 
Bottom line, more important than responding with a return invite is responding with politeness; a handwritten thank-you card will do.TEATIMEAfternoon tea is perfect for bridal and baby showers, birthday parties, Mother's Day, or whenever you're looking for an alternative to the cocktail party. This British custom dates back to the early 1800s, but the tradition gained popularity during Queen Victoria's reign and by the mid-nineteenth century, taking tea in the afternoon hadbecome an established practice, with a complex set of rules and etiquette. 
Needless to say, planning or attending an afternoon tea can be daunting, so to straighten out the confusion that often accompanies tea, we went straight to the authority, Christian Gradnitzer, executive chef at Jumeirah Essex House. This New York institution features homemade breads, scones, pastries, and sorbet alongside an assortment of loose-leaf black, green, herbal, and fruit teas. Tradition states that the proper way to take tea is to select from an assortment of finger sandwiches, followed by scones with jam and Devonshire clotted cream, and end with a selection of sweets. That being said, there are a slew of dos and don'ts when teatime rolls around. Gradnitzer lays down the law for the proper way of serving and taking tea.for the guest"Never hold your teacup with your pinkie finger extended. This is considered rude in most social settings. Place your index finger into the handle of the cup up to the knuckle while placing your thumb on the top of the handle to secure the cup. The bottom of the handle should then rest on your third finger. The fourth and fifth fingers should curve toward your wrist. 
"Do not clink your spoon against the cup while stirring your tea. Swish the spoon gently back and forth without touching the sides of the cup. When done, remove the spoon and place it on the saucer behind the teacup. Remember not to drink your tea without removing the spoon from the cup and don't sip from the spoon. 
"Do not lift the saucer, only the teacup. When you take a sip of tea do not look around at the other guests, but lower your eyes so you can see what you're doing and not spill your tea down the front of your blouse or dress. 
"The correct manner in which one eats a scone is the same manner in which one eats a dinner roll. Simply break off a bite-size piece, place it on your plate, and then apply, with your bread and butter knife, the jam and cream. 
"Be sure to take small bites, since attending a tea is a social occasion and you will want to participate in the conversation without always having a full mouth. Chew and swallow completely before taking a drink of tea, since it is hot and is not meant to wash the food down."for the host"Afternoon tea food placement for a three-tier stand: top tier for the scones; middle tier for the sandwiches; bottom tier, sweets. The protocol of placing the scones on the top tier is due to the fact that during the 1800s, when the genre of afternoon tea first became popular and modern kitchen conveniences did not exist, a warming dome was placed over the scones. The dome would only fit on the top tier. The savories and tea sandwiches, followed by the sweets, were placed on the middle and bottom tiers respectively. 
"Offer a wide selection of teas to satisfy everyone's taste: black, white, green, oolong, or blended teas. Present the available teas in a beautiful wooden display box; guests can open the glass bottle to smell the aroma of the tea before selecting one. 
"Change the afternoon tea 'theme' according to the season. For example, Jumeirah Essex House serves a refreshing lemon-themed afternoon tea during the hot summer months while during the colder months a holiday-themed gingerbread afternoon tea is served. 
"Serve with appropriate afternoon tea china. The teapot is designed with a lower rounded body to ensure the tea leaves have the proper room for expansion during the infusion process. The lower placement of the spout on the vessel allows for the tea to be poured without interfering with the leaves. A teacup is shallow and wider than a coffee cup, giving the beverage a chance to temper before drinking. 
"Using loose leaf teas allows greater flexibility, letting the guest brew weaker or stronger tea as desired. A strainer is used to avoid having to drink the floating loose leaves."TIPS FIT FOR A BUNNY BY MARY O'CONNORWhen it comes to parties and acting proper, there's one woman who's seen it all--and by all, we mean everything. Mary O'Connor, with the help of her team, has been running the ultimate Playboy's world from her position as Hugh Hefner's secretary/executive assistant for thirty-five years. O'Connor is the gatekeeper to the Playboy Mansion, home of the most-sought-after parties in all of Hollywood. 
So no matter what kind of party you are planning, O'Connor has the insight to help you keep your playboys and girls feeling frisky! 
 
how do you plan the guest list? 
"Over the years we have built a list of five to six thousand people. That actually may be a low number. But we send out about twelve hundred invites." 
 
how do you handle requests for invitations? 
"They all fall into different categories. Young girls who've never attended a party are asked to submit a picture and a driver's license. We don't need underaged people drinking at the parties. You can look really hot when you're sixteen. That's one thing. Then the floods of pictures start coming. Agents, publicists, get wind and they all start calling." 
 
what if a guy wants to come? 
"It's much tougher for guys. It can't be an ordinary guy. It can't be a pharmacist or a doctor. He has to be some sort of celebrity. If he wants to bring a friend, it depends on the person. And people's status changes--it can go up or down. It is every guy's fantasy to go to a party at the Playboy Mansion." 
 
what do you do when a guest brings an extra person? 
"It depends. We've turned down celebs who have tried to sneak in extra guests in their car or even in their trunk. We've turned them away because if we don't stand our ground, we've lost." 
 
how do you deal with bad behavior? 
"Generally those people are escorted off the property. And how this is handled is important." 
 
what about people who were out of line at a party and then want to be invited again? 
"There is a fine line between getting into an argument, or saying 'We changed the list around, so it's not the same people. We want to give others a chance to come.' We try to finesse it that way." 
 
what are your best party tips? 
"Ambiance has a lot to do with it, as does the mix of a number of people. We like to serve grazing-type food, so people can eat while they drink." 
 

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Book Description St Martin's Press. Hardback. Condition: new. BRAND NEW, Party Confidential: New Etiquette for Fabulous Entertaining, Lara Shriftman, Elizabeth Harrison, Planning a party can be fun, but doing it right requires organisation and creativity. Social graces have gone through a major transformation since the days of "Emily Post", so it's time for a book that brings you up-to-date on modern decorum. Along with advice from celebrities and experts in the field, "Party Confidential" answers the questions people want - and need - to know about everything related to a party, from planning to attending. It addresses topics that are not covered in traditional etiquette books and takes a new approach to covering the basics. You'll learn all the essentials, including how to: invite someone last minute; handle unexpected guests; accommodate dietary requests like vegan or kosher; leave a party early; respond to an RSVP - and when; and much, much more. This is the only book you need to be a consummate host, as well as a perfect guest, at every party. Seller Inventory # B9780312382117

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