Although many experts recommend holding big events at reception halls, hotels or restaurants, there’s nothing like throwing a fantastic party at home—if you’re prepared.
Think Through the Basics
Seating, lighting, space. Is there room for 100 of your nearest and dearest to mingle, talk and laugh? A room, like this one, which was designed by Thom Wesely, has breathing space for groups of people to stand and chat, plus beautiful sofas that can accommodate people who want a place to perch.
Invite People In
Mark and Linda Heister enjoy entertaining so much that they recently upsized from their elegant Gold Coast co-op to their spectacular (and very spacious) home in LaPorte, Ind.
“There’s a large amount of contiguous space, so we can accommodate a lot of people,” Linda explains. “It’s always worked really well, whether we have a dozen people or a hundred.”
The Heister’s grand front foyer (above) leads to a large formal living room to the left, a sparkly, mirrored dining room to the right, and straight ahead to a garden room with views of the pool and expansive backyard. Near the grand, spiral staircase is one of the home’s two permanent wet bars.
“When guests walk in, there are lovely things to see, lovely things to smell and they are immediately offered delicious food and drink,” Linda says.
According to Robyn Brun, who owns Red Letter Event Planning in Chicago, the Heisters have the right idea.
“Having somebody greet guests at the door with a glass of champagne or wine will take the pressure off the bar itself,” Bruns explains. “The rule of thumb is that for every 50 people, there should be a bartender.”
Don’t Go It Alone
Perhaps the most important factor to consider is the amount of work it takes to coordinate a large gathering, and multiple people interviewed for this article pointed out the importance of hiring somebody to manage the numerous details.
“It’s important to have a planner or caterer so that you can be out with your guests,” Bruns says.
The goal, after all, is to create a special environment for guests —no matter what the occasion.
“So few people do it these days that it truly becomes a gift that you give your friends and loved ones,” Heister explains. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s so rewarding when it works out well, and if you plan properly, it’s usually a slam-dunk.”
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