My friends and I are just as broke as our fellow college students, but we enjoy trying to get “classy” once in a while. We’ve been trying to put together events every month or so that encourage us to get out of our apartments and dorms without ending up at some raging college party. Next month, we’re going to have a house party at last, but we aren’t trading in our jackets and dresses for solo cups and kegs just yet–the idea is to have a classy “cocktails and dessert party.” Nobody really knows what this means, so–naturally–it somehow fell to me to host it. I have no idea what hosts are supposed to do in a “classy” adult setting. Help!
Don’t worry! Hosting a party is fun, and it doesn’t have to be stressful. You have a few responsibilities, and you’ll want to think up a few clever ideas for decorations and fare, but fear not–the experts are here to help.
Your hosting obligations start before the party does. Make sure your friends know when to come–perhaps you can set the classy tone with a nice paper invitation! Be ready for them ahead of time, and set the tone with nice decorations (consider getting valuable and breakables out of the way anyway, though, just in case). Look to design-focused sites like Pinterest for inspiration.
Making desserts is hard work, so hopefully your friends aren’t assuming that your hosting duties include baking. This party idea seems to have been the product of a committee, so it wouldn’t be presumptuous of you to try to find out what others are planning on bringing–and to gently suggest that, without some contributions, this party will be largely dessert-less. What you can contribute is presentation. A nice table and tablecloth with plenty of space for the desserts is a good start. A rotating cake turntable is a nice way to display great baking. Matching plates and flatware are a good thing to have on hand, too (you can go with paper and plastic, but please recycle!).
As for the drinks, be wary about the “cocktail” aspect of your party: if anyone is underage, you could be criminally charged, and there’s nothing “classy” about that. You also need to make arrangements to ensure that anyone who is partaking of the alcohol will be getting home safely–without driving. Assuming you’re obeying the law and being safe, a moderate amount of basic alcohols should be all you need in terms of booze: for the cocktails, just provide mixers, bitters, sugar, and a few fruits with peelers for garnish. Some glasses, stirring spoons, and standard-sized glasses and measuring containers will be sufficient for many cocktails, but a cocktail shaker and other basic mixing tools might be an impressive addition, if they’re within your budget. Read cocktail party checklists to see that you have the basics.
Your party is classy, but it’s also a “theme party”–in other words, you aren’t expecting the Queen of England to come, and part of the fun will be imagining that things are more high-end than they really might need to be. So, by all means, take your cues from etiquette books and fancy magazines–but don’t stress about violating secret high society rules. Parties are supposed to be fun, and besides, if there’s anything you don’t know about “classy parties,” the odds are that your friends don’t, either!
“Nobody’s ever asked me to a party before, as a friend. Is that why you dyed your eyebrow, for the party? Should I do mine too?” — J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince