Ottawa
2 min

Make it an autumn party

Don't slow down your entertainment schedule

Heading into the autumn of our discontent, er, rather, into our fall season, we too often pull down the patio lights and prepare for a long winter of hibernation. But wait! It doesn’t have to be that way. Summer is over, but who says the party has to be?

We have fabulous events coming up: Harvest Festival on Preston St in Little Italy from Sep14 to Sep 18; Black And Blue in Montreal from Oct 5 to Oct 11; and Gay Christmas, also known as Hallowe’en, just weeks away. Some of the year’s best weather is on its way – giving us not-too-hot days and cool evenings perfect for entertaining. Why not throw a colourful party for the most colourful months of the calendar?

Start planning your event at least four weeks in advance. Remember to let guests know both when to arrive and when the party is over.

Next, think theme. How about asking everyone to come dressed as their favourite leaf (check out Remic’s Rapids for a good selection of trees). Maybe a pre-Black & Blue party on an SM theme? You could throw a pre-White Party but make sure you serve low-carb foods so your friends will look great when they hit South Beach. A theme always gets your guests more interested and excited and allows for a great build-up to your event. It also provides a ready-made ice-breaker for guests who may not know one another. From the simplest dinner party or housewarming to the grandest of weddings, themes have proved themselves. It takes the guesswork out of such things as decorations, invitations, flowers, food and beverages. It could also tie into the kind of music you’re playing and whether or not you need a DJ.

Have a budget in mind when you start your planning. Be realistic as to what you can afford; this will enable you to determine the size of party you can have and how to allocate your money.

Remember to keep your guest list to the size of the venue. There is nothing worse than a crowded event full of hot, sweaty bodies – but for the right theme, there could be nothing better than having a crowded event full of hot, sweaty bodies.

Always have a back-up plan if the event is to be outdoors.

Decide where food will be prepared and cooked. (Remember there will always be guests who congregate around you in the kitchen while you are cooking, so make sure that you have plenty of space and that they can take care of themselves while you are busy with preparations.) Perhaps it’s best to hire a caterer or a personal services company. Will the event be sit-down or buffet? Do you need to rent tables and chairs?

I highly recommend having people doing the serving and clean-up, so that you can enjoy your efforts and your guests as well. It’s great to go to bed without worrying about a mess in the morning. You do have someone to serve, don’t you sweetie?

Remember, by law you are required to stop someone from driving after drinking. A great way around that would be to have everyone throw their keys into a basket and draw keys at the end of the night to determine who they go home with. Oops, that’s a wife-swapping theme.

A nice touch is to provide your guests with a party gift as they head out the door, something nice to help them remember the occasion. And make them want to come back next time.