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The Gentleman’s Cocktail Party

What are you planning for this coming Christmas? Are you having any family over, friends, or clients? The bigger question is: Are you ready to host a cocktail party like a dapper gentleman? Planning an epic cocktail party can be simple, but memorable.

The Dapper Gentleman is well rounded in many areas of men’s skills and we have a lot of experience in this area as well. We want to make your party planning easy this year so we will provide you with the important elements that are needed to help you succeed. The best part is you get to take all the credit for it. When planning your cocktail party this Christmas be sure to focus on relationships, amazing drinks, and delicious food. Finally just a quick word of encouragement…you needed to start planning yesterday.

The Guest List. Compiling a guest list should seem easy today with all the avenues of social media at our fingertips. Too bad it doesn’t work that way. Gentlemen the last thing you want to do is make your guest list from your Facebook page, Twitter, or Instagram account. Creating a cocktail guest list is personal and should be treated as such. First, consider that space that you will have for hosting your holiday party. How many people can you fit? Second, consider how those you invite will interact with one another. Having a bad cocktail is one thing, but having a bad guest list will ruin your party.

The Theme. You will need to decide if you would like to have a “themed” cocktail party or a simple cocktail party. There is no right or wrong avenue to take with this. It really comes down to how comfortable you are as the host. If you choose to have a themed party, don’t get carried away and make things complicated. The theme is not the focus of the holiday party. Keep in mind that relationships, amazing drinks, and fantastic food are the focus for the event.

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Location, Location, Location. As you’re preparing your party make sure you consider the location. If you have the ability to host your cocktail party at your house go for it. At the same time don’t feel shameful for renting a private room at a hotel, restaurant or even at a friend’s house. Keep your options open.

Invitations. Once you have finalized your guest list, whether to have a theme or not, solidify your location, the next step is to create and send out your invitations at least three weeks at minimum. The invitation is very important because it contains the details of your cocktail party. You can hand write them, but a dapper gentleman will have them printed and well thought out. The invitation should include the following: Dress code (Fancy, casual, laid back, or themed), if there is a schedule for the evening, the parking situation, what they should bring (if anything), what they can expect as far as a full meal, light snacks, or appetizers. These are important pieces of information for your guests to know so they can properly prepare.

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Drink-ology. Yes, I made that word up, but track with me for a few minutes. A dapper cocktail party for the holidays means having a well stocked bar. You will need to sit down and create a list of what spirits you will need for the evening of your event. Another thought and suggestion to really consider would be to hire a professional bartender for the evening. Please don’t try to save a few dollars and hire a close friend who took a few online classes from YouTube. Invest in your friends this year and provide them with an experience they’ll remember. The second reason to hire a bartender is it eliminates the pressures of you having to be the host and the bartender. The third reason you need a bartender is because let’s face it, are you really going to deny your drunk best friend one more drink for the evening? Probably not, but your bartender will for the sake of their safety. Finally, end the night by having a few available cocktail recipes that were featured that evening. Some of your guests may enjoy specific cocktails and ask what they are. Provide them with little detailed note cards with cocktail recipes.

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Hors D’oeuvres, Entrees, or Dessert. The first question to ask yourself is: Will I do it all myself, have my guests bring a dish, or have it catered? Of course we have no doubt that you could pull off a full service cocktail party on your own, but that’s not what we’re suggesting. It’s really important to be the host of your own cocktail party and not the chef, host, and bartender. If you want to throw a dapper cocktail party then we suggest having the food catered. Please understand that you don’t have to break your checking account to make this happen. There are plenty of options that are available to do this and most high-end catering companies are willing to work with you. If you live locally and are interested in a very high-end catering company then we suggest you check out Baby Blue Modern Catering.

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Plan the Layout. Where is everything and everyone going to go during the party? When you plan your party be sure to consider where everyone will gather. Ask yourself questions such as: Will the food work well here? Will “this” cause things to back up? Is this a good place to hang coats? There are many questions that can be asked, but really observe the layout of your site and plan ahead so your cocktail party will run smoothly.

Create a Playlist. Be thoughtful about what your guests will enjoy listening to while they are mingling. Even if you’re a huge fan of “death metal” we suggest you forgo that just for this occasion. Remember that the music is not the focus of the evening, but it does create the right atmosphere. Make sure you create a playlist that will last a few hours from beginning to end. This way you won’t create any “dead space” during your party. It also saves you from spending money on a DJ.

Alternate Routes. Since you will be hosting your cocktail party, be a gentleman and make sure your guests leave in a safe manner afterwards. Here are a few ideas to consider: have a laminated sheet in large bold letters with names and numbers of a few local cab companies, arrange for designated drivers, end the evening with coffee, hot chocolate, and lite desserts giving them time to settle and sober up, and finally, offer extra beds or couches.

We hope that these simple steps and ideas have empowered you to consider hosting your very own dapper cocktail party this holiday season. If you have enjoyed these ideas or would like to share some of your own please leave a comment below.

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