Thursday, December 13, 2012


Flowers and Champagne: A Party Chat With Party-Thrower Julia Lake

Edith Zimmerman: Julia! You're a professional party planner based in New York, and I happen to have profited from your expertise just last weekend. It was incredible — there were silver punch cups (!) and popcorn in sconces (!?) on the wall, and a trillion gorgeous appetizers, and drinks, and lovely lighting, and everyone looked so nice, and it came together so beautifully, and a wonderful time seemed to be had by all. Very impressive ... you jerk. Haha, no, I want to be at parties with you for the rest of time.

Julia Lake: Oh my! Thank you! I tried really hard. Also, one of my secrets is telling everyone how to dress.

Okay, teach me how to party: If I wanted to invite a few people over for a low-key thing, say, four days from now, is it too late to send invites? Is everything ruined before I even had a chance to properly ruin it?

A low key thing with a few friends? Don’t overthink it. If it’s supposed to be more than that, ask yourself if you can turn your "vision" into a reality in a few days. If sorta yes, go for it. At a minimum, send a clever invite (easy with Paperless Post), tidy up the place, buy flowers, a couple bottles of bubbly, crudité, mixed nuts, maybe some fancy cookies, and throw a handmade sign on your front door to set the tone.

If you're worried people will be too busy and you don’t give the standard 2-3 week warning, start your party early, say 5 p.m., so you'll likely get people popping by on their way somewhere else. Then ditch your party and crash wherever they're going. 

Tiny apartment (i.e. studio) entertaining — thoughts/tricks/max number of invitees?

If you're doubting yourself or your space, direct your attention to the party scene in Breakfast at Tiffany's where Holly Golightly throws a big party in a small space. There's wine stashed in the shower and champagne under the bed — true signs of an epic party.

Spend a day or at least a couple hours decluttering/'primping' your home so all the rooms (or corners) look their best. Stick extra chairs in a closet so there's more standing room, and clear surface spaces so you have space for refreshments — and so guests can roam around discovering hidden gems, i.e. bowls of candy on your bedroom dresser, or nuts on a bookshelf beside your family photos. I stuffed caramel popcorn into an antique mail bin hanging on my wall because I ran out of table space. Try to designate a bar area somewhere. Just get creative with where you stick goodies; it’s always fun for guests to find surprises in different corners of the room.

As for invites, if you think you can comfortably fit 15 people, invite 25. Ten won’t be able to come, and people always bail last-minute. Plus, people come in waves.

There are degrees to which you help people plan their parties (hands on, hands on-ish, hands hovering in the background) — do you have a preferred method, or is it all good?

Well, it totally depends on what you need and how much effort and/or money you want to spend. For people who just need some guidance, creative ideas, or don’t want to spend a lot, I offer a "DIY" package, which is a consultation with step-by-step instructions. Or sometimes I’ll help with developing a vision or underlying theme, and find decorations that create the right ambiance.

For some people who don’t have the time or know-how to throw the kind of party that they'd like, I offer a full-on bespoke planning service in which I do everything from start to finish. You give me 5 adjectives of what you want, and I take it from there. You can be as involved (or not) as you'd like to be.

One of my favorites is the 'fairy godmother' service, though, where I sweep in, set everything up, and dash out the back door just before your guests arrive, and you take all the credit.

I also give 'How to Hostess' tutorials for total newbies (i.e. always put flowers in the bathroom and offer your guest a drink within the first three minutes of arrival), and my blog covers the same idea.

Should all parties have a theme, even if it's just, like, Scruffy Winter Cocktails, and no one knows it but the host?

Yes. Yes. Yes. In my mind, it’s not a party without a theme, even if it’s just for planning purposes to set a cohesive tone or cast a color palate. The invite can set the vibe with colors, wording, and attire request — i.e. "Festive attire or party dresses." It gives guests an excuse to wear something fabulous and ultimately adds to your decor. I planned an all white wedding once where guests were asked to arrive in white, head to toe. It was insane. Not only was it stunning to see everyone all together, it definitely set a mood that no decor could replace.

"Hostess with the mostest": one of the most obnoxious phrases in all of phrasing. True/false?


Do you JUDGE people at their parties, if you didn't have any hand in them (or, actually, if you did?)? I'm getting excited thinking about this hypothetical Scruffy Winter Cocktails thing I'm going to throw at my microapartment in 45 minutes (sending the invites out in a few!), but then I'm picturing you there, because I like you, but then also there's this mental shriek, because you'd be noticing all the details I missed! But also I'm not actually worried, because that would be really nice.

A lot of people ask me this. It depends on my mood. I'd be lying if I said I didn’t, but mostly I just pick up ideas on how to improve. If friends ask me for tips, I’m happy to give them pointers — hint hint. Friends often call for advice, and I'm "consulting" for two of their weddings as we speak. The end goal, though, is for people to have fun, so that should be the biggest priority — not necessarily having the best glassware. People go to parties to party, not to be serious, so you have to set the mood, and if you're stuffy or stressed, your guests will feel it. Also, we can't all be great party throwers — then I’d be out of a job.

Details people frequently miss when preparing? Enough toilet paper, etc.?

- Clean bathrooms (add flowers by the sink).

- Lighting is key!

- Prepare all food in advance. The last thing you want is to be frantically cooking while your guests are having fun without you.

- Paper invitations sent via snail mail — a lost art.

What are three easy yet stunningly impressive appetizers you make?

- Salmon blinis are super easy. Crème fraiche, smoked salmon, blinis. Done. (On the same note, potato chips with sour cream and a dollop of caviar if you want to splurge.)

- Warm roasted nuts. Pop in the oven and serve warm in individual ramekins.

- Champagne. Not a food group but should be. Always, always essential, unless you're having a backyard kegger, of course.

How do you clean those crazy popcorn sconces??

Turpentine. (Jk.)

On your website everything looks ridiculously perfect. What's a dark secret of something gone horribly wrong?

Things gone horribly wrong? Luckily, nothing I would classify as horrible. I had a wedding once where the musicians were late so we grabbed a guitar and asked one of the guests to play. Once I made a punch that turned out dark brown (because of the creme de cassis) so I had to add food coloring to make it look drinkable. Yep, that was last weekend at my holiday party. #Nbd

It's hard work to pull off a spectacular event, but for me it’s thrilling and a great excuse to get my hands dirty and be creative. In my earlier years of hostessing ('cause I’m so old and wise), I was terrible at enjoying my own parties because I was constantly micromanaging. At one party that I threw, I was so exhausted by the time it began that I snuck away to lie down for a few minutes only to wake up the next morning having missed the entire event. For weeks I heard tales of crazy things that went down that night, but I had missed every second of it. That was hilarious slash weird. But now, at my own parties, I’ve learned to drink plenty of champagne and just let go. Like who the hell really cares if no one's eating the dip?!

Any additional dark secrets in general?

Considering we're talking about throwing parties, I crossed out the word "dark" in your question. It doesn’t get too dark unless you're not prepared or you're putting too much pressure on yourself. Having help is key — whether it’s a good friend, a loyal partner, or someone you pay, help is always a plus. But letting go once the party has begun is key — as long as you have someone keeping an eye on the punch.

Other tips for becoming a better entertainer:

- If you have room, start collecting glassware, dinner plates at flea markets, Craigslist, fancy places if you can afford it, etc. ... And ask for that stuff for your birthday instead of a new winter coat. Maybe you'll be freezing, but at least you'll have champagne flutes, right?

- To start conversations among guests, introduce people to one another with something they have in common — i.e. something wicked like, “Oh, Henry here used to sleep with your ex-girlfriend. You two should compare notes.” ;)

- Above all, get your guests tipsy and, again, learn how to make a mean punch.

Julia Lake can help plan your party.

106 Comments / Post A Comment


Would those nuts be served in WEE ramekins?

Also, I need to start using "wicked" more often (and not in the "wicked good" way I usually use it).

fondue with cheddar

@Ophelia That was my question, too. Sometimes we 'Pinners are so predictable.

Julia Lake Parties!@twitter

@Ophelia Hi. I'm not familiar with Wee ramekins but any kind of small bowl will work (or use paper cupcake cups). I use Una and Sur la Table. Hope that helps.

Julia Lake Parties!@twitter

@fondue with cheddar Hi. I'm not familiar with Wee ramekins but any kind of small bowl will work (or use paper cupcake cups). I use Una and Sur la Table. Hope that helps.

fondue with cheddar

@Julia Lake Parties!@twitter It was a joke. There's a commenter named wee ramekin. :)

Julia Lake Parties!@twitter

@fondue with cheddar ha!! i sorta thought i was missing something...


@Julia Lake Parties!@twitter Thanks! I actually DO need some ramekins, so I will noodle around those two, earlier joke notwithstanding :)


A low key thing with a few friends? Don’t overthink it. If it’s supposed to be more than that, ask yourself if you can turn your "vision" into a reality in a few days.

is bubblegum casting legitimate


Good!!:-* :)@a


Parties! Terrifying! I mean, this is all beautiful advice, but the idea of hosting a party is still alarming to me. Then again, my house is a sty and the cat spent last night throwing up (ALL OVER THE HOUSE) bits of beef fat that she stole off a plate.


@frigwiggin --Come sit by me.


If you feel overwhelmed, deputize a friend to go around and make sure everyone's drink is full. No one will notice you freaking out if they've got someone looking after them a little.


ugh, i love the idea of big themed parties, but .... some of my friends are so low-key that if i make more than 2 things for them to nosh while at my place they're SO impressed I feel kind of like a dweeb for being so "into" it.

BUT on the other hand, champagne does solve everything. the best party ive been to was a summer camping party where we threw a ton of rafts in a river and climbed aboard with a dozen bottles of cheap champagne to pass around. add warm nuts and floating sconces of popcorn and it could have been even more amazing.


@breccia Oh man, I also think that my friends are really low-key, but I threw an elaborate Fakesgiving with some of them before real Thanksgiving and it was potluck and required slight dressing up and we drank Champagne and red wine and everybody loved it. I think I may just abandon myself to the fancy.

fondue with cheddar

@breccia That sounds magical.


I love planning for theoretical parties, all the aesthetic stuff, but in reality, I don't think I've ever actually hosted one. It stresses me out way too much. I'm stuck in 3rd grade birthday party mode: What if no one shows upppp?


@yeah-elle I have this same anxiety and always start with a couple of core people that I NEED TO HAVE there and make sure that they are coming, like, before I even set the date and send invitations. Then I knot here will at least be 3 of us.


@yeah-elle This is something I always worry about at first! My trick is to have at least a couple friends promise me ABSOLUTELY YES, because then I can tell myself that even if no one else shows up, I will have a great time with those friends at least (and we'll have so much extra food/drinks!).


@OhMarie Ha ha ha ditto!


@yeah-elle I don't want to talk about what led me to make this rule, but my number one rule of party-throwing: No food that can't be stuffed in the freezer if people bail, because spending the next week eating leftover party food will make it that much worse.


@yeah-elle I have this anxiety too and it bums me out tremendously. I feel as though all my parties end up being 5-person couch chats instead of more ~partyish~ parties. These are nice and I like spending time with my friends, but I wish I could switch it up a bit. It makes me sad that I can't seem to entice people (other than my core BFFs) to come over for a party. I also feel that there is a certain flakiness that is more prevalent these days because people are too busy? (I don't want to blame it on FB/THE INTERNETZ but that certainly highlights it)..

anyway if y'all have advice on getting people out to your parties I'd love to hear it. I know the idea is 'become known as a good host and then people will want to keep coming back' but how do you get them to show up the first time?

Veronica Lemmons

@planforamiracle The 'become a good host' thing is absolutely true, but I had the same problem several years ago when I decided to start throwing awesome parties. Things I've learned:

1. Co-hosting with a friend (especially one with whom you don't overlap socially a lot) can automatically double your guest list and create a more interesting, less predictable crowd.

2. Invite more people than you actually want to come. I invited 140 people to my last party, and about 75 showed up, which was perfect. (But don't invite people you haven't seen face to face or spoken to on the phone in the past year. That will look desperate.)

3. Advertise some of the delicious snacks and treats you will be serving! If people know there will be food, or a special cocktail, (especially if it's a themed menu), they'll be more interested in coming. People really do love free food.

4. Make sure you go to other people's parties and events. It took me a while to learn that if you're the type that flakes on coming to other people's things (whether it's that community meeting your friend wanted you to come to, or your music teacher friend's school musical, or just a regular party), folks will feel less jazzed about coming to your event.

5. Make sure there aren't any other big events that will conflict with your party. I mean, if you want to throw a Christmas party, you'll definitely have competition no matter what, but you can try to compensate with a cool theme or activities or something. (Activities have to be something quick and easy to execute with a big group of people, so not, like, anything that requires turning off the music and standing around explaining things.)

6. MAKE IT DANCEY. Dance parties are the best. Even people who don't like to dance want to be at a party with people dancing, so that they can either feed off the vibes or make fun of everyone, or both. If you're not confident DJing a dance party, hire a DJ or ask a friend. And advertise that DJ on your party invite, even if it's your own DJ name.

I love parties and I love that you want to throw epic parties. Hope some of this helps.


@Veronica Lemmons THANK YOU so much for this thoughtful response. I am saving it!
It's also helping relieve my pre-party anxiety.. I am throwing a Christmas/Yule cocktail this friday and I feel like I have done some of these things!


I’ve been to a marvellous party
We played a wonderful game:
Maureen disappeared
And came back in a beard,
And we all had to guess at her name...
Cecil arrived wearing armour,
Some shells and a black feather boa
Poor Millicent wore a surrealist comb
Made of bits of mosaic from St. Peter’s in Rome,
But the weight was so great that she had to go home!
And I couldn’t have liked it more.


@Decca on that note: http://youtu.be/s8V5FYkILwo


I love throwing parties and flatter myself that I'm pretty good at it, but it has never occured to me to put food in more than one place! I always have 1 table/coffeetable/counter spread with food. And that's where people always huddle and they don't spread out as much (at first). It makes so much more sense to scatter the food!

Also, now I just really want champagne.


@SarahP (Sarah throws the best parties)


@SarahP Agreed! Although a more gracious, less neurotic host than I would allow people to drink champagne/eat caramel popcorn near my bed.




@ponymalta Yeah, I'd like to change it to "Spread out the food within the designated party area." I always figured the bedroom is for coats and hyperventilating when things go awry.


@SarahP Oh, man, that's the only one that I knew to do. It also bears some thinking about how your space is laid out; that one hall table may seem perfect for putting something on, but don't make it the drink-mixing station, or no one will ever move around the house again.

Her thing about colors for decorating and telling people what to wear really strikes a mixed nerve for me. I kinda resent it when people pick some theme where I'll have to go get new clothes (roaring 20's, anyone?) and I resent storing anything that's not day-to-day useful in my apartment, so decor-ownership is also a weak point for me. But she's totally right about how those things contribute to making it something other than "friends having the same drinks on the same couch yet again".


Also I just saw on her site that Julia has a poodle named... wait for it... OTTO VON PICKLES.



Yes, this is great! I am thinking of throwing a Christmas party with tapas at my teeny tiny apartment for my bf's family, and this totally inspired me to go for it.

Julia Lake Parties!@twitter

@rimy great! so glad to have inspired. :)


Also when I was a kid I used to plan an annual "Summer Bash" for my little sisters' friends (not my friends because anxiety but doing it for other people was fun). Themes that I can remember: luau, "nightclub", disco, underwater. It was ALL about the mood lighting, streamers, and a candy bar.


@rimy That is excellent big sistering.


Paaaaaaarties! I love parties!!
Last night I went to a friend's corporate holiday thing and they held it in a showroom for a HOLIDAY DECOR COMPANY. Like, the place Macy's goes to buy giant wreaths and nutcrackers and stuff! You cannot believe some of the pictures that got taken.

Julia Lake Parties!@twitter

@martinipie that's an amazing idea!!! i'll add that to my list of event spaces. thanks!

tea sonata

Aww, this makes me all wistful for no apparent reason.
Julia Lake, do you have a sketchbook/scrapbook of ideas? Or do you just wing it?

Julia Lake Parties!@twitter

@tea sonata um, i have a lot of ideas in my head and find inspiration everywhere. im always hunting for good props or ideas to use at some event, even if its not planned yet.


I'm having a party tomorrow night! It's a college type party, though, not a grownup party, even though I'm 25. I.e. we have a beer pong table that lives in the dining room. I am making food though. Specifically, latkes. I planned to make them last night and freeze them, but I was too exhausted to, so now I'm going to have to make them immediately before the party in a frenzy and have the house smell like frying. I told people to wear their festive best, though, and I'm pretty excited to show off my jingle bell reindeer antlers.


@Ellie Anyone who doesn't appreciate a house party that smells like fresh fried latkes does not deserve to be at that house party.

George Templeton Strong

Always, always have a bowl filled with a rum-based punch. Easy to make (slightly) ahead and cheap to get the maximum amount of people drunk for the least money. I make a different one every time I have a large-ish group of people over. Last Sunday I made a modified Schuylkill River Punch recipe that I found on food.com. What I did was 1 pt Cointreau, 2 pt orange juice, 2 pt pineapple juice, and 3 pt Captain Morgan's spiced rum. Lots of ice. Orange slices to garnish. Your guests can initially hover around the punch bowl, strangers have a good opening line to talk to each other ("So what do you think is in this? I'm Sir Robert Crawley, Lord Grantham, by the way...") and you the host can move in and say things like "Ha ha ha! I had some Cointreau to use up and this recipe sounded good but why Philadelphians are connected to Cointreau I don't know!" (To which one of my guests, a Mitteleuropäisher, replied "I thought they sucked urine off the sidewalks." He was on his third large Red Solo Cup of the stuff.)


George Templeton Strong! I think I looked up that same Schuylkill punch when I was researching what punch to serve at my holiday party (tomorrow!). I'll be throwing my first party at my new house, which was built in 1732, so I wanted something local and historic, if possible. That Schuylkill punch seemed a bit strong for my lightweight self, though. I decided on this Bollywood Punch that I hope will be a hit.


every year i throw an eddie vedder's birthday party. flannel is suggested, but not required.


@madge It's coming up soon! Is there any theme besides flannel? Do you guys chug red wine out of the bottle?


Best easy impressive appetizer in the world: buy pitted dates, almonds and bacon. Stuff almond inside date, wrap in a half strip of bacon, repeat, bake until the bacon is crispy. Stick toothpicks in them. SO GOOD.


@ponymalta My dad once made this and he had a plate ready to be microwaved (yeah he was microwaving them I don't know how meat works?). My uncle grabbed one and ate it, raw bacon and all, and declared it to be delicious. Still not sure if he realized the bacon was raw or not.


@ponymalta WANT. stupid vegetarian husband. *grumbles*


@ponymalta Did these for Thanksgiving, but with goat cheese instead of almonds. Magic.


@TheLetterL My friend made these recently with blue cheese


@mustelid raw bacon is disturbingly delicious.


So, here's a party-planning question. I'm still at the point where most of the shindigs of my peers either are potlucks, which is cool, or (this is so offensive I can't even believe it occurs) they ask for "donations" to cover the costs (to be fair this is only one person really).

I like planning the food for my parties just so and am making enough to have everyone sated (and every surface that can have food as crowded as I'd like it to be). I also have an idea of what types of food I'd like to have -- only bite sized vittles, no dippy stuff that will cause people to hover around the bowl. So I don't really know what to say when someone says, "Oh, I'll bring something to munch on!"

The theme of the party (we do it every year for Christmas) is that everyone bring ingredients for a cocktail and teach people how to make it. So when someone offers to bring food, I feel like there is not a polite way to respond with, "I've got food covered -- either bring a cocktail or just yourself!"

Or is that the polite way to say it?


@mustelid I feel like that's fine, as long as you say it with a smile :)


@iceberg This. As long as you smile charmingly and thank them for the thought, it's good.


@mustelid I think that's what I would say. I never take offense when a friend tells me I don't have to bring anything to a party! Plus, telling them to just not bring anything (or a cocktail, since that's an established theme for your group already) is much less rude than asking what food they would bring and then saying that they shouldn't bring it.


@mustelid I totally say that every time I have a party. Put it in the invite, so nobody's surprised, and most people will be relieved not to be responsible for anything more complicated.


@mustelid Oh my God, I'm outting myself here, but cannot resist the opportunity to shame my friends on the internet.

I have friends who host BYOM parties. As in Bring Your Own Meat. Like raw meat, in a plastic baggie, in a marinade, just one serving, that you then grill at the party.

I know that's only tangentially related to your point, but your friend who asks for "donations" seems way less annoying now, right?


Thanks all y'all! I put it in the invitation but for some reason I've still gotten the question several times.

@TheclaAndTheSeals OH GOD my "donation" friend actually started out as a BYOM friend. He did a cookout almost every week through the whole summer, and it was always BYOM. Which usually meant half the people who didn't bring stuff would just eat the veggie burgers I had brought. Also, you also had to grill whatever you brought yourself. Because he was always too busy playing cornhole. On my boards that he always asked me to lug over to his house. (I'm not annoyed at all, obvs.)

Now he does brunch every week, but has decided it's easier to just have all the food/booze ready but ask everyone for $10. One time he owed me money and was like "well you're coming to brunch tomorrow right? So we're good."

I kinda feel like if you can't afford to throw a brunch every week (which is understandable!) then it should be a potluck, or you should just have brunch less often.

Stacy Worst

@TheclaAndTheSeals Wow. I know a couple who does this. Like "hey, we are having a BBQ, bring a burg' by!". It is so tacky but completely hilarious as well.

@mustelid ...I sort of think that tight curation of the food stuffs, to the extent that you are miffed if someone brings something off-message, is a wee bit tacky as well, though. Like, you can tell them it isn't necessary/to bring other things instead, but if they want to bring snacks does it really matter?


@Sister Administrator Eh, it's not so much about food being "off-message" as it is that we have a kind of small, narrow house. I realize it's totally tacky to tell people what type of food they can bring, so it's kind of easier if people don't bring anything. Then I can make sure that stuff is easy to grab and move on, and set up the food in such a way to avoid traffic jams. A dinner potluck is one thing, but a cocktail party where people are mainly moving around chatting with each other and food is not a main event, well, I think it makes sense to plan it in a way that is conducive to that. Obviously if someone brings something I thank them and put it out -- I'm not an idiot. Which is why I was asking for a polite way to assure people that I've got it covered when they ask.

Anyway, I'll totally cop to that being neurotic, but your assessment that it's tacky is pretty rude. Thanks, though.


I'm not an idiot. Which is why I was asking for a polite way to assure people that I've got it covered when they ask...backless prom dresses


My last party, I wanted to get a bit fancy so I hid the toothbrushing implements and in their place put a little dish with hand lotion, mini Altoids, extra hairbands, perfume samples, etc. Mr. Theory was like "ha ha what are we, a nightclub?" and nobody used any and then I was concerned people would think I just chewed on altoids instead of brushing my teeth the end ):


@MollyculeTheory I think that's ADORABLE!


@MollyculeTheory Wait, Mr.? Not futuremister?? (Sorry I am not stalking you, I know you IRL! From skeeball!)


@highfivesforall Oh no, still futuremister, I was just getting lazy with the titles!


My friend threw a party last weekend in honor of her new couch - as in, she bought a new couch and we all sat on it. There were also latkes, waffles, and eggnog, and somehow people started making hilariously-offensive Christmas tree ornaments.



@Alli525 That is an amazing reason to throw a party!

honey cowl

Aieeeee I wanted to look at Julia's web site but it plays MUSIC! Why, Julia, why??

Julia Lake Parties!@twitter

@LaurenF You can mute the music on the lower left side. sorry!


UGH this reminds me I have nothing planned for the triplets 2nd birthday, it's in a MONTH. Potlucks are cool right? In filthy, semi-construction-zonish houses?


@iceberg They're 2. Just having lots of cake, and a large space filled with soft, throwable objects, would probably be GOLDEN. :)


All of the parties I go to/help throw end up being naked parties. It's at the point that we have to say things like "Street legal until midnight, please" when we do invites.

I am resolving to serve more champagne in my life. Also French 75s, which are the best champagne based cocktails.

Hot Doom

@thatgirl French 75s are killers! Which is why I love them. My Auntie Mame-esque godmother paid me with a pitcher of French 75s to help her learn how to set Rafa Nadal as her computer background, so I have a particular fondness for them :)


@Hot Doom She sounds like a lady I would like to share a few with! I discovered them one night when I was kvetching that everyone around me was drinking whiskey (which I hate), so the hostess patted me on the head, went into the other room, and brought me back one of these. I was suitably mollified.

Hot Doom

@thatgirl Nice! Yeah my Auntie Val is a cool gal, but your hostess sounds great! If only all hosts were able to whip out a great party drink like that. Suitably sophisticated indeed!


Dear Julia Lake, I have a question about something you wrote!

one of my secrets is telling everyone how to dress.

How do you do this (nicely and so that people actually do it)?

Edith Zimmerman

@planforamiracle "Festive Attire" etc. on invitations, I think. Although actually I wonder how specific one could get ... Juuuulia????

Julia Lake Parties!@twitter

@Edith Zimmerman @planforamiracle well, edith is right. you put it on the invitation and then again in the follow up email reminder that you normally send a day or two before the event. In that reminder you can elaborate on the dress code. You make it sound appealing like "put on the party dress you've been waiting to wear" or a more pushy approach, which somehow I get away with "bow ties required" or neutral "costume highly encouraged". If you spread the word to your guests one by one when you speak with them beforehand, just mention it. At the end of the day, its your party and you should do what you want. If you go to all the trouble of throwing an event, the least your guests can do is dress up.


@Julia Lake Parties!@twitter Thank you! The reminder a few days before is a super idea. I wouldn't have thought to do such a thing!

I wish I knew more about the etiquette of inviting; I find it so confusing and feel awkward about the idea of sending invitations through the mail when I don't always have peoples' addresses, or whether I should send emails, a mass email or personal emails, or do it one facebook, or text people... ??

I am just being a big ball of stress because I'm throwing a Christmas party on the 21st and am anxious that nobody's going to come... :/

Julia Lake Parties!@twitter

@planforamiracle happy to help. i suggest paperless post if you dont want to bother with paper invites.


@Julia Lake Parties!@twitter wow. I had never heard of paperless post until now.. amazing!

fondue with cheddar

NO REALLY WHERE IS @wee_ramekin?


I'm having a festivus party and I'm totally going to make a sign for the door, such a fun idea. Also I'm going to make Wassail! And put little dishes of nuts all around.

This is getting exciting. I hope people wear "festive attire" even though it wasn't specified.

If anyone wants to take this on, we always do airing of grievances, but anonymously by writing them on paper and putting them in a hat. Then you get to read out all the funny things your friends want to complain about. We will do some feats of strength too, but just in a relaxed way.

Thanks for all the party tips!


@annebee PLEASE tell me you're going to have a Festivus pole.


This weekend, I'll be hosting what I hope will be the first of many lady-brunch gatherings. Rather than waiting for a table at a favorite eggs benedict spot for 45 minutes, I'll roll out of bed, put on some coffee, and throw an egg bake in the oven. Guests will be in pajamas, and there will be multiple pitchers of Bloody Mary/mimosa-type beverages. PARTY WIN. (Do I sound like a braggy asshole? I'm just SO EXCITED, you guys.)


@killer_queen That is a great idea!

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@killer_queen This is so brilliant. And there's so many ways you can do it easily. Throw a frittata in the oven! Pancakes! Muffins! I may steal this party idea...


Per the 'Pin's previous post, I'm totally throwing a breakfast-themed birthday party this year... but on a Saturday night, of course. Will break out the waffle maker and probably just get chafing dishes with bacon, sausage gravy, etc. Dress code is pajamas, bonus prize for most outrageous fuzzy slippers.


My party punch: Leninade. I initially made it for a soviet-themed party, but it was such a hit, I now make it no matter what. Get a few bottles of Lemon Italian Soda, and a quart of fresh raspberries. Puree the raspberries, strain to remove seeds, and add to the soda. Add vodka to taste. Simple, easy, but people go BANANAS for it. Also, fair warning, fresh raspberry puree is really good at hiding the vodka, so you can get fairly schnockered.

And then you can spend the rest of the evening making puns like "It's a party in every glass!" "Time to get hammered and sickled!"


I have a very specific party question! Help!

I would love, love, love to get a gorgeous midcentury punch bowl set with the little matching cups. BUT I live in L.A., where "cold" is like 55 degrees, so all parties at all times of year spill at least partly outside. I can't bring myself to get a gorgeous glass vintage set when I'm worried someone will drop a glass on the patio.

Is there such a thing as a not-ugly plastic punch bowl set? Or do I just accept that stuff breaks at parties and just because something's vintage I don't need to treat it like a museum piece?

Veronica Lemmons

@lalaura Use the punch bowl and ladle, but save the cups for a smaller, indoor event. Use small clear plastic cocktail cups instead. I think those are perfectly acceptable. No one will care that you used plastic, but you will definitely care if any cups get broken.


I'm having a festivus party and I'm totally going to make a sign for the door, such a fun idea. Also I'm going to make Wassail! And put little dishes of nuts all around.

This is getting exciting. I hope people wear "festive attire" even though it wasn't specified.mattress recalls

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