When Coldplay’s Chris Martin performed in India some months ago, Shah Rukh Khan hosted an epic after-party at his Mumbai mansion, Mannat. From Deepika Padukone and Alia Bhatt to Salman Khan and Farhan Akhtar, Bollywood’s biggest music buffs made it a point to attend. Gauri Khan played hostess with élan — and is fast becoming known to throw the best house parties. Of course we can’t all pull off a star-studded guest list like Gauri’s, but it is possible to host a house party that is as hip and happening as this celebrity shindig.
With advice from Oprah Winfrey, Justin Bieber and Kourtney Kardashian, plus tips from Salman Khan’s sister Arpita Khan Sharma, we’ve put together the ultimate celebrity house party guide. Here is just about everything you need to know to get geared up for your next celebration…
THEME FOR A DREAM
Oprah Winfrey is all about girl-power, so it shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise when she decided to host a Wonder Woman-themed party last month, to celebrate DC Comics’ first female-led superhero film. The legendary talk show host had a cake commissioned to match her theme and put out Wonder Woman popcorn buckets and matching slippers for her guests too. As if that wasn’t exciting enough, the crowning glory came when Oprah opted to wear Wonder Woman cuffs and a crown each for herself and her pet pooch, Sadie. Without a doubt, the theme set the tone for the evening and gave her guests a night to remember!
For Beyonce, a Seventies-themed evening of Soul Train lines and jumpsuits made her 35th birthday super-special. Coincidentally, musician Lionel Richie’s designer daughter Nicole opted for a full-on Seventies glam party to ring in her 35th year too. Kris Jenner — mum to Kourtney, Khloé and Kim Kardashian — hosted a Great Gatsby-themed all-nighter for her last big birthday. Needless to say, themed house parties aren’t restricted to birthday bashes — Taylor Swift throws the best Fourth of July party at her Rhode Island mansion to mark American Independence Day every year, while singer-actress Bette Midler hosts an annual Halloween party that is the talk of the town for its entirely out-there décor.
Whether you look to Hollywood or closer home for inspiration, it’s always lovely to host a party with a theme. Once you’ve got that in place, it lays the foundation for everything else.
ALL PREPPED AND PRETTY
Salman Khan’s kid sister Arpita is a house party veteran and clearly likes to entertain in style! From birthday bashes for bhai Salman to seasonal celebrations including Christmas, Arpita pulls out all the stops to make her parties memorable. Big balloons, beautiful floral decorations and a statement cake are staples at Arpita’s parties, irrespective of the occasion. Like Arpita, Kourtney Kardashian is very particular about the décor at her house parties. If the weather is pleasant, Kourtney enjoys entertaining outdoors and has colourful crockery tucked away for those occasions. If you don’t have a garden, it is possible to convert your terrace into the best party spot in town. Whether she is entertaining outdoors or inside, Kourtney confesses she always sets the table before all her guests arrive. “That way, everyone has what they need once the food is ready and when the table is fully set and looks pretty, it tends to attract everyone to one place.”
For Oprah, ensuring that everyone can be seated comfortably is particularly important — which explains why her dining table seats 22 people! Thanksgiving is a “really big deal at my house,” says Oprah, whose guests all gather around the table for the momentous meal.
While Arpita, Kourtney and Oprah all offer up excellent party pointers, the best house party tip of all comes courtesy New York-based wedding planner extraordinaire Marcy Blum. “While you’re planning, lay out all of your serving pieces with Post-it notes that specify which food is going into which dish. And don’t forget to lay out the serving spoons, forks, etc., to avoid a scramble at the last minute,” says Bloom. No wonder her celebrity clients include the NBA’s LeBron James, author Salman Rushdie, singer-songwriter Billy Joel and Hollywood stars Kyra Sedgwick and Kevin Bacon!
BAR BAR DEKHO
Your house party prep can never be complete unless you’ve got your bar in order. Assuming you’ve read all our previous tips on how to get your bar ready for your next bash, we have another smart suggestion from American fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff. The international style icon hosts the best house parties at her beautiful riverside apartment in Brooklyn’s Dumbo neighbourhood and confesses to always setting up an extra bar to allow guests to discreetly craft their own cocktails. We think it’s a brilliant idea to encourage a little DIY, because it takes the pressure off the host (and the bartender) to keep everyone’s glasses topped up all night long!
WELCOME TO MY HOUSE
Flo Rida says it best, but the big tip to welcoming your guests in style comes from superstar John Travolta! From Oprah we hear that the Saturday Night Fever actor often offers up a welcome drink as guests trickle in to his house parties. Oprah has already stolen the idea (as should you) and upped the ante by presenting her guests one alcoholic and one non-alcoholic beverage at the door. “Starting with some kind of beverage helps people feel welcome and invited,” says the talk show host.
While games were such a focal point at parties when we were younger, as we age, we tend to overlook this aspect of entertaining. Take a house party tip from Love Yourself singer Justin Bieber and bring ‘play’ back into your parties. At a house party at Justin’s Los Angeles pad not long ago, the bash started with a game of football (okay, so not everyone has the space for that) and later buckets of Nerf guns were passed out — it made the night legendary, to say the least.
MAKE IT A NIGHT TO REMEMBER
For his 50th birthday, Simon Cowell hosted an epic house party at his home in Hertfordshire, England; with a guest list full of the most influential people in showbiz. All his guests, no doubt, had gorgeous cars of their own, but Cowell made it a point to send chauffeured limousines to fetch each of his 400 invitees. It was a gesture that made everyone feel special even before the party had started! Our tip, obviously, doesn’t involve encouraging you to spend the many millions that Simon did. Instead, learn the priceless lesson that comes with this story about Simon Cowell. The surest way to make it a memorable night for your guests is to be a gracious host. Like Karan Johar, for instance. At a house party the filmmaker hosted recently, Karan personally carried around a tray of tiny water bottles to hand out to any of his guests needing hydration. The action prompted actor Riteish Deshmukh to say, “Perfect host… Stardust Awards ho ya ghar ki party.”
SAY GOODBYE IN STYLE
The concept of the ‘return gift’ seems to come with an expiry date that coincides with your tenth birthday, but perhaps we’re killing a good idea off too soon? There are plenty of clever ways to bring back the ‘return gift’ as an adult. Take a tip from celebrity party planner Marcy Blum, who says she keeps plenty of take-away containers available to send off some slices of cake or cookies with guests, as her house party draws to a close. “If you throw in the recipe, leftovers end up making for great party favours,” says Blum. We think it’s an excellent idea too!
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