Month: December 2013

DIY New Year’s Eve: Party at Your Pad

Part Three: Music and Entertainment

When was the last time you went to a party that had no music? Probably never, right? That’s because music is a major contributor to the overall atmosphere of an event. It has the power to draw your guests in, get everyone on the dance floor and bring the night to a 882078_10151389061503857_69302952_oclose. Further, “It creates the emotion you want to evoke from your guests,” says talented entertainment producer, Andrew Larris.

But, how do you go about providing music and entertainment for your New Year’s Eve bash? Here, you’re faced with two options. You could either hire one of our talented DJs, or be your own via an Ipod playlist and some speakers.

Regardless of your choice, we’re here to help.

Playlist Perfection: It’s Easier than You Think
Sure, there are people whose sole jobs are to figure out the perfect music for your party. They’re called artists, and they’re phenomenal at what they do, but you too can pick a great soundtrack for your night as long as you have two things in mind: the length of the party, and who will be attending.

The length of the party will more or less dictate the length of your playlist, but you want to make sure that your playlist will run long. Our rule of thumb: more is better. “Just make sure you have way more hours than you need to make sure your run out of music or if the party should go longer you have that little extra you need,” said CEO and Creative Director of NYX Entertainment & Events, Howard Teger.

You also want to have the demographics of your guests in mind when you’re crafting your playlist. Hosting an older crowd? Sprinkle in more classics. Younger crowd? Go with more of the Top 40 hits. It truly is that simple.

Crowd Control
Regardless of the demographic and genre that you choose, you’ll need to get the party started, and bring it to a close. These can be two of the trickiest times for you as a DIY DJ, but again, let’s stick to the basics.

As guests arrive, entertainment producer Andrew Larris suggests playing “not danceable” music – the kind that can facilitate both energy and conversation. This is a time that people can feel comfortable getting drinks, eating appetizers and catching up.

Once you’re ready to switch gears, turn the volume up a pinch and transition to something more upbeat. These are songs that you’re likely to find on Top 40s and Greatest Hits lists (a quick Google search will help you hunt these down).

Finally, when you’re through with dancing, start to bring the night to a close with a decrease in volume and some slower-tempo songs. CEO and Creative Director of NYX Entertainment and Events, Howard Teger, suggests closing the night with a few classics. “Time of My Life from the Dirty Dancing Soundtrack and Three Little Birds by Bob Marley are my favorite,” he said.

If your guests aren’t quite getting the musical-nudge, couple your slow songs with a general PSA to let them know it’s time for the evening to come to a close.

Have questions? Comment below, or call the pros! We’re happy to help!

DIY New Year’s Eve: Party at Your Pad

Part Two: Food & Beverage
Now that you’ve picked the kind of party that you want to have, we’re ready to graduate to Food and Beverage. New Year’s Eve is now three weeks away, and time’s a tickin’ – take your seat and let’s learn!

Beverage
We’ll start with the bar because regardless of the kind of party you’re having (cocktail or dinner), champagne isn’t a “want,” it’s a “NEED.”

First, you’ll want to select the appropriate space. Talented event designer, Mitchell Crosby of JMC Events, Charleston, SC, notes “…it’s wise to put the bar as far from the front door and food as possible!” You want to strategically place the bar away from your front door so that you can draw your guests into your space, rather than letting them linger around the entrance. The second tip is less intuitive, as people usually think ‘I’ll want to drink something with my food, so why not put the two stations next to each other?’ Here’s why: putting both stations in close proximity will clog your space. People will be magnetically attracted to that area of your home for majority of the night, rather than circulating the party.

But, what should you serve? Unless you’re having a massive slumber party, remember to have both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. The designated drivers are thirsty, too. But, either way we suggest stocking your bar with your favorite drinks, and of course, champagne!

Experienced caterer Michelle Fishman of Main Event Catering, Washington, DC, suggests incorporating a champagne-concoction station for the event, which allows guests to mix-and-match their own flavors to create their perfect New Year’s tincture.  She suggests stocking the station with “…champagne and maybe a sparkling rose, as well as ginger ale and assorted mixers; cranberry juice, pomegranate juice, St. Germaine’s, sprigs of rosemary or mint, possibly some candied ginger or just some fresh raspberries.”

Here's an example of a create-your-own champagne bar, as suggested by Michelle Fishman of Main Event Catering.

Here’s an example of a create-your-own champagne bar, as suggested by Michelle Fishman of Main Event Catering.

And, her advice doesn’t stop there! She even lets us know how to set up the station: “Place all of the sparkling beverages on ice along one side of a table, glass pitchers filled with the mixers and small bowls of garnish on the other.  You can go with disposable champagne flutes or glass!”

So, the takeaway message for the beverage aspect of your event? First, have drinks for everyone – both drinkers and designated drivers. Second, place your bar strategically. The farther away from the front door, the better, and make sure that it’s not directly next to the food station so there’s not a clog in the arteries of your party-flow. Third, open the doors for creativity! Consider adding an assortment of mixers, garnishes and fruits to the station.

Food
If you’re serving cocktails, you’ll probably want to serve food with it. As we mentioned in last week’s blog, both cocktail and dinner parties feature snacks.

For the snacks, Michelle Fishman of Main Event suggests serving one-bite options. Think of things …” that you can eat with your hands and use only a beverage napkin,” Michelle said. “One of my favorite fillings is mushroom and brie (cooked diced Portobello mushrooms and brie cheese).  Another easy item is purchase a package of raw boneless skinless chicken tenders, slice them in half if you feel they are too big, skewer them, then glaze them with apricot ‘jam’ and roll them in crushed pecans.  Cook and serve room temp or hot!”

Main Event suggests serving your appetizers on sticks! They're great finger foods without the mess. Photo courtesy of Sweet Tea.

Main Event suggests serving your appetizers on sticks! They’re great finger foods without the mess. Photo courtesy of Sweet Tea.

The takeaway for snacks: keep it light, keep it small. Don’t think appetizers and hors d’oeuvres have to be an entire course – the simpler, the better, and no plates necessary. And, are your friends the kinds of people that are dying to help? Let them. Answer “what can I bring?” openly and honestly.

If you’re serving a dinner course, Michelle Fishman suggests prepping the meal the night before. “Prep and platter everything the day before that way you just need to place it out on the table or pop it in the oven for a few moments to take the chill off.” Michelle said. The one-step process keeps things simple – and trust us, as event and entertainment production professionals, when it comes to event production you’ll want to keep the areas that can be simple, simple.

An alternative to cooking the entire meal yourself is throwing a potluck-style dinner. This approach will help bring your crowd together as your guests enjoy the opportunity to taste each other’s dishes and swap recipes! Afraid of two people bringing the same dish? Assign them to a specific style: pasta, vegetable etc.

But, what about third meal? After a night of drinking, dancing and mingling, people are sure to be hungry. Leftovers are a great option (if there are any), but here’s a creative idea we love from Mitchell Crosby of JMCWe love making Strata (egg and sausage casserole) a day ahead and throwing them in the oven at 11:30pm to cook through.  They will be firm and can be placed on small plates with forks to pass out once the kissing and celebrating is done. No need for fruit, grits, hash browns.  Make this a one-dish wonder and be done with it.”

So, this week you’re homework is brainstorm where you want your bar, and the items you want on it. You also need to brainstorm the small items you plan to have for snacks, and if you’re throwing a dinner party, the meal that you plan to serve!

Feeling overwhelmed and want a chance to talk to a professional? Comment below, and we’ll put you in touch with some of the pros!

 NYX To-do list 2

DIY New Year’s Eve: Party at Your Pad

Part One: Pick Your Party
‘Tis the season…to start making plans for New Year’s Eve. If you live in New York, Los Angeles or Washington, DC, or somewhere in between, you’re undoubtedly faced with a plethora of options to choose from when it comes to picking your New Year’s Eve party location. But, when was the last time you considered your own home? NYX Entertainment & Events New Year's Eve Party Planning Guide

Rather than breaking the bank to make plans to celebrate at someone else’s party with strangers, save your hard-earned dollars and plan to host the bash of the year in a more intimate setting with people that you truly want to be around.

During the next four weeks, Team NYX and other event industry icons from around the country will be weighing in with tips and ideas to help you plan your New Year’s Eve party, stress-free.

What Animal Are You?
All party animals are not the same; everyone’s a member of a different herd. The first step to planning your New Year’s Eve party is deciding what kind of shindig you want to have for you and yours. Take a second to consider the following questions:

Will it be a dinner party or cocktail party?  Will it be catered, or are you a foodie who loves to cook and enjoy company while you’re at it? Do you want to do a potluck-style gathering? 

Do you want to start the party at 6p.m. or at 10p.m.? What do you want to do at midnight; are you watching Ryan Seacrest in Times Square, or are you going outside to light fireworks? 

Party Planning To-Do List: Week One
These are all questions that you’ve got to answer for yourself before we can proceed. But, rest assured that no matter what category your party falls into (cocktail or dinner), we’ll help you plan it! On your party-planning to-do list for today, you only have one thing to accomplish: pick your party!

Step one is easy! Pick one.