Dina Manzo: You’re invited to her party

“Dina’s Party” premieres this Saturday at 10 p.m. on HGTV.

The former ‘Real Housewife’ comes back on TV with a series about her event-planning business//Her best party-planning advice — and tips for avoiding drama (she would know!)

On “Dina’s Party,” premiering this Saturday on HGTV, viewers will see Dina Manzo planning fabulous fetes — everything from a rodeo-themed going-away party to a Copacabana-themed housewarming — that are sure to be buzzed about long after the last slice of cake is served. We got Manzo’s top tips for throwing a super soiree of your own.

Create a “wow factor” at the entrance

Get the party started in a fun way by having a celebrity impersonator greet guests or hiring a “living statue,” Manzo advises. “If you just have a simple cocktail party and you have that one element that greets people when they walk in the door, that’s the first impression and people are gonna be taking that with them throughout the whole party. If there’s somewhere you could put your money, I would suggest putting it in the entrance.”

Plan activities — but don’t stress about following a schedule
“For me, it’s a play-it-by-ear thing. It really depends on who’s at the party, what they wanna do, how the party’s moving along. Know your guests, know what they’re really into and sometimes you just gotta wing it. You can have some kind of outline but there should be some room for flexibility depending on how the party’s actually going. Never ever stop a great party to do a little interactive something if you don’t think it’s gonna be as exciting as people dancing.”

Get creative with food
Keep the bites small and easy to serve. “I would just recommend keeping the appetizers like something you could eat with one hand, because if people are gonna be walking around and mingling, you know a drink is gonna be in another hand. So nothing too messy, nothing that takes a plate and a spoon — try to keep it to plain appetizers that girls don’t have to worry about getting in their teeth. Just keep in mind, again, your guests that are coming and the flow of the party. You don’t want to have people have to find a table and sit down to eat their appetizers. But more importantly, as far as catering is concerned, don’t just plop your dishes down: build up levels, create some interest on the table. If you can theme the food to the event, go for it, and don’t forget to incorporate the color scheme or the design scheme or the theme. Keep it interesting: It makes the food even that much better. If you’re serving something as simple as wine and cheese, if you build up levels and create some interest it’s gonna be more of an experience.”

Avoid the drama
“There’s all kinds of drama. There’s drama in set-up, because of course things don’t come in always as you planned. You may wind up with pink roses the day of instead of red and you can’t change it. At the end of the day, it’s just a party, we’re not saving lives here, and everyone’s there to just have a really good time, so keep that in mind. Of course, alcohol levels, try to keep that under control as much as you possibly can. I always make sure I talk to the bartender [to] give us a heads up if there’s someone drinking too much so we can address the situation.”

Mad libs with Manzo

No party is complete without…
“Great food in abundance. As great as the décor and the whole experience can be, you don’t want people leaving hungry and having to go through a drive-through on the way home.”

The first thing I ask myself when planning a party is…
“What is the guest of honor really about. For me, it’s not about just putting on another pretty party: I wanna make it about who the party’s for, so I try to get into their heads as much as possible.”

The last finishing touch I put on my party is…
“The obvious is always lighting those candles, but in all honesty, it’s just a deep breath and a smile because you’re there to get together and have a good time, and anything that goes wrong, most people aren’t gonna notice.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Girl, 10, dies after being pulled from water…

A 10-year-old girl died after being pulled from the waters off Coney Island Beach in Brooklyn on Tuesday night, police said.

News

NY judge throws out lawsuit by Empire State…

A New York state judge has thrown out a lawsuit in which longtime investors in the Empire State Building claimed they were shortchanged out of hundreds of millions of dollars…

Local

Mysterious white flags appear over Brooklyn Bridge

Two white flags mysteriously appeared over the towers of the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday in place of the American flags that are a traditional fixture.

National

Judge sets January start for murder trial of…

By Elizabeth BarberBOSTON (Reuters) - Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez will be tried in January for the murder of semi-professional football player Odin…

Arts

Don't miss 'Charles James: Beyond Fashion' at the…

Have you been meaning to see "Charles James: Beyond Fashion"? There are only two weeks left to get to the Met and catch this amazing American fashion designer's collection.

Television

Zac Posen talks 'Project Runway' and what it…

We talked to Zac Posen, judge and designer extraordinaire, about the new season of "Project Runway" and what keeps him coming back after three seasons.

Television

'Face Off' contestant David 'DOC' O'Connell sounds off…

David "DOC" O'Connell tells us about getting cast on Season 7 of Syfy's "Face Off," premiering tonight at 9.

Arts

PHOTO: Wildlife photographer Marc Mol captures amazing aerial…

This aerial image was taken by photographer Marc Mol who spotted the animals during an air safari in Zambia.

NFL

David Tyree hiring has gay rights advocates angry

Former Giants Super Bowl hero David Tyree will re-join the franchise as its new director of player development.

NFL

Ben McAdoo's new offense has Giants excited to…

Even Tom Coughlin feels he has a lot to learn about offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s new offense, which makes the veteran coach very excited.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead…

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead pack

NFL

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will…

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will win Super Bowl?

Tech

Learn Braille with these gloves

U.S. scientists have designed high-tech gloves to help users understand Braille in a matter of minutes.

Home

5 New Ikea products that will change your…

We round-up the latest must-have products.

Food

Recipe: Wolfgang Puck's Buttermilk French Toast

We recently spent some time chatting with restauranteur/celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck at his Wolfgang Puck American Grille in the Borgata in Atlantic City. Puck wanted…

Style

Go retro with your sneakers

The best of wacky new sneakers.