On Dina’s Party, airing on HGTV, viewers will see Dina Manzo planning fabulous fetes — everything from a rodeo-themed going-away party to a Copacabana-themed house-warming — 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 soirée 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.
“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.”
No party is complete without…
“Great food in abundance. As great as the decor 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.”