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Looking at the ultimate Indian homecoming festival through the modern lens, Diwali celebrations today are more resplendent than ever. Playing host or simply helping plan one? FNL’s got you covered.
Twinkling fairy lights and diyas burning bright as far as one can see. When the entire city skyline and even balconies and windows in the most remote by-lanes begin to illuminate the dusky twilight sky, it can only mean one thing — Diwali is here, and so are bottomless servings of bubbly, endless card party invites, and a dapper dress code.
Drinks flowing, glasses clinking, laughter and banter. Beautiful outfits, scrumptious food, party favours, and a smog-heavy night ending with a sky full of lightening bangers. Think that’s all it takes? Think again. Hosting a party with aplomb during the most celebrated holiday in the country can overwhelm even the most seasoned host/hostess amongest us. Here are the ground rules for a Diwali soirée your friends and frenemies won’t forget.
When it comes to throwing a Diwali party, the goal is to up the ante each year and, of course, to always be better than thy neighbour.
The key, as far as perfect seating is concerned, is simplicity. No matter how you choose to use your floor plan, remember to always remain inclusive. Plus, the setting should allow for guests to mingle and move around freely. Avoid private sections, as they tend to isolate groups from all the action and vice versa. Seating at the bar? Nah.
Allot a separate table for the ‘high rollers’ with a serious poker face and seriously deep pockets.
If you’re bringing in cater-waiters, assign one or three to this table and let the games begin!
Beside the usual round table sit-down, floor mattresses or gaddas make for comfortable seating and can easily accommodate more people than a regular sit-down. Throw in an assorted mix of cushions and bolsters in different sizes, too. Perfect for those who like to play but aren’t too invested in the ‘game of cards’ and non-gamers alike.
Allot a separate table for the “high rollers” with a serious poker face & seriously deep pockets. If you’re bringing in cater-waiters, assign one or three to this table & let the games begin!
Whether your party is indoors, on the terrace or the lawn, or spread across areas, elaborate flower arrangements or an ice sculpture won’t impress anyone. Keep it simple, classy, and a little festive.
The space should feel inviting where your guests can unwind into a night of revelry. Think fairy lights, LED tea lights, lanterns, and bright flower rangolis in strategic areas.
However, don’t do it all at once. The key is not going overboard. Avoid using wax candles, oil-based diyas or anything with a live flame to keep your space a fire-safe zone.
Hors d’oeuvre or small bites served hot or cold are a great way to get the ball rolling.
For when hunger strikes, arrange a no-fuss buffet and limit the number of items on the menu. Stick to one cuisine. Two, if you really must. No one wants to choose between white sauce pasta and mutton biryani.
Gentle reminder: Don’t forget the vegetarians. They’re humans, too!
Finally, do ask your guests to mention any specific food allergies when RSVP’ing to avoid rushing to the A&E amidst all the festivities.
Stock up on bar staples like red and white wine, beer, vodka, gin, and whisky. Chill the beer and white wine ahead of the party and pre-order extra ice because, let’s be honest, you will run out.
A variety of mixers like club soda, tonic water, fruit juices, carbonated soft drinks, ginger ale, and root beer are ideal not just to complete your bar but also to keep the teetotallers hydrated. Fresh mint leaves, lime, lemon, oranges, and cucumbers will also come in handy.
INVITES & PARTY FLAVOURS
Keep up with the times – bye-bye hamper invites, hello Whatsapp. You should ideally contact your guests 7–10 days in advance so they may save the date and avoid any overlaps with the countless invites pouring in. No one likes having to choose between friends’ parties, or worse, party hop and not enjoy any quality time or game.
Bid your guests farewell with a small box of chocolates or similar sweet treats and a handwritten note to make it a tad personal.
Relax, take it easy. Don’t let playing host become an all-consuming affair.
“If anything can go wrong, it will” – Murphy’s Law
A good playlist should help you hold the fort for at least 6-8 hours. Start creating your playlist a couple days in advance unless your iTunes library or YouTube channel can put the most organised amongst us to shame. If you’re lost where to begin, consider a mix of the latest Bollywood numbers, a few classics, your favourite songs, and of course, top music charts to round it up. There’s really no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to music. Allow guests to turn DJ, if they so desire. Loud music? So Y2K.
Multiple poker chip sets and fresh decks of cards are bare necessities of the night and clearly need no reminding. And while it may be an out-and-out Diwali card party, a little something to keep the non-gamers in your entourage engaged will go a long way to make the night memorable. ThinkUNO, Monodeal, Truth or Dare cards, and if space permits, a TT table, if you have one lying around. Go on, make you own rules so long as everyone’s having a good time.
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