Invite all guests
to arrive 30 minutes before the guest of honour.
Tell the other
guests to park their vehicles out of sight or at a distance from
your place. This will deflect any suspicion that might arise in the
mind of the incoming guest.
suggest to the other guests, who are in contact with the guest of
honour, to casually mention to him/her that they will be attending
to some fictitious activity that day. This is just meant to act as a
Now keep your
fingers crossed and hope that there are no leaks. And when your
guest of honour arrives in the company of your ‘accomplice’ in
the surprise endeavour, all other invitees pop out of your spruced
up interiors to boom a hearty ‘hello’ to the star of the
evening. You can stand back smugly to catch that look of surprise on
your guest’s countenance.
Other invitees must keep the secret
To make your endeavour
an all-out success plan out your shopping list well in advance. But go
about it secretly, lest the little ones in your home spill the beans and
pre-empt all your efforts at making the event a surprise.
Assemble all the
recipes you will be preparing.
Sit down with a
notepad and pencil.
Label the first
page of the notepad as the master list.
Go through each
recipe and write on the master list all ingredients that you will
need to purchase.
Write down on
master list all the beverages you will need to buy.
Make a note of the
party goods that you need to purchase on the master list if they are
available in supermarket.
If the party goods
are not available in supermarket, write them out on a separate sheet
Make a note of the
flowers or other decorations that you need on the master list, if
they’re available in or near your departmental store. Note them on
a separate sheet of paper if they will require a trip to a different
Take out another
sheet of paper and label it ‘last-minute purchases.’
Review the master
list for ingredients that will need to be purchased at the last
minute, such as fresh meat or chicken . Shift these items to the ‘last-minute
Cross off last-minute
items from the master list.
Schedule a day (or
days) on your party timetable to go shopping for the items on your
Make a separate
list for each store you will need to shop in.
completed this process, your master list will be the items you can
purchase in advance.
To be a good host :
Once seated at the
table, no one should ever have to ask for a refill.
Avoid blinding your
guests with candles or obstructing their views of each other with
large flower arrangements or large centerpieces.
Do not use scented
candles, they can have an unappetising effect.
Help guests shine
in conversation. Stop a bore from droning on. Steer away from topics
that might cause arguments or offend someone.
When serving, place
food in distinct areas on each plate. If all the courses won’t fit
on a single plate, make sure you provide an extra small one.
Before dessert is
served, the table should be completely cleared of all dishes from
the previous courses. This includes soup bowls, salt and pepper
Be a good guest
If you have a
special diet, let your host know in advance. This is better than
leaving food uneaten. In case of a surprise party you can make
discreet enquiries about the guest of honour’s special food
preferences through a common friend.
As soon as you sit
down, place your napkin in your lap. If you need to be excused, put
it directly to the left of your dinner plate, not on your chair.
yourself, never pile excessive food on your plate. Avoid overeating.
And compliments about food should be subtle, not overblown.
Hold your wine
glass by the stem, not the rim. Be careful not to leave fingerprints
or lip-prints on glassware. If you do, discreetly remove them with
Sit in an attitude
of attentiveness to your host and other guests, with both feet on
the floor, not crossed.
And never play with
Invite an uneven
number of people. This way, guests will not pair up on their own
conversations and everyone feels involved.
(Compiled by Chetna