Life & Style

The ultimate house party: How to organise a luxe celebration

This season may be all about big, tinsel-filled, Champagne-popping parties, but traffic snarls, obnoxious strangers and tardy bar service can put a damper on the fun. Why not stay home and organise a luxurious celebration, instead? We suggest taking no chances and calling in professionals to keep your guests engaged. Our home-friendly list includes chefs, mixologists, party stylists, musicians, photographers, stand-up comedians and more. Take your pick and throw a memorable bash.

With inputs from Rosella Stephen, Nidhi Adlakha and Susanna Myrtle Lazarus

The ultimate house party: How to organise a luxe celebration

1. Conversations and a sit-down

Intimate, seated, home-style (albeit luxe) entertaining is making a comeback. As actress and designer Lekha Washington says, “Parties are not just about being big and bold; I enjoy small gatherings with real conversations.” While some look to close friends to keep the fun alive, others add a touch of interest by inviting guests like art historian Naman Ahuja for a bespoke evening of curated exchanges. No matter your choice, here’s how you can set your space.

Party planning with Punit Jasuja

Thematic parties are passé; it’s all about the experience now, says Punit Jasuja, party planner to A-listers like the Jindals. “We spend time with the hosts, and try to create a spirit that is a reflection of them.” So expect attention to detail — a recent X’mas party had personalised handcrafted necklaces for the table, made by the daughter of the house (“because I discovered she loves making jewellery”), greenery and mistletoe hanging from the ceiling, and carollers from a Christian school. “We concentrate on everything that makes the party work — through taste, sight, sound, smell and touch. Our customised desserts and personalised cookies are a big hit, too,” he says, adding that for entertainment, instead of DJs with ‘clumsy’ equipment, he’d go for jazz, which gives a cool, refined vibe. Details:

The ultimate house party: How to organise a luxe celebration

Ami Kothari for table styling

Impeccable table décor goes beyond flowers and napkin rings. Mumbai-based Ami Kothari’s Dining Couture offers styling services that include centrepieces, accent elements and crockery. “I also do personal styling sessions, where I’ll help put together your own cutlery and crockery in a cohesive manner,” she says. Alternately, she can do a remote consultation and put together a kit with the essentials. Prices start at ₹12,000 (excluding travel). Visit for details. 8433853448

2. Food and drink

This year has been all about invite-only dinners with celebrity chefs like Massimo Bottura, pop-ups (think Bangkok’s cheery Gaggan Anand at Taj Hotels), tasting tables showcasing regional cuisine and gin parties in cocktail gardens. As the year comes to a close, here are some ‘private dining’ maestros and flavours you ought to bring home. But first, a shout out to podcasters Rico Gagliano and Brendan Francis Newnam for their book, Brunch is Hell. Launched last week, it shows you how to bring back the dinner party, that “cornerstone of civilised society”. A good Christmas gift, we think.

The ultimate house party: How to organise a luxe celebration

Water lilies and fish from Prateek Sadhu, Masque

Prateek Sadhu, chef-owner of Mumbai’s much-Instagrammed farm-to-fork restaurant, Masque, has been popping up in food reports all year. As has sea buckthorn, the tart berry that grows in Ladakh. The 60 kilos he brought back from a foraging exercise, went on to make a berry ice-lolly that’s the most talked-about pre-dessert of 2017. After his first Masque pop-up earlier this month in Delhi at The Lodhi, Sadhu is open to bringing his seasonal experiments to private dinners across the country. He is already booked for a private dinner in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula on NYE. So do what you can to get his “beautiful pork ribs” with a coffee and Kashmiri chilli rub, water lilies with Kashmiri trout served raw or slightly cured, and morels to your dinner table! Tasting menus at Masque from ₹3,500 to ₹4,500. 022 24991010

The ultimate house party: How to organise a luxe celebration

Bourbon-glazed salmon from Madhulika Sundaram, Chef’s Table

When Cordon Bleu chef Madhulika Sundaram launched her restaurant, Chef’s Table, in Alwarpet earlier this year, there were a few grumbles about the precise portions. But her club-class beetroot ravioli, bourbon-glazed salmon and crispy fried pork belly saw people coming back for seconds. In fact, Sundaram now does private dinners at homes across the city, on request. “I curate the menu with the client. I take my pots and pans, cook, do the plating and serve the food, too,” she says. Add approximately ₹1,000 per head to the menu prices and choose from a three to seven-course meal. Pair it with wine if you wish (a big plus, given there is no alcohol at her restaurant). Details: 7358215212

The ultimate house party: How to organise a luxe celebration

Death punch margarita from Bar-Back Collective

Launched as a game-changer on the F&B scene last year, Bar-Back Collective is a beverage consultancy that comprises of four hugely popular spirits and wine experts —Vaibhav Singh, who introduced the country’s first craft gin, Pankaj Balachandran, Arijit Bose and Anand Virmani. The next few weeks will see these bar entrepreneurs at private dinners in and outside the country (Balachandran, for instance, is at Magnetic Fields, the music and food carnival in Rajasthan, this weekend, followed by assignments in Singapore and Bintan). You can invite them to your house party for gin distillation workshops (₹75,000 for 15 people), DIY gin & tonic parties in herb gardens and blind wine tasting parties. Details: 09717376449

The ultimate house party: How to organise a luxe celebration

Beeda tonic from Nitin Tewari

Food connoisseurs and party veterans need no introduction to Nitin Tewari of Ek Bar fame. The Delhi mixologist recently tied the knot with a chef from Shillong, #TribalGourmet’s Tanisha Phanbuh, which has resulted in their #NorthEasternPopUp experience. There’s Tungrymbai on Toast, fermented soybean paste spread on crispy toast, and momos in banana blossoms. The stars are Phanbuh’s braised pork belly tossed in a black sesame gravy, Tewari’s paan-inspired gin & tonic, and his explosive Bhut Jolokia Mary. For Northeast, Thai, ‘gin & tea’ themes and theatre at the bar, contact 09717014242

The ultimate house party: How to organise a luxe celebration

3. Music and dance

DJs won’t go out of vogue — there’s Ankytrixx if you enjoy underground house and electronica, or NYK if it’s psy, trance or Bollywood you are looking for — but why not try something more exclusive?

Mini Cirque du Soleil

Blow everyone’s mind with a mini Cirque du Soleil performance, with aerial gymnastics, Can-can dancers and more. “We have stilt walkers, acrobats from Russia, and performers who will startle you by sitting on air,” says Gaurav Gondal, founder-director of Yogis Angels, one of the country’s premier entertainment firms. Also choose from other colourful options like Helios Angels and laser dance. At ₹1,50,000 per artiste for Cirque du Soleil. Details:

The ultimate house party: How to organise a luxe celebration

The Quarter

The music club at Mumbai’s Royal Opera House is willing to travel for your entertainment. “At The Quarter, we create a lot of shows, curating play lists, getting together musicians (like Dhruv Ghanekar and Mohini Dey), and working out sets depending on the instrumentation,” says Ashutosh Phatak, one of the co-founders. He adds that themed nights like a Brazilian bossa nova, a string quartet, or special tributes — perhaps a Miles Davis set or Wayne Shorter — would be great for a ‘refined’ house party. From ₹2 lakh onwards. Details: 8329110638

The ultimate house party: How to organise a luxe celebration

Parekh & Singh

You’ll soon see them at the Vh1 Supersonic 2018 in Pune, but how about a private performance? The dream pop duo, Nischay Parekh and Jivraj Singh — whose songs, including I love you baby, I love you doll — have been trending online, will perform covers and songs from their albums. “We are passionate about new music like Drake or The Weeknd, and classics like the Eagles and Donald Fagen. We are pretty open to re-imagining anything,” says Parekh, whose second album is expected to release early next year. From ₹1.5 lakh onwards. Details:

The ultimate house party: How to organise a luxe celebration


They are all the rage on social media, so why shouldn’t your guests get caught up in the energy of Dancehall and Afrobeat. After going viral on Facebook, the dance quintet — comprising Maryann Vincent, Anjaly Ariyanayagam, Divya Easwaran, Nivitha Krishna and Alisha Ajit — are currently touring with their high-intensity performances. “A 90-minute segment will include two-three dance sets, and a quick foundation class,” says Bengaluru-based Vincent. From 40,000 onwards. Details:

The ultimate house party: How to organise a luxe celebration

4. Stand-up comedy

Bring Netflix and Amazon Prime specials live to your living room, with private stand-up shows by comics like Sorabh Pant. “It’s tough playing a private audience for various reasons — they have their inside jokes, and if they heckle you, you can’t really say too much back,” laughs the comic, but says he is ready for the challenge. Be sure to book him in advance, and shell out about 20% over the usual going rate (ranging from ₹2 to ₹4 lakh). As Pant put is, “Higher risk of personal embarrassment means higher rewards.”

The ultimate house party: How to organise a luxe celebration

5. Bottoms up

Amp up the fun with Spill, the newly-launched drinking game. Created by Rubianca Wadhwa, a former advertising professional — who runs Mumbai-based board game company, Binca, with her husband — it's a 500-card game. “It comes in a container designed to look like a whisky canister. You pick a card, read what’s on it and the others have to guess if it is true or false for you. Whoever gets it wrong, drinks,” explains Wadhwa, adding that the questions can go from tame to really naughty. At 1,999, on

6. Shoot to last

Ditch boring group photos; there’s so much else on offer. Like Instagram-worthy pop-up booths and movie shoots. Why not hire independent filmmakers to help you shoot a fun film, scripted by your guests, or plan a magazine-style shoot?

The ultimate house party: How to organise a luxe celebration

Photoshoot with Naina Redhu

The Delhi-based luxury and lifestyle photographer and social influencer is up for a fashion magazine-themed photoshoot. “I can work with the guests to create the look. While I don’t arrange stylists and props retailers, I can introduce the clients to professionals in this space. I will bring lights as required (for a fully-fledged shoot),” says Redhu, who recently wrapped up the launch of Madame Tussauds in the capital, and one for Harper’s Bazaar India. “Curating an event’s visual overview — from people, décor, set-up and food — is my forte. For a two-three hour event, my prices start at ₹2-3 lakh, and will vary depending on the number of images and licensing,” she adds. To get in touch, mail

Photo booth

If GIF photo booths and photo strips were trending in early 2017, now you can opt for chroma photos and video booths. Puneet Chawla, AVP - Planning & Brand Promotion, of Gurgaon-based Piquor Technologies, says, “Selfie booths have also become popular and we provide instant prints.” While they have integrated their booths with Facebook and Twitter (so you can share live), soon Instagram and WhatsApp will feature, too. Costs between ₹15,000 and ₹25,000. Details: 09650256655

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Printable version | Nov 30, 2021 4:00:33 PM |

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