An affair to remember

Hosting an unforgettable party can either be a strenuous exercise or a fun-filled evening to look forward to. Adding a personal touch to make the evening special is the way to go, says Chhaya Momaya.

Anamika Butalia        Print Edition: December 13, 2009

Chhaya Momaya is known in the Page 3 circuit as a striking yet elegant and soft-spoken personality. Those who know Momaya personally acknowledge her as one of the best hosts Mumbai can boast of. Other parties pale in comparison to hers; and why wouldn't they? Where else would you find a quarter of a Chanel perfume sprayed around your dining area just to set the mood?

Momaya is always a step ahead and is full of surprises when it comes to hosting. She'll know what her guests enjoy and what makes them feel special. Personalising menu cards with the names of her guests is unique to Momaya's parties. When she hosted the Canadian Deputy PM's wife, she etched the names of her guests using crystals on the glasses-a little memento they could take home after a fabulously planned lunch.

This isn't the first "special" she's introduced when hosting. Momaya lends some tips on how to play the perfect host.

The first and foremost is to leave party planners out of intimate settings. "Unless you are inviting the entire world, you don't need a party planner," says Momaya. She says catering and d├ęcor can be handled by professional hands, but "the host remains the best judge on matters such as knowing what makes your guests feel comfortable and special at once."

A party should be planned at least a few weeks in advance so that all arrangements can be in place before the D-day. The key is to know who to invite for the kind of party you're throwing. When putting a guest list together, Momaya suggests bringing together "well-travelled, wellread and well-behaved friends". Such a mix will ensure that even the relatively quiet or shy guests can keep a stimulating conversation going. Keep at bay those who enjoy hearing their own voice.

To ensure that all your esteemed guests will show up at your party, customise the invitations. Send a text message requesting your guests to block their dates. Follow this informal invitation with an elegantly designed invitation card or even, a personalised letter at least a week before the date. Since RSVP courtesy is uncommon, hosts must make it a point to call guests 2-3 days before the party. This call can be used to inform guests about the other people they'll have the chance to interact with; and guests are more likely to confirm their attendance over this phone call.

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