Jennifer Gilbert, married with three children, is co-owner of Portamee, a baby-carrier company. Ernst & Young named her entrepreneur of the year when she was 29; she is a graduate of the Birthing of Giants program at MIT; and now she will be our favorite new Housewife on the Bravo hit, The Real Housewives of NYC. Below, Jennifer shares her wisdom for making any holiday party fabulous.
1. COAT CHECK. Have an attendant (or two) with racks outside your apartment or in a side room.
2. HAVE WAITERS PASSING WINE, soda or water upon arrival. It takes the pressure off the bar, and people feel more comfortable if they have a drink in their hand when entering.
3. HORS D’OEUVRES. They should be a perfect, mouth-size portion of food, not a mini-meal.
4. BEWARE FOODS with a lot of garlic and chives. Bad breath and food in teeth, not so fun.
5. Always put THE BAR as far back into the space or the room as possible, to draw the crowd away from the front door and into the venue.
6. Invest in a few people to BUS THE TABLES. The cost of an extra hand or two will far outweigh the cost of all those glasses and china you will have to replace because they fell off the pile stacked on every surface.
7. After you’ve confirmed all your vendors, make a CHEAT SHEET of cell phone numbers of all the companies you’re using and staff you’ve hired. That way, if there is an issue, or someone is running late, you have all their info right in front of you, and you don’t have to look through a contract to get a cell phone number that probably isn’t there. And most important …
8. BREATHE, RELAX AND HAVE FUN. Events take on a life of their own and have their own energy. Sometimes things happen not according to plan, and all you can do is roll with it. If you raise your glass and laugh it off, your guests will, too. Remember, it’s just a party—people are there to have fun, and celebrate that moment with you.