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Success F ie s ta ALWAYS A PARTY Summer is in full swing. It’s the time of year for backyard BBQs, pool parties and causal cocktails at home. We reached out to some of Miami’s expert party-throwers, chic hostesses and savvy social butterflies to give us some tips on how to take your next soiree to a whole new level. TEXT BY CECILIA DUBON SLESNICK GUEST LIST It all starts with a great group of people. Think about the size of your party: Is it an intimate dinner party? A bigger gathering? Are you celebrating something special? Regardless of size, local “Hostess with the Mostest” Coco Torre says that inviting an eclectic group so there’s always something to disccuss is part of your success formula. If you’re having a small get-together, make sure you think about the dymanics and aim for a blend of close friends and maybe personal contactss who may not have met one another yet. If you’re having a larger gathering, you can invite a wider scope of friends so guests can have more freedom to mingle with different circles. 28 AMBIANCE MATTERS Expert hostess Lorena Castillo says she starts buying decorations months in advance. If it’s a BBQ, she always keeps her eyes peeled when out shopping for backyard-friendly decorations. She also recommends having a great set of white dishes and serving platters that can be used for any party or dinner regardless of theme or time of year. Flora Fox of Fox Event Atelier says it’s important to have good music. If you want people to dance or relax, build a playlist with that in mind, or find a pre-made one online. Psychologist Dr. Avery Hoenig adds that you want to make sure you have plenty of places to sit if you want people to stay long and relax at your party: “It’s important for people to feel absolutely comfortable.” FOOD & DRINK If there’s one thing the pros, at- home experts and psychologists all agree on, it’s that food and drink considerations should take center stage at any shindig. Master Stylist Maria Maloof of the House Of Maloof says it’s all about “delicious food and booze!” She also recommends plenty of red and white wine, with a signature drink if you don’t want to have a full bar. If you’re not much of a cook, it’s as easy as ordering some party platters from your favorite market or heading over to the nearest takeout counter for some appetizers to throw in the oven. If it’s casual and you want your guests to use the same cup throughout the event, have fun with it and give them some colorful or metallic sharpies to mark their cup with. HAUTE HOSTE As the host/hostess, you’re a big part of the equation. In most instances, you may be the only one all of your guests know. So relax — the mood starts with you. Make sure you get around to all your guests and check in with them. If you have help coming from the kitchen, this will make getting around to your guests easier. If you don’t have any extra hands, try to do your kitchen checks for refills down to about 5-7 minute windows. You don’t want your guests to feel like you’re working, you want them to feel like you’re having a blast! Also, don’t forget that you should never worry about overdressing — wear something fabulous. After all, it’s your party and you can wear what you want to!