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Upscale Cocktail Parties: 5 Do’s & Don’ts When Planning Yours

Whether you’re looking to plan a co-worker get-together or you’re looking to assemble the friends group for a night out – cocktail parties are superb! They’re elegant and classy, especially when you take the time to carefully plan your social event. New York City has all the charm and upscale vibes, too. But there are some mistakes to avoid and best practices to pursue when planning your upscale cocktail party. Today, we’ll share five of the biggest elements to get right.

Selecting a Theme and Dress Code

Start by getting creative with your cocktail party themes and dress codes. If you want a more elevated ambiance, you’re going to need a posh theme, and your guests will need to know that jeans aren’t allowed. Maybe choose a Hollywood red carpet theme or a Great Gatsby theme. Just have fun with it and use your theme to tie all of your event design elements together. 

  • Do: Get creative and be specific about your themes and dress codes.
  • Don’t: Assume you don’t need a theme to tie your cocktail party design together.

Choosing an Elegant New York City Venue

The next most important step when planning a cocktail party in New York City is choosing the best-fit venue. There are TONS of great event spaces all around the city. But keep your theme and guest list in mind when narrowing down your selections. HINT: Make sure that NEBULA and 9 Jones are on your short list of considerations.

  • Do: Take the time to visit the venue before you book.
  • Don’t: Book a venue until you’re confident it’s going to deliver the cocktail party experience you want.

Curating an Upscale Menu and Beverage List

Even if you’re not planning to serve a formal dinner, your upscale cocktail party needs equally impressive appetizers. Think gourmet finger foods and delectables for your guests to snack on while they sip, relax, and mingle. Impress them even more by having waitstaff serve these tasty works of art on platters.

  • Do: Sample the menu yourself and choose a signature drink.
  • Don’t: Forget to accommodate any food allergies and dietary preferences with your drink and appetizer menus.

Booking Brilliant Event Entertainment

Don’t presume that just being together is entertainment enough. If you’re planning an upscale cocktail party, you’re going to need to book some stellar entertainment. Consider bringing in music, activities, and even a surprise celebrity guest for serious wow factor. Make your cocktail party fully immersive with lighting, audio, and experiences.

  • Do: Hire a DJ or live band for great music throughout your event.
  • Don’t: Forget to book the photo booth and/or other event entertainment.

Paying Attention to Details

The difference between a yawn-worthy party and a truly elevated NYC cocktail party is the details. Work with your venue and each of your hired event vendors to make sure every detail exudes sophistication. And look to elevate every element you can, like cloth napkins instead of paper and upscale glassware instead of traditional bar service glasses.

  • Do: Create a to-do list to avoid overlooking any design, decor, or event details.
  • Don’t: Assume your venue or your vendors know what you want.

FAQs About Planning a NYC Cocktail Party

As New York City’s premier team for event planning, corporate, and social events included, we at EMRG Media field a lot of questions from our clients. Here are just a few of the most frequently asked.

What makes a cocktail party classy?

Your cocktail party venue, theme, and design will determine its level of “classiness.” So, look to elevate every element, from gourmet appetizers to soul-stirring music and ambient lighting.

How long should a cocktail party last?

Every cocktail party is unique. However, most of these get-togethers are shorter, lasting roughly two to four hours in duration.

What music should be played at a cocktail party?

Consider the goal of your upscale cocktail party – is it for networking, or is it more celebratory? Your choice of music should support whatever aesthetics and event goals you have, including dancefloor excitement or more muted background music.

Let EMRG Make It Magical

Whatever’s inspiring you to event plan an upscale cocktail party, no one curates the most memorable in New York City quite like we do. Let our team at EMRG Media make your party an elevated experience and a magical outing your guests won’t stop talking about! Contact us, and let us handle all the details!