Plan early Sit down atleast two weeks before the big day and have a think about the guestlist, theme, entertainment, food and all the other ingredients to making your house party memorable. If you plan on cooking dinner, have a menu drawn up, and make sure to find out your guest’s food preferences (and allergies) early on to avoid any disappointment. Think about preparing freezer-friendly dishes such as sausage rolls and stuffed wontons in advance, and do a trial run of the menu atleast a week before to make sure everything runs smoothly on the night.
Don’t let them go hungry With all the energy being spent on the dancefloor, your guests will need to fuel up. Keep food simple - go for canapés and snacks such as nachos and salsa, popcorn, mini-pizzas and cocktail sausages, as well as mixed mezze platters, plenty of pita, cheese and nibbles. Just as the party winds down (say 4am or so), have zaatar and cheese manakeesh ordered in from the Zaatar w Zeit (600 522 231) on Sheikh Zayed Road that’s open 24/7. They’ll love you for it.
De-fluff the sofa Book a cleaner both for the morning of your party as well as the morning after (most forget the latter, but it’s the most important in our opinion). It’s a good idea to get in touch with a decent cleaning company atleast a week in advance as it’s a busy time for them. We all know Dubai is a dusty city, but that’s no excuse when you’re entertaining. Your home should be spotless and, if you can’t hire a cleaner, make time to do it yourself.
Count your chairs Sure, you expect everyone to spend all their time dancing but they’ll need a place to rest too so make sure there’s enough chairs and sofas. If you’re worried about offending those you’ve left out, just tell them you don’t have enough chairs (easy).Your next step is to consider who your guests are – do they get on? Are they able and willing to socialise outside the comfort of their clique? Be sure to avoid combinations that will end up in a brawl over the playlist. Remember, whoever you invite will likely bring their friends too.
Pay attention to the details Have plenty of ice and glasses. You’ll need more than you think! Make sure you have three glasses for each guest, but it won’t hurt to have another two spare per person as washing glasses while you’re entertaining is no one’s idea of fun. Also, see to it that the bathroom is clean and well-stocked throughout the night. You really don’t want a stained toilet, dirty sink, towels that are not fresh or soap that is not from a bottle. How embarrassing! It’s also a good idea to stock up on some quality scented candles.
When the clock strikes... There’s nothing worse than being at a party where everyone’s scrambling around trying to find out the ‘right’ time and having that crucial countdown experience rushed. By 11:30pm, you should be by the DJ’s side in preparation for when the clock strikes 12. Have the music turned low and begin the countdown from 15 instead of the traditional ten, just to give guests a little more time to get into it – there are always a few on the phone or in the toilet just when things start to kick off!
Entertainment If you’re worried about running out of fun things to do on the night, organise a Secret Santa of sorts in advance with all your guests (keep a budget of Dhs50) and then have them exchange New Year gifts at your party. If anyone’s up for more, have them write down a 2012 prediction involving other guests at the party on a piece of paper and put it in a box. Shuffle it well and have everyone pick one and read it out loud after midnight – and perhaps be prepared to fall out with a few friends in 2012.
Make it memorable Invest in a Lomography camera and a photo printer – try ICONIC at Deira City Centre (04 294 3444) – to take pictures of guests and print them right at your home. They’ll make great keepsakes. Have fun accessories such as hats, feather boas, wigs and masks placed in a box by the door, and ask guests to choose their look for the night as they walk in, just to make the photos more interesting.
Liquid desires We recommend having a ‘Make your own mixed drinks’ bar, where you can lay out fun drink recipe ideas and people can play at shakin’ and stirrin’. If you’re afraid this will get out of hand, designate a friend to play bartender. And if you don’t have the budget to cover it all on your own, be frank and request everyone who’s coming to contribute a small amount well in advance or to bring their own.
Play that funky music NYE is all about fun music (that means absolutely no power ballads). Make sure you have an awesome sound system, but if you don’t, borrow one from a friend for the night. Have just one person use the system and be in charge of the music through the night or things can get (and sound) ugly. The playlist should be a mix of old-school hip hop, funk, drum and bass, disco, dancefloor and soul too.