Home is where the party is

In the current economic climate, luxuries such as clothing, dining out and entertainment are usually the first expenses that are scaled back in everyone’s budget.

Invitations to parties have become noticeably scarcer and rather than going out to a restaurant to celebrate a major milestone such as a birthday, anniversary or graduation, people are choosing to celebrate at home, with a smaller, more intimate party.

Just because the party has moved home, however, doesn’t mean it has to be any less fun. With several on-island services such as equipment rentals, caterers and decorating services, a party thrown at home can be just as grand, but – thankfully – without the bill at the end to undo all the evening’s fun.

Sean Collins, owner of Mise en Place catering services, explains that he originally set up his company to cater to at-home functions.

“Catering to personal at-home parties was the original concept for the business, and it expanded into corporate business,” he says.

However, Mise en Place has also noticed a cutback in corporate functions with the recession, with customers’ focus turning instead to buffets.

“As is the case with many businesses these days we have seen corporate cutbacks and not so many high-end home dinners. Instead our business is doing more drop-offs of platters and buffet selections,” Mr. Collins says.

To meet this demand, Mise en Place is currently drawing up “a platter delivery menu for people who want to entertain with a lower budget,” says Mr. Collins.

The company is also fully licensed, and therefore able to offer onsite bar services as well.

For assistance with planning or decorating an event, Celebrations offer full event planning services and décor options.

A full team of designers can help plan the party and show up on the day to assist in setting up the event; allowing party hosts to be as involved or as carefree as they wish.

For those hosts concerned that they do not have the appropriate number or type of equipment at home, Massive Equipment Rental and Sales offers all the necessary goods to host an at-home party of any size.

“There are the basic items such as tables of all shapes, chairs, linen, tableware, glassware, chafing dishes and serving utensils,” said Dara Pereira, supervisor of special event rentals at Massive. “With an outdoor tent, one might need a tent, lighting, air conditioning, fans, flooring, a dance floor or power supply and we have all those items available and much more.

“We enjoy working with persons hosting a party at home as they can rent the chafing pans if they are cooking or a simple vase if they like to have ‘do-it-yourself’ centrepieces. They can combine table sizes to suit their needs and space and we rent the items on a per-unit basis so people only have to rent what they need.”

Massive also has a subsidiary company, Fireworks Ltd., which can produce fireworks shows of any size, allowing a home party to offer its guests something a little different. The company is run by staff who follow North American safety procedures and all shows are fully insured.

“They’ve produced shows such as Pirates Week, Kirk Christmas, the Jazz Fest, private functions from various hotels and close-proximity shows, so are perfect for home applications,” said Ms Pereira.

Massive have a number of photographs available on its website at massivegroup.com so people can take a look through what the company offers.

“Our showroom is available for people to look at options, dress tables in different styles or meet with a planner,” said Ms Pereira. “Once the customer has a rough idea of what they would like and a budget to work with, we can make suggestions to them.”

Ms Pereira added that Massive has noticed a trend in customers wishing to cut costs by hosting parties at home.

“There has been an increase in at-home parties. Our customers have gotten more involved, they are asking more questions and looking at their options,” she said. “We’re very flexible and excited to see customers who felt perhaps it’s too expensive or hard to upgrade an event, and then have their event be a big hit with our help.”