Tips for Hosting a Cocktail Party at Home—According to an Expert

Tips from Slowdance founder Jung Lee, who specializes in world-class experiences with her global event planning firm FÊTE.

The essentials for hosting a cocktail party at home often include booze, barware and beloved guests. But to really kick things up a notch: hand-selected decor and event-friendly items can elevate any hosting atmosphere. If you’re mulling over the exact details for how to host a cocktail party at home, read our tips from Slowdance founder Jung Lee, who specializes in world-class experiences with her global event planning firm FÊTE. The guest list is the biggest worry you’ll have after reading her tips below. 

Invite Guests Individually

There are a variety of mediums through which you can invite guests to the home. Some prefer more formal methods like a traditional invitation sent through the mail. However, the digital age is thriving, making it perfectly acceptable (if not convenient) to send an invitation via Paperless Post.

“Create your own invitation,” says Jung. “Then, send it over text or email it through. It’s easier to have them respond that way.” 

Invest In Quality Sound

Alexa should hibernate during a cocktail party. Sound quality makes a difference during any occasion (hence, why, top DJs invest in heavy-duty sound equipment). With a cocktail party, Jung suggests purchasing a speaker or system from a reputable brand that links to your phone. “The Sonos systems are really good,” she says. “It’s also so inexpensive, and they’re easy and powerful.” That way, you can skip songs, mute if necessary and adjust noise levels for guests as the evening continues on. 

Prepare a Playlist

While on the topic of sound, cocktail party hosts should prepare a playlist that will set the mood. Whether it’s holiday-themed music or a crowd-pleasing, melodious playlist from Spotify, think about what your guests will enjoy as they mingle, sip and work the party you’ve pulled together. 

Prepare Delicious Fare

Cocktail parties wouldn’t be complete without mouth-watering appetizers. Think about what your guests enjoy noshing on most, from hearty mini brie bites to caviar. “I like a shrimp cocktail, especially when it’s perfectly chilled with the right amount of flavor,” says Jung. “If I was throwing a party, my go-to is caviar. Bite, a catering company we work with often at Fete, does this caviar that is incredible. You have to serve yummy bites.”

Designate a Go-To Cocktail for the Night

Your guests will feel extra special when you hand them a fresh cocktail at the door. “I like tequila and a spicy margarita,” says Jung. “You’ll want to get a giant ice ball or cubes ready, along with barware. An Aperol Spritz is also so pretty, along with Negronis and Old Fashioned cocktails. If you really want to get fancy, build a martini or cosmo bar so that guests can customize their cocktails to their liking.” More olives are a must.

Gather a Good Group

“It boils down to a good group of people,” says Jung.

“First consider the guest count. If you want to really spend time with every guest, keep it under 12. If you’re having a bigger gathering, gather 20 people… max. Every group is different so those are considerations to keep in mind.”
Finally, she says to cap the evening at a set number of hours. That way, you’ll be able to determine whether it’s a big, blowout party at home or it’s a cocktail-style event. For extra fun, lean into a dress code and hire a photographer for an hour. 


Present Classy Barware

All this to say, what’s a cocktail party without sophisticated barware? Shop our cocktail sets to throw a beautiful party for your guests.