Published: Jul 16, 2011
Here’s the typical Bahamian scene: Boy/girl decides to have a party for whatever reason. The first thing they do is either spread the word to friends via word of mouth or through some social networking site, or they print up something on paper at work, fold it in four and hand it out. (Why take the time to print up a nice looking expensive invitation that people will only throw in the trash anyway?) Day of the party arrives, you get glammed up for a party in someone’s backyard with the music blaring at its loudest and people standing around with a cup of mystery libation or a plate of something or other looking bored, ‘cause this is what your host calls a party.
If the host had been smart, he/she would have purchased a copy of “Party Planning Secrets: The Ultimate Guide to a Successful Party” by celebrity party planner and caterer Charlie Scola also known as “PartyCharlie” and read up on the right way to successfully plan a party. Actually, most Bahamians could use a copy of his book that outlines his five steps for creating the energy of an outrageously successful party: Tempt your guests with an exciting invitation; Greet your guests with a high-energy welcome; Entice your guests with a festive ambiance; Involve your guests by giving them something to do and serving your guests fabulous food and beverages.
In his book, “Party Charlie” who has more than 30-plus years of experience in the party planning and catering business provides all the necessary ingredients to plan and host memorable stress free events that will leave you and your guests raving.
“I’ve been doing this since I was a kid — moving tables and chairs in a hotel — that’s how I learned setting up for parties, and later on as a waiter, then a maitre’ d, then an assistant manager, then a manager, and then I got into the industry myself and opened my own company,” said Scola, who was recently on vacation in New Providence over the Independence weekend. He says creating his five steps makes magic happen.
“Step one is to give the right information, starting time, what they should wear and that you’re serving food,” says PartyCharlie. “Generally, if you say guys must wear jackets, ladies know what to do and that it’s a little more dressy. Get your guests excited to come to the party. Step two, receiving your guests at the entrance is the most important of all, because imagine going to a party and not knowing anyone in the room, you walk in and you’re looking around. First thing you do is make your way to the bar, but you’re uneasy until you run into someone you know. What if the host or hostess was there, arms wide open a hug and a kiss? ‘Come on in, by the way I want you to meet so and so over there.’ You create energy. Step three — you have to create the ambiance and let people know there’s a party going on. If your house is set up for everyday living, move the chairs around and open the room up. If you have money call me, I’ll trick it up for you. I bring in everything. Step four, give your guests something to do. A lot of people think inviting people over having a drink and an eat is something to do. We do that every day. What’s so special because you’re cooking something different and fancy? Give them something to do and inside ‘Party Planning Secrets’ I have 25-plus ways to keep people entertained. Step five is last but not least, and that’s to have fabulous food and beverage. It doesn’t have to be expensive food and beverage, because I can throw a party with pizza and beer, you can do a party with lobster and caviar, but my party will be better. The only way the other person’s party will be as good as mine is if he has read my book.”
Scola decided to write the book after years of doling out advice and people telling him he should write a book. The problem with that was “PartyCharlie’s” dyslexic. He finally took a personal development course called peak potential, after which he decided the world would not hold him back and he would make things happen. He decided to write the book. He told his friends he would be finished with it within a year.
“A year in I’m still on manuscript. Two years I’m still changing and arranging and gathering more information. Three years in I bring on a co-writer, Katti Lippa to filter it all through. Towards the end I bring on a friend Barry Stern to help me out and kind of finish off everything — the cover all that stuff. Where I was short with the knowledge, and information and talent, I brought the talent, but that’s what I do for a living anyway, I’m not the band, I bring them in. I’m not the lighting technician or power distribution, I bring those people in. I did the book in four years.”
In true “PartyCharlie” fashion the book signing party two years ago for Scola’s first book was amazing. Unlike regular book signings where people sit behind a desk and just write in people’s books, “Party Charlie threw a heck of a party, complete with a red carpet, gifts, stilt walkers, a Cirque du Soleil-style show, violin players, caricaturist, gambling tables, delicious food and the champagne, wines and beer flowed.
In his book, “PartyCharlie” says in today’s hectic world people need to take advantage of every excuse to get together and have a party.
“Modern technology has made it easier to communicate since we can deal with more people and do it in less time. However, technology is also keeping us apart. With cell phones, text messages and e-mails, we seem to have forgotten about the good old-fashioned handshake and hug. Parties bring us together, giving us the opportunity for actual human contact; something we are sadly missing these days. When we celebrate during any type of party, we rejoice, have a good time and make merry. Celebrations help us to release positive energy, fill emotional gaps and bring communities together. Best of all, when you’re at a good party, you get to share the best of yourself, increase your health and restore your wellbeing.”
While on his fourth vacation to The Bahamas, “PartyCharlie” who has planned parties for celebrities such as Elton John, Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Bon Jovi, Eric McCormack, Charlie Sheen and Aaron Spelling, and orchestrated the grand opening of Universal Studios Hollywood’s City Walk for 7,000 guests, Hugh Hefner’s Millennium Christmas Party at the Playboy Mansion, has yet to cater an affair in The Bahamas, but he says he would love to. His vision is of a party on the beach as the sun goes down.
“Party Planning Secrets The Ultimate Guide to a Successful Party” can be obtained at “PartyCharlie’s” website partycharlie.com or on Amazon.com for $24.95.
5 STEPS TO MAGIC
• Tempt your guests with an exciting invitation.
• Greet your guests with a high-energy welcome.
• Entice your guests with a festive ambiance.
• Involve your guests by giving them something to do.
• Serve your guests fabulous food and beverages.