How to Throw an Unforgettable Party

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Happy Thanksgiving Suds Buds:

It's holiday party time once again, and we thought we’d share some party hosting tips this week – especially since some of them involve chocolate!  Check out what entertaining guru, Preston Bailey, advises for the ultimate get-together and you’ll be on your way to hosting a memorable event.

"When hosting a party at home, don't feel that you need to throw an
over-the-top complicated affair to impress your guests," says Bailey, who has
styled hundreds of events for such celebrities as Joan Rivers, Matt Lauer, and
Oprah Winfrey.  "In fact, I find the best parties are relaxed, intimate
gatherings in which the host is actively engaged in the moment instead of
running all over the place trying to make things perfect."
Whether throwing a party during the holidays or at any time throughout the
year, Bailey recommends focusing on the following areas:

     * The Guest List:  Bailey often keeps his list small and asks his guests
       to invite two or three of  their closest friends.  The result is a
       party in which everyone knows someone, but also has the opportunity to
       meet new people.

     * Tone:  Bailey looks to an object, color scheme or occasion for
       inspiration.  "For example a simple pinecone might be my inspiration
       for a holiday party.  There is nothing more beautiful than lush
       evergreen boughs dotted with pinecones."

     * The Invitation:  Keeping the guest list small allows Bailey to do more
       elaborate invitations. "For the holidays, I might just send a single
       pinecone or maybe an exquisitely wrapped box of chocolates with a note
       that simply says, 'Please be my guest.'"

     * Table Setting:  Be creative with the centerpiece.  "Sometimes I
       surprise my guests by using something outrageous -- like a basket
       spilling over with hundreds of unwrapped pieces of beautifully designed
       chocolates," Bailey says. He has also used Godiva truffles as placecard
       holders.  "I make a small slit in the top and simply insert the
       placecard into the chocolate -- it makes a beautiful presentation."

     * Food/Beverage:  For some, there is nothing more exhilarating than
       cooking for a group.  For others, it's a dreaded chore.  "I will first
       consider my guests and determine whether or not they like to cook,"
       says Bailey.  "If they do, I will bring them into the kitchen so that
       we can spend quality time together doing something we all enjoy."  For
       groups that do not cook, Bailey contacts two or three restaurants and
       orders a complementary course from each.

     * Dessert:  Keep it simple. Bailey might choose to serve a few pieces of
       fine chocolate and biscuits on a plate from his vintage china
       collection along with some coffee, or maybe an after-dinner apertif.

     * Party Favor:  "Don't forget to give your guests a memento that will
       remind them of the great time they had at your party," says Bailey.
       Order extra from the restaurants that provided the meal or cook extra
       and send your guests off with leftovers in colorful Chinese-style
       take-out containers. "One of the best things about hosting a party is
       the leftovers you get to enjoy afterwards, and I don't want my guests
       to miss out."

In case you do want to cook yourself, and you really want to impress your guests, try one of these favorite recipes from the stars of Passions!

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, which means it's time to whip up a tasty meal. This year, the cast of Passions wants to help and so they have shared their favorite Thanksgiving recipes with you! Go to  for "A Thanksgiving Feast" -- Passions style!

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