MAYBE IT'S THE THREE-DAY WEEKENDS OR BECAUSE THE KIDS ARE OUT OF SCHOOL, but summer puts people in a celebratory mood. Whether you’re hosting an intimate dinner party or opening up your yard for a family-friendly cookout, the details matter — and when food is the main event, those details fo… Read more

BAR CARTS ARE MAKING A COMEBACK. Don’t take our word for it — there’s a Pinterest page with more than 16,000 followers that will make the point. A couple of local experts who have plenty of experience serving drinks and coordinating social gatherings offer tips on setting up your very own mo… Read more

IN A CITY WITH A LONG AND ILLUSTRIOUS HISTORY OF COCKTAILS (the Sazerac, Ramos Gin Fizz, Hurricane and brandy milk punch were invented here), there are drinks for every season and occasion, including delicious alcohol-free beverages. Summer gatherings generally call for light and refreshing … Read more

PARTIES ARE EXPENSIVE. It doesn’t matter if it’s a soiree for four, 10 or 100 — costs can mount quickly, especially the cost of alcoholic beverages. Buying wine for a crowd can be tricky — hosts are trying to accommodate  different tastes and pair different wines with the food while staying … Read more

MOST OF MY FRIENDS AND RELATIVES HAVE YOUNG CHILDREN, and I have a 2-year-old son, so I attend a lot of kids’ birthday parties. I’ve seen invitations with special requests for gifts — or “no gifts.” I’ve been to celebrations where the guests patiently watch the kid open each gift, and I’ve l… Read more

Costume casual may be standard dress for some New Orleanians — party to attend or not — but nothing compares to getting dolled up for a well-done theme party. If you are thinking about adding a little flair to your next affair, here are a few party pros to help you navigate this year's trends. Read more

If you want to throw a memorable party, no matter the occasion, there are many local businesses that provide unique rental equipment to bring flair to a shindig of any size. Here are just a few. Read more

What makes a party memorable? Whether it's for a birthday, a holiday or just to show off some culinary or mixology skills, event planners and hosts agree that the three components to a successful soiree are food, beverages and entertainment. Equally important for a host is setting a budget a… Read more

Themed dinner parties with that little something extra (such as a professional to lend a hand with the entertainment or the food) are en vogue, and can take some pressure off hosting duties. Here are a few suggestions that are fun for you (yes, you!) and your guests. Read more

Desserts. They're the treat at the end of the meal, the pat on the back after eating your Brussels sprouts and cleaning your plate. The dessert course can be as simple as a spoonful of ice cream, eaten out of the container while standing over the sink, or it can be more elaborate, like a gen… Read more

If you've ever been at a party and thought, "how much better would this night be with a snowball?," you're not alone. Nor are you out of luck — whether you crave a snowball, charbroiled oysters, a Lucky Dog or a few pounds of boiled seafood, these local eateries can provide your heart's desi… Read more

There are lots of ways to punch up a party by getting guests involved in the action: photo booths with costumes, second-line parades, rock-climbing walls, organized games, inflatable structures, dancing to live music and more. Interactive entertainment is even better when a host doesn't have… Read more

They can be cards, trivia or role-play, but games that are fast-paced and easy to learn make for crowd-pleasers. When planning your next party, try offering a few different options for guests to play. Read more