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Host an Oscars-caliber party: Tips from the Governors Ball event planner

Patricia Conte has a background in marketing communications and works as an independent writer. In 2010, she was given the opportunity to combine her love of writing and food when she started as a contributing writer for the Food channel...

Plan like a pro

Can you imagine a party that includes 4,000 small plates, 6,000 cocktail forks, 1,000 bottles of Moët & Chandon Champagne and 1,400 strands of Swarovski crystals?
Rendering of Governor's Ball

The 2012 Governors Ball to celebrate the Oscars will include all that and more! Plan your party along the same lines with tips from the event's planner, Cheryl Cecchetto.

If you'd like some ideas for how to host an Oscars-caliber party, you'll be glad SheKnows spoke with Cheryl Cecchetto for a few entertaining tips. Cheryl is a special event producer who, along with her team Sequoia Productions, will ensure 1,500 guests (can you say, stars galore?) will eat, drink and be entertained after the awards ceremony at the Governors Ball.

Cheryl knows the ins and outs of party planning -- that much is certain. This will be her 23rd year producing the Governors Ball.

Planning an event of this size clearly takes time, teamwork and organization (preparations for the party begin in August). If you're interested in a smaller scale version of a great party, Cheryl says the basics are the same whether you're planning for 10 or 1,000 guests.

Set the stage

For the Governors Ball, the décor will be simple yet chic and will bring the massive scale of a ballroom to a more intimate level. Large Mediterranean-inspired arches will help create spaces and lead people from one area to another. "Try to capture different elements within the space you have," says Cheryl. "Connect people with each other through different areas and activities." If you want to decorate for your party, pick a theme and work with that. Even adding simple elements like posters or flowers can make a big difference.

Move through the music

You probably won't have an orchestra for your party or even Tony Bennett, for that matter, but the Governors Ball will. "It's important to move your music in stages," notes Cheryl. "Start with low background music; then pick up the tempo in stages. We're starting with the orchestra for about an hour and then different musicians for another hour or so, until finally people are dancing to the DJ."

Connect the dots

Cheryl says that "to have an event, you need to host an event." If you are running around making arrangements and troubleshooting during your party, you won't be able to enjoy yourself or your guests. That's where planning, planning and planning comes into play. You won't be able to plan for everything, and not everyone can hire an event planner for their event, but the more you plan ahead of time, the easier it will be to enjoy yourself and your guests.

Eat and drink like the stars

Once the theme of your party is set, start to think about what you'll serve your guests. For Cheryl, the theme is set first, and then meetings with the chef begin. Famed chef Wolfgang Puck created the menu for the Governors Ball, and like Cheryl, Chef Puck has extensive experience with this event – this will be his 18th Governors Ball event.

Instead of a formal sit-down event, this year, guests will be passed small plates in a lounge-like setting, no forks and knives needed. None of the plates will be larger than four inches. This helps save space and keeps things simple. Keep that in mind for your party. It's not only more difficult to make arrangements for a sit-down meal, but you'll need more space, as well. Small plates afford the luxury of guests enjoying their food while standing or seated in a more relaxed area.

Photo credit: ©A.M.P.A.S.

Up next: Oscars-caliber recipes >>

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