Ok, so now you’ve set up your home bar just in time for festive action. There is no better time to break the first glass, shake the first cocktail, pop the first bottle and toast the first toast. A bar just isn’t a bar without people enjoying themselves and breathing some life into your creation.

BUDGET DICTATES THEME

The theme – Think of an occasion more than just the usual “Christmas party with mulled wine and mince pies” Pick a colour, any colour and tell your guests to wear that color. Apparently, it’s cool to do that in the suburbs, so I’ve been told. If that sounds too fancy, then there are so many options, it’s really down to how much effort you want to put into the party. I believe that if you’re going to throw a party, you should throw a good one, and pull out as many stops as possible.

If you’re on a tight budget, and you only have one stop to pull out, then no problem. The classic solution goes back to student days of BYOB (bring your own bottle). You can tell people to bring gin, wine, rum or vodka. This can make keeping the theme easy. Such as saying only to bring rum, then throw a tropical party with a Hawaiian theme. Use coconuts, pineapples, ginger and fresh limes for the mixers and you are halfway to paradise already.

THE INVITATION

Give a reasonable amount of time for people to organize their own social diary. Don’t leave it until the last minute to send your invitations to the only party you are going to throw in the year. Likewise, don’t tell people about the event a month in advance, as they will simply forget. A reasonable time to let people know is 10 days to 2 weeks. Start sending out invitations, and expect to start to get a response within a week of the party date.

Ask your guests to RSVP (Répondez s’il vous plait) or in plain English – please reply to let me know you are coming. Use social media or SMS to follow up.

The invitation needs to be memorable and evoke an image in the mind of the recipient of what’s to come. An original, hand-delivered invitation is the most beautiful way to invite your guests. There are courier companies in Vietnam that will deliver direct to the hand of your guest. There is nothing more exciting than to receive a beautiful invitation to an upcoming party the old-fashioned way.

If your budget is more generous, and you want to make the effort, then you can link all the parts together by making the invitation stand out with a hand-drawn card, sealed with wax and a ribbon, for example.

An origami card works perfectly for a Japanese-themed party. For a cheese and wine party, I once sent out a mousetrap and cork stuck to the spike where the cheese would normally go. Along with an old fashioned luggage tag with the written details of where and when the party would take place. Fun and simple. It’s all up to your imagination.

Shri Restaurant and Lounge manager Richie Fawcett is an artist who sits on Asia’s 50 best bars voting panel.