Host a Sophisticated Labor Day Party on Your Rooftop
The summer is about so much more than long days and warm weather; in New York City, it’s the perfect time to enjoy your outdoor space while entertaining friends and colleagues. This Labor Day, end the summer on a high note with a rooftop fete where your guests can drink, dance, and mingle while bidding the summer a fond farewell. Here’s how:
Dress to the nines: Setting the right mood for a party starts with letting everyone know what they can expect long before the celebration starts. About a month before the festivities are scheduled to take place, send your guests an invitation that specifies whether the party will be a casual cookout or a formal event. For theme parties, make sure your expectations are clear: if you’re expecting your guests to show up in costumes, all white, or have any other sartorial specifications, note that explicitly on the invitations. Most importantly, conform to the theme yourself — there’s nothing more embarrassing than showing up in full regalia only to find that everyone else is still in the same clothes they wore to work.
Hire a bartender: Instead of spending your entire party making sure everyone has a drink in hand and the punch isn’t taking on a soupy feel after sitting in the sun for hours, leave the libations to the professionals. Hiring a bartender or catering staff can make the party run far more smoothly while sparing you the stress of having to serve as the host and wait staff all at once. Even better, you won’t have to worry about your personal collection of crystal flutes and tumblers getting broken or lost in the shuffle, as any reputable catering company will provide their own. To make the event particularly memorable, come up with a signature cocktail for the party with your bartender a week or so in advance — fun ideas include red and white sangria with blueberries for patriotic events, or era-specific drinks like gin fizzes and champagne punch for parties with a vintage feel.
Customize your catering: Making sure all of your guests are comfortable is more than just about having plenty of seating room and enough drinks to go around. To ensure that everyone is having a good time, make sure you leave room on the event’s RSVP card, whether physical or digital, where your guests can specify their food preferences, aversions, and allergies. Ensure there’s a gluten-free option for guests whose diet demands it, a vegan option for the animal lovers in the crowd, as well as hard-to-hate snacks like finger sandwiches, crudité platters, and hummus. Despite your best intentions, not all of your friends will love the taste of caviar, uni, or oysters, and a celebration isn’t the time to try to expand their culinary horizons, so make sure there’s enough variety so that everyone can eat. Prior to the party, make sure you discuss the frequency and duration of food being passed by any wait staff — nobody wants to feel like they’re chasing down the catering staff all evening just to get a bite, but having your conversations constantly interrupted by another offer of mini quiche is not much better.
Get some live music: One of the easiest ways to liven up any party is with the addition of live music. Hiring a band, whether it’s a 10-piece jazz ensemble or classical quartet, will give your celebration an elegant feel while providing your guests an activity to enjoy — when there’s a lull in conversation, they can always break away to watch the band or dance. Make sure that you pre-confirm any musical selections before the party’s underway; nothing ruins a sophisticated soiree’s vibe like the band breaking into a live rendition of “Livin’ On a Prayer.”
Decorate for the occasion: Perhaps the most important part of any successful party is committing to the theme through décor. If your building has a rooftop cinema, like the Park Slope luxury condos at Baltic, reference your party’s theme by screening a movie that corresponds to it, or have a digital reel of on-theme photos playing in the background. Make sure that the space feels like it’s been customized for your event by adding lighting, enough seating for all of your guests, and customized table settings with place cards and holders that suit the theme of your event, like, for instance, adding red, white, and blue borders on your place cards for Labor Day.
Throwing a great party is more than just pouring drinks and offering up a dance floor; this summer, if you’re throwing a rooftop soiree, make sure you’re doing it right and go all out. From hiring bartenders to mix signature cocktails to having live performances taking place during the festivities, make this summer one your friends won’t forget by making sure no expense or detail is spared.
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