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Expert Advice: 24 Hour Party People

Event coordinator Pamela Scrape of Extraordinary Events

Making party magic: A good and relaxed host; great food; good music; inviting location; a great mix of guests.

DIY or hire a planner: There really is not a time that hiring a professional is not more desirable and usually cost-effective. Most individuals have their regular jobs and get paid to do them well. That’s their expertise. Planning parties is the job of a party planner, and they can bring all of their experience and cost-savings efforts to the table when they do the planning.

Setting the mood: First, create the plan. For that you need to understand the objective of the event. Do people know each other? What kind of celebration is it? Then understand that the purpose has to be to make everyone comfortable in order to meet that objective. The invitation has to underscore that, and then the activities at the party have to also support the objective.

In tune: A good DJ can make all the difference in the world to create a mood and make sure that guests are enjoying themselves.

Valet: When parking is difficult or limited. Also if you want a first-class event that is easy for the guests.

Got staff: Only if you don’t want to work through the whole event.

Security: It’s always a good idea in any public place.

Theme scheme: Do not do a half-assed, badly planned theme. The theme should be carried out with food, décor, music, invitation and what guests wear. It must all be in the detail. Great idea but only if done to the max.

Gift-giving: A plant is always nice. If they own their own home, then a plant or flower for the garden. Candy, food items or wine is always appreciated. For the hostess, flowers, wine, candy, stationery.

Promodomo: You give the media a reason to come. You tell them it’s a benefit. You provide them with a write-up, photo suggestions, and give them interviews with someone they might want to meet.

Giving thanks: Both e-mail and phone call are acceptable.

The unexpected: I’ve had the eye of a hurricane land in the middle of a party for 15,000, planes that did not deliver a headliner, and a forest fire in the middle of an outdoor dinner. Also power failures that blasted out a headliner for hours.

Extraordinary Events, 13425 Ventura Blvd., Suite 300, Sherman Oaks, (818) 783-6112; www.extraordinaryevents.com

Event coordinator Rob Smith of Laurels Custom Flora & Events

Making party magic: In order: people, lighting, lighting and décor.

Setting the mood: After a great invitation has been sent out, focus on lighting, lighting and more lighting. And after you have layered the lighting, add candles.

Guest list: Usually your budget answers that problem quickly. As for whom to invite, I always recommend that the crowd be as diverse as is comfortable for the hosts. Conversations take on a new twist as well as plain ol’ people watching.

Formal vs. casual: Any time there is a religious or official slant to the proceedings, it pays to err on the side of formal. It’s like when I receive invitations that claim the event to be “Black-Tie Optional.” It really does not make sense because if you are to do the right thing, in this case a tux would be necessary.

In tune: Lately I have added a DJ to all of my events. I layer them with a live band and back them up acoustically.

Valet: You need a valet service when you have to ask the neighbor kid if he’s busy Saturday night.

Caterer: When you have to ask the neighborhood kid’s mom for her recipe for . . .

Got staff: It really makes a difference, as it frees you up to mingle as well as staying one step ahead of the party.

Security: Any time the jewelry your guests are wearing amounts to more than what you paid for your first car.

Avoid: Not hiring a clean-up crew.

Theme scheme: If you are clever enough to boil down the essence of a theme into something suggestive and witty, I am all for theme parties. Arabian nights? Suspend Turkish carpets from the ceiling. Venetian theme? Powder white the wait staff. The ideas are endless.

Evite or invite: Invite, preferably from Papel on Melrose, followed with a handwritten thank-you note.

Gift-giving: Always bring something the first time you go to someone’s home. If the couple is on the coolish side, I might start out at Fitzsu on Melrose, or Zipper on Third. If they are an established twosome, I might run out to Room With a View in Santa Monica.

Promodomo: You start with a camera-worthy approach to your event. Does it look outrageous? Is the guest list laden with celebs? Are they handing out camera phones?

The unexpected: After three days of programming lighting into a computerized dimmer board, it blew. Grown men do cry.

Laurels Custom Flora & Events, 7964 Melrose Ave., (323) 655-3466; www.laurelsevents.com