Shivani Wazir Pasrich
Menu: I prefer to serve Kashmiri food for a festive do, or a mix with some Continental food thrown in. Special attention is always paid to desserts and salads.
Clothes: I either wear a sari or a salwar-kameez with jewellery. I especially love dressing up the children in traditional choli-lehengas and kurtas.
Decor: I normally focus on three things in a party—flowers, candles and the menu. Amir, my husband, takes care of the music. The ceilings in our main hall are really high, so I place candles on the ledges. The gardens are lit up with mashaals (torches) and citronella candles. The balcony has a glass ceiling with an opening from where I drop strings of tuberoses that smell and look great. Fresh-flower arrangements and garlands are strewn all over the place.
Trade secrets: (clockwise from above) Shivani Wazir Pasrich likes to serve her guests Kashmiri food; Mini Thapar Shastri likes to wear saris at Diwali dos; and Kalyani Chawla uses mogras for floral arrangements. Photographs: Better Homes and Gardens
Menu: Good food, alcohol and nice music are key ingredients for a successful evening. A well-stocked bar, iPod with great non-stop music, and an attentive hostess make for a fun evening.
Guest list: A compatible mix of people, keeping in mind their interests and professions and always infusing new people within Delhi’s niche groups, chosen with caution, turn out to be interesting!
Decor: I take great pains in decorating and creating an ambience with many, many candles and lots of flowers. During Diwali it’s tonnes of mogra (Arabian jasmine) and exotic flower arrangements. I am partial to diyas (lamps), incense and candles. I have an outdoor dining area which opens to the sky. The other side has trees from which I hang ladis (strings) of flowers or small light bulbs bought during my travels. I also ensure I have a creative table decor every time. I love entertaining at home, especially after the monsoons are over and the weather is perfect for outdoor parties.
Menu: I follow a set menu for my dinners. It’s either Hyderabadi or Kashmiri food.
Clothes: I am mindful not to go over the top, yet not be repetitive. I love Indian clothes.
Activities: I enjoy a good card party, but usually keep a budget to lose. We play very low stakes and basically have fun. It’s all about meeting your near and dear ones and celebrating.
Decor: I focus on the ethnic look. I bring out my silverware instead of porcelain. I love serving Indian food on banana leaves as opposed to place mats. Since I don’t have a sprawling home, gol takias (round pillows) and gaddas (mattresses) make for easy floor seating. I place a decorated urn instead of a bowl for placing money while playing cards. Parties in the festive season mean diyas for me. I also love mad, kitschy lights. I decorate with marigolds and rangoli. I love the traditional urli (bowl) with floating diyas and some flowers.
Mini Thapar Shastri
Menu: The food is always traditional. I live in a joint family which serves delicacies from UP. I handle the starters. I make the children pitch in; they love helping out with the dips and setting up the platters.
Clothes: I love buying saris by young designers that are traditional yet fresh. But when I am the host, I get into a kaftan or a tunic teamed with a great pair of heels and accessories, so I am comfortable, yet dolled up.
Decor: Designed for parties, our outdoors has a lily pond where we float candles on a metallic base (so as not to scare the fish). The gazebo near the pool is my fave spot; it’s done up with beautiful lights and furniture. We also pull out all the props that we have, like candelabras, which add to the festivities. Tents designed in Jodhpur are hitched up. Wicker is cozily set up in the lawns.
There is an indoor gazebo with glass windows that boasts chandeliers and lights with dimmers. No decor is complete without fresh flowers; they change as per the mood. Since my husband is into designer lights, we use them cleverly around the gardens and gazebos.
Menu: The bar is set outdoors and the dinner is laid inside. I live in my grandmother’s home, which is replete with unusual furniture. The dining table is shaped like a horseshoe and can seat 14 people. For parties we lay food buffet-style. I put up candles and flower arrangements along the tables. The menu is mixed fare, from Parsi dishes to Continental food to anything that is the flavour of the year. The starters are always aplenty and my house is famous for its dips.
Activities: I keep one room for cards with gaddelas (mattresses) and low seating, and one for karaoke (especially for the non-players). Once the singing begins, it’s a complete riot.
Decor: The flowers and foliage interspersed with candles and diyas look beautiful. I keep the lighting soft, with no direct lights. There’s a tree that I highlight with fairy lights which creates a stunning view. I use a traditional Parsi chalk, flowers and diyas to decorate the floors all the way from the ground floor to the fourth, where I live. All the doors of my house are done up with red and white garlands. I go to Tresorie, a Mumbai store that always has select, aesthetic stuff perfect for decorating in the festive season.
Manpreet Brar Wallia
Menu: My husband is a complete foodie and we pay maximum attention to the food. There are plenty of starters served hot as many guests come straight from work. The menu depends on the number of guests coming—if it’s a small group, I like to cater to individual tastes, but for a larger do, I stick to serving Indian food. I do not cook myself and rely heavily on a good cook. I only enter the kitchen 10 minutes before dinner to ensure every dish is correctly placed and is piping hot. We have a bartender to take care of the drinks.
Clothes: I like an effortless, relaxed look. I generally wear comfortable clothes that make me look dressed up, yet not too elaborate. It’s important for the host to be well dressed.
Decor: I don’t stress too much over the decor, but I pay special attention to the seating arrangements so that there is enough space for everyone to sit and relax. We make sure that there’s good music in the background for the first couple of hours of the evening, and then pump it up later if the mood permits.
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Photographs courtesy Better Homes and Gardens