Host How I Host: Carrie Cowan
Hosts with imaginations all their own
Contributor to The Bar
"Details. Details. Details! Bringing in a few will set any event apart from the rest."
Psst... Did you know that you can get discounts on The Bar, and more, with Member Perks? Start today to save.
What's your process for planning a gathering in your home?
We follow our easy how-to hosting guide to be sure that everything goes off without a hitch! First and foremost, figuring out the mood or vibe of your event will set you up for planning success. Create a mood board that pulls together colors, themes and even dishes, cocktails and décor. It is a great visual reference, and you can add or nix images along the way as you hone in on the facets of your event.
What are your go-to party activities or games to break the ice?
We love to work in a fun DIY bar moment, such as a mimosa bar, spritz bar, etc. with spirits, mixers, garnishes and even fun glassware or bar accessories. Guests can mix up their own concoctions and break the ice by chatting with others about their drinks of choice.
If you are looking to go a step further with planned activities or games, be sure to introduce them a little later on, after some mingling or following dinner and dessert. Activities should be relevant to the occasion and simple or easy to play. For example, a fun game of charades or Pictionary is a great group game for adult dinner parties, while something like cornhole or horseshoes works well at a backyard summer barbecue.
"Activities should be relevant to the occasion and simple or easy to play."
If you had a limited budget to put together a small dinner party, what would you focus on for the tablescape?
Flowers! Incorporate a simple, store-bought bouquet on the table. Flowers are the easiest way to pull things together, and you can find some nice seasonal arrangements at your local grocery store.
What makes a great gathering memorable?
Details. Details. Details! Bringing in a few details will set any event apart from the rest. Incorporate colored glassware, fun cocktail napkins and offer garnishes for drinks. Speaking of drinks, a signature cocktail goes a long way. Rename a classic, put a seasonal spin on a classic or create a cocktail from scratch, and offer it as guests arrive. Even if they decline, it sets a welcoming tone and creates an elevated vibe. Not sure where to start? We have a how-to guide to build a signature cocktail.
"A signature cocktail goes a long way. Rename a classic, or put a seasonal spin on one."
If someone is feeling overwhelmed by hosting their friends in their home, what tips would you give them?
- Stock the bar and everything else will fall into place! Make sure your bar setup is easily accessible so guests can make—and remake—their own drinks and cocktails. Here is our full guide to a well-stocked bar.
- Accept help! If someone asks to bring something, let them. Dish out food duties or let them bring the ice. You will have less things to shop for and, trust us, they want to help!
"An empty dishwasher, trash can, recycling bin, etc. will make your (hosting) life much easier."
Favorite recipe or food to serve when hosting?
We love a good grazing board with an assortment of sweet and savory snacks like cheeses, meats, crackers and fruit. Throw in some dips and veggies for a well-rounded display. Why we love it? It is easy to make and even easier to refill.
What is the soundtrack to a dinner party in your home? Have any favorite playlists?
We love to curate songs based on the occasion. A pre-prepped playlist automatically makes things feel more thoughtful. A casual cocktail party calls for classic hits while a girls’ night in requires girly jams and a summer barbecue might work best with some “Yacht Rock.” See what we are listening to via The Bar on Spotify.
"Create a mood board that pulls together colors, themes and even dishes, cocktails and décor."
What is your favorite partytrick?
Start with a clean hosting space! An empty dishwasher, trash can, recycling bin, etc. will make your (hosting) life much easier.
About our host
The Bar helps you elevate everyday moments at home to experiences worthy of a toast with a top-shelf selection of spirits, cocktail kits, barware, experiences and inspiration.
Join their party:
Don't forget... check out The Bar, along with the many otherMember Perks available to Partytrick members. Join today!
Girls Just Want to Have Caviar and Martinis
The Caviar Co. inspired caviar, martinis, gal pals, games, great music… the perfect girls night in, with delicious small bites. This party is great year round!
Cocktails with Aplos
Aplos cocktail hours are the most refreshing ways to “take the edge off” after a long day. Connect & create a memorable experience.
The Big Game
Game on! Gather your squad and cheer on your team with this quintessential football watch party.
Shabbat Dinner Party
Hit pause and reconnect with loved ones this weekend with light, airy decor, warm bread, and relaxing company.
Hedonistic Holiday Party
More is definitely just right for this gathering. Call all your gods and goddesses to experience all the flavors any mortal palate can handle, inspired by DIO. This party is great for a holiday party, christmas party, or New Years Eve (NYE) party!
Grab your girlfriends and gather for a Supper Club filled with low-abv cocktails, pizza, and cookies. This is our Head of Parties' favorite way to host with a small group and can easily be elevated (even if you decide to skip the cooking) to celebrate any occasion.
Be Mine, Valentine
This crafty kids party is a great way to celebrate with your favorite littles.
Brunch with your besties to celebrate Galentine's, yes please!
Comfort Food & Caviar Girl’s Night
Is there anything better than a fun girls night with caviar bumps and colorful cheer?!
Get Ready to Sparkle
Expert tips, exclusive content, and the 411 on the latest parties
Thank you for your submission!
Start the party
For each party, our professional event planners have curated, styled, schemed, and planned so we can hand over everything you need to know to throw incredible gatherings.