Number of guests: 25 to 50
Save the date: 6-8 weeks in advance
Invitations: 4-6 weeks in advance
Three DJs Worth Taking for a Spin
The Roof Raiser
A crowd pleaser whose choices jibe with everyone from 8 to 80, D’City Sound’s Dwayne Brown, the Party Hype Doctor, is your man. His fee starts at $3,295.
The Mood Generator
For discerning tastes that lean to the eclectic, check out Frosty McNeill of Dublab, who performs at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. His rates begin at $200 an hour.
The Fan Favorite
Even if they don’t advertise, local talents, like KCRW’s Valida, often moonlight. Valida’s rate starts at $2,000.
Sound Advice From One Of L.A.’s Top Audio Experts
Contrary to popular belief (and a hit song), it’s not all about that bass. A great stereo system is about balance. Phil Werbin, president of Ahead Stereo, recommends a few high-quality pieces of equipment that blow minds, not eardrums.
Werbin likes Bowers & Wilkins (B&W) loudspeakers. Placed in opposite corners of the room, floor-standing systems offer the crispest resonance. At the high end are B&W’s 800 Series Diamond loudspeakers (featuring lab-created diamond-dome tweeters), which cost $24,000 for the pair.
Werbin swears by the Sonance Sonarray. “The speakers look like outdoor lighting for trees, but it’s all one speaker system that you spread throughout your yard.” The generous Sonarray subwoofer lends “a disco type of sound.” Eight Sonance Sonarray SR1 satellite speakers and one subwoofer sell for $2,500.
Whether you live in a Pasadena Craftsman or a Bel-Air McMansion, a complete music system means wraparound sound. B&W markets a home unit that, with the touch of a few buttons, pipes exquisitely rendered audio into every room (as well as outside), to the tune of approximately $1,500 a room.
So You Think You Can’t Dance?
Meet Interactive Dancers, the professionals who get revelers out of their seats and on their feet
We can’t all be Channing Tatum in Step Up (and forget about Magic Mike), but the idea of busting a move can be paralyzing for many. Enter Interactive Dancers, the fluffers of the party world whose sole purpose is to get people moving. “It’s more than just dancing,” says Jeff Atlas, who employs five dancers at his company, F&J Entertainment. “They’re positive motivators.” Interactive Dancers’ role is to eliminate that initial trepidation by leading the crowd through the in-line classic “The Electric Slide” or having them follow along to tunes like the Isley Brothers’ “Shout.” Atlas charges $350 per entertainer (and usually brings along two of his crew to the parties he DJs). If you can’t spring for a ringer, try playing dance instructor. With only a few YouTube videos, you can teach the masses a new kind of kick.
Group numbers that attract a crowd:
The Cha-Cha Slide
It’s the modern-day macarena. Three-fourths of it relies on the ability to clap, so even the most movement-challenged guests are able to feel the beat.
The Cupid Shuffle
To the left, to the right—that’s all you need to know to get started. The moves can easily be jazzed up after that for friends who like to show off.
Can you gyrate your hips? Move from side to side? Pick up this hip-hop sequence that’s simple enough for Grandma. (Seriously—watch the video.)
Is it Cool to Control Your Guests’ Social Media Flow?
It’s like that old shampoo commercial: I throw together a cocktail party. A guest snaps a picture and posts it, where it’s seen by two friends who show it to two friends and so on and so on. Before I’ve popped the first cork, I’ve pissed off several people who weren’t invited but still receive Facebook notifications from our circle of friends. I admit, I too feel a twinge of FOMO when a group selfie (minus me) drifts into my In-stagram feed. Perhaps we should start enforcing a strict #latergram policy or create a complicated, explanatory hash-tag. Or maybe I’ll just confiscate all phones at the door like Kimye did on their wedding day. The truth is, I know I’ve succeeded as a host when everyone is having such a good time, they forget to take photos at all. – Lesley Bargar Suter
ILLUSTRATIONS BY KIRSTEN ULVE AND MAURICE VELLENKOOP
PHOTOGRAPHS BY MEIKO TAKECHI ARQUILLOS AND JOSEPH SHIN