How to host a great party in one simple step, by Michelle Ferreri.

Hire my sister in law Cathy Ferreri.

The End.

Since Cathy isn’t for hire (or maybe she is? ) I will share some of our combined secrets that will help make your shin-dig da BESHT!

This past weekend, my Sicilian in-laws do what they do every five years. They host a monster party with 120 of their closest American and Canadian Italian relatives and celebrate with a family reunion.  It’s always a friggin’ blast.  It lasted three days but when you factor in recovery, it’s a solid week.

groupshotBig shout out to Parkway Banquet Hall for hosting a great Day 2!

I know your party may not be quite as extravagant as the Augello Family reunion, but the details for success are the same.  I LOVE a good party!  Here’s my list of  7 simple tips that will have your guests talking about your party for YEAAARRRRRSSSS! Or at least on Monday at the water cooler.


Is it a retirement party?  Don’t hire a stripper.

Is it a kids’ birthday party?  Don’t serve gourmet appetizers and play Loretta Lynn.

Invite fun people.  Invite the right people.

Is it a bridal shower? Don’t sing this. Actually do sing this.  SING THIS AT EVERY PARTY.


One of the most amazing things at this year’s family reunion was a gift presented to each family.  My incredibly talented sister in law, Silvia Ferreri, hand painted and customized square canvases.   Each painting included a tree to represent the family tree and a photocopy of the passport stamp of the Matriarch of the family, which said “landed immigrant”.

silviapainting_nA lot of Silvia’s artwork can be found at her store Pensieri Shoes and around the Peterborough Area

I know.  It’s amazing.  She actually might be for hire;)  My point is, thought does matter.  It’s not about the cost.  Know your audience and think about what would make them feel special. If it’s a bridal shower, what does the bride like?  The colour green? Get a green cake.  Does she like zebras?  Get zebra printed magnets for everyone to take home.  Does she like Magic Mike?  Get Channing Tatum to come to the party.

3.  MUSIC.

Music is powerful.  Hire a DJ if it’s a big event.  Ray Henderson is the Ferreri DJ (that’s what his business card says).  Even for a birthday party at my house, we hire Ray.  With Ray in charge of music, I know I can mingle and enjoy the party with my guests! Be sure to pick the right music! Don’t be blasting Snoop Dog at your son’s second birthday.

#wearefamily Augello Family Reunion 2015! Day 2…will we last? You BETCHA!!

Posted by Michelle Ferreri on Saturday, July 18, 2015

dancingIf you are having fun, your guests will have fun.  Don’t be a stress case.


People need encouragement.  For my Irish family, that encouragement is alcohol.  Sometimes a bit too much.  Planning games or entertainment forces the group to mingle and get comfortable with each other.  It creates better and lasting connections.  Steven Case of Case Entertainment did a magic show for the kids and the adults at the reunion and knocked it out of the park.  Anyone who makes a real bunny appear from a balloon is a HERO. A HERO.


My kids are still talking about it.  Simple games are always fun too.  Jimmy Fallon is the master of this.  His late night show is FULL of fun ideas that cost nothing and will make awesome memories and belly laughs.


We need to eat.  We need to drink.


Great food is critical for party success.  You need to know your audience and get er’ dun.  Hotdogs for an elite group of athletes, not a great idea. Hot dogs for five year olds = home run. The Pasta Shop for loud overbearing Italians= perfecto! Be prepared, have it organized.  You don’t want to be in the kitchen the whole time, you want to be mingling with your guests.


You don’t want to be running out during the party because you don’t have enough napkins or ice.  Make lists and check them off.  Make sure you’re all stocked up. Plates, cutlery, cups, all that stuff! Costco has my life savings and I have enough red solo cups for long after the zombie apocalypse.


It’s not about a lot of people, it’s about the right people. My Mom, Ron Russelle, Pat Jilesen, the photographer, Rosanna DeNoble the bartender! These are some of the people who helped make the event fun and less stressful for all of us.   The bar was set up along with coolers of pop, water, beer and juice.  Rosanna DeNoble served mixed drinks, wine and a special “reunion” drink that was served to everyone! It takes the stress off the host knowing that the person in that position will do what you expect and do it well.  If they are awful and making a mess send them to a friends house to pick something up and accidentally give them the wrong address.


Plan a party already!!!  And invite me.