Auckland's Coolest Party People Share Tips For Throwing A Great Bash
Viva talks to seven creatives who know what it takes to put on a great party
If a party or event seems to flow effortlessly from one hour to the next, it's usually because there's a coterie of people expending that effort behind the scenes. Keeping the drinks flowing, food appearing and great music playing to carry the mood of the evening can be no small task, but these Auckland folk know their way around a successful event.
Vinci Gin-Nen, who until recently worked for hospitality company Savor Group as its marketing and events director, might prefer to let the spotlight shine on others but he's to thank for many unforgettable events at the company's venues including Seafarers and Karangahape Rd's Las Vegas.
In the four years he worked for the company, he organised parties and events for nearly every big-name celebrity to visit New Zealand in recent years, Justin Bieber, Adele, Drake, Celine Dion and Oprah Winfrey among them. "Each event has to have a moment that needs to create a lasting memory," he says. "Every event should leave a story."
There were many stories to be told from fashion designer Jessica Grubisa's hoedown-themed 30th birthday party, which Vinci was instrumental in organising and which anyone who attended would agree was the party of the year. The co-founder of label Harman Grubisa, who fittingly names Dolly Parton as one of her style icons, transformed Las Vegas bar into a barnyard, complete with a life-size horse and hay bales, videos of Madonna projected on the walls and an all-night roster of DJs who kept the dancefloor heaving.
A favourite moment from the event was a surprise video from her overseas friends that played in the middle of the party. "Moments after, 100 shots came out at midnight and everyone sung Happy Birthday while I blew out the candles on some tequila," she remembers.
Speaking of drinks, restaurant manager Shawny McCartney of rooftop bar Parasol & Swing has a few suggestions for a good night out — three in fact, in the form of cocktails: Aperol or Campari Spritz, Daiquiri and Negroni. When it comes to her top three ingredients to keep at home for making drinks at short notice, she says it's best to keep things simple and says the classic trio of gin, tonic and citrus will never let you down.
Husband-and-wife duo Jaimie Webster Haines and Nathan Haines know what it takes to keep a party alive with great tunes. Operating under the moniker Zoot Music, award-winning musician/producer Nathan and fashion designer/DJ Jaimie create custom soundtracks, in-house DJ installations and live music set-ups for parties and luxury stores, and brand identities for various companies.
Both inherently stylish, they can often be seen spinning the decks at the coolest fashion parties and both know how to enhance their image with what they wear — usually in something from Jaimie’s eponymous clothing label, which she sells through Instagram. "I'm almost always head-to-toe in Jaimie outfits," says Nathan. "They make me feel good and as they are a relaxed style I can get down to the serious business of proper partying." Jaimie is enjoying making a few exclusive pieces again. "I love to add in some special pieces from local designers and boutiques to mix it up," she says.
Another stylish and creative duo about town is Andrea Orani and Eliza Trubuhovich. They're both part of Dynasty Collective, a community platform founded by Andrea that highlights creative women of colour. Dynasty operates through a radio show every second Tuesday on BaseFM, as well as events and video content.
Andrea and Eliza DJ both individually and together — having recently returned from London and New York, Eliza is also a photographer and creative director, and Andrea counts an overseas set they played together as a favourite party memory. "Playing a set in London at Somerset house for NTS x Hennessy, that was the most surreal time as it was a first playing internationally and it really hit me. I'm happy El and I got to do that together."
When it comes down to it, everyone's party style is different, however these experts share some universal tips that should help whether you're having a banging bash or a sophisticated soiree.
Jessica Grubisa: "Champagne."
Vinci Gin-Nen: "Tequila. It’s an uppity drink, takes the edge off and lets down a few guards."
Andrea Orani: "I like tequila and ginger ale with lots of ice and lime."
Eliza Trubuhovich: "Love a G&T or espresso martini."
Nathan Haines: "No Ugly Cucumber on ice with a dash of bitters — I don't drink alcohol."
Jaimie Webster Haines: "No Ugly with vodka. Or Champagne, please."
Shawny McCartney: "Daiquiri."
Jessica: "M.A.C. Prep + Prime Fix+ Spray."
Nathan and Jaimie: "Flat shoes and sunglasses. All of a sudden it's daylight and then what do you do?!"
Eliza: "Tissues are a restroom essential, gum and mints."
MIND YOUR MANNERS
Nathan and Jaimie: "Don't offer to play music off your phone, especially Spotify — you're not the DJ. Leave it to the pros!"
Shawny: "Always be a responsible host and have snacks."
Andrea: "Don't request songs off the DJ ever, eat before you party and leave when you know you're getting too messy."
Eliza: "Party with friends that you have the most fun with."
Jessica: "Stay hydrated. Leave before the lights come on."
Nathan and Jaimie: "Don't peak too early."
Shawny: "Don't forget to enjoy yourself."
Vinci: "Plan your event with a beginning, middle and end in mind. Too many people do too much or too little when they should really do something else and not plan parties."
Shawny: "Have banging tunes and different vibes for different parts of your evening."
Nathan and Jaimie: "You can't party without decent sounds."
TAKE ME DANCING
Eliza: "Seven, and Dynasty events."
Vinci: "Lately there's been a resurgence in Sydney — Pamela's is my current fave."
Andrea: "The L.E.S in NYC."
Nathan and Jaimie: "Any party that Flamingo Pier put on or any gig where Frank Booker is playing. And any of our own gigs too! And The Boog at Neck of the Woods."
Jessica: "Everywhere, sweetie."
Andrea: “Back to Life by Soul2Soul, any track by Sean Paul, Joanna by Afro B.”
Jessica: “Gypsy Woman by Crystal waters, Teardrops by Womack & Womack, Strong Enough by Cher.”
Shawny: “Body Groove - Mix MC Version by Architechs & Nana, When will I see you again - Amtrac Remix by Shakka & Amtrac, Vote by Miguel.”
Eliza: “Lapdance by N.E.R.D, Ye by Burna Boy, Gypsy Woman by Crystal Waters.”
Vinci: "Finally by Cece Peniston, Glow of Love by Luther Vandross, Sing it Back by Moloko.”
OUR PARTY VIBE
Nathan and Jaimie: "Let's cut a rug, a little jive and jitterbug. We want the best, we won't settle for less. Don't be a drag; participate. Celebrate good times come on!"
Eliza: “Energy! Song selection, diversity and location.”
Vinci: “A fusion of personality and the unknown.”
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