India's premier luxury lifestyle women's magazine
Verve People
December 31, 2013

By Invitation Only

Text by Viseshika Sharma

Throwing the perfect party is an art that takes practice and attention to detail. Verve speaks to five dazzling hosts on the social circuit, who share their party checklists from picking the right theme to caring about a handwritten thank you note, while always remembering the personal touch

  • UMANG HUTHEESING
    Umang Hutheesing
  • as-host
    Umang Hutheesing the host
  • Umang Hutheesing and King Gyanendra of Nepal
    Umang Hutheesing and King Gyanendra of Nepal
  • Dinner set up
    Umang Hutheesing: Dinner set up
  • Roohi Jaikishan
    Roohi Jaikishan
  • RRO-Cheese-assorted-selection
    RRO cheese assorted selection
  • Sanchita Ajjampur and Sana Rezwan
    Sanchita Ajjampur and Sana Rezwan
  • Sanchita Ajjampur: Sophisticated get-togethers
    Sanchita Ajjampur: hosting sophisticated get-togethers
  • Vinita Chaitanya and Sanchita Ajjampur
    Vinita Chaitanya and Sanchita Ajjampur
  • Sabaah Sheikh and Pushpanjali Chawla
    Sabaah Sheikh and Pushpanjali Chawla
  • Madhu Sharma, Pushpanjali Chawla, Vikrum Baidyanath
    Madhu Sharma, Pushpanjali Chawla, Vikrum Baidyanath
  • Table settings
    Table settings
  • The-Decor
    The decor
  • The-Bar
    The bar
  • Devi Cherian and Shobana Bhartia
    Devi Cherian and Shobana Bhartia
  • photo(9)
  • DSC_3936

REGAL OUTLOOK
UMANG HUTHEESING, ROYAL REVIVALIST AND FASHION CONSULTANT

THEMED AFFAIRS
Think regal!

INTIMATE DOS OR BIG BASHES
Mostly intimate dos, but I also have a big annual bash.

CELEBRATION POINT
Special events.

PERSONAL TOUCHES
My parties are conceptualised to appease all the senses and I personally look into the minutiae.

STAPLE INVITES
Personalised special cards and menus. Invites are followed by a personal SMS or phone call.

CATERED OR HOME-STYLE DINNERS
Mostly home-style, sometimes with catering support.

PARTY THREADS
I usually dress up. My attire is always from my own collection.

MEMORABLE HANDWRITTEN NOTE
The best I have received was from Her Majesty Ashi Sangay Choden Wangchuck, Queen Mother of Bhutan.

PARTY REGULARS
Those with style and substance. My favourite party guest would be my dear friend the late His Imperial Highness Ali-Reza Pahlavi, the son of the last Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi and Shahbanu Farah Pahlavi.

DAY FIESTA OR NIGHT SOIREE
My candles usually burn at night.

PALATE PLEASERS
Exotic sherbets that intoxicate the mind.

WEDDING PARTY OF RECALL
That of Princess Chantal of France. There was a fabulous ball and banquet at the Palace of Versailles.

MOST TREASURED INVITE
The request to dine on the United States Presidential Yacht with a select group of Washington’s movers and shakers. I was the second Indian invited on board, after Jawaharlal Nehru.

GRACIOUS HOSPITALITY
ROOHI JAIKISHAN, PURVEYOR OF FINE FOOD

THEMED AFFAIRS
I never work on theme parties. Entertaining for me is always about casual elegant gatherings at home.

INTIMATE DOS OR BIG BASHES
Intimate dos are nicer. Guests get an opportunity to talk to each other more easily. Bigger parties are also fun and need to have the right mix of people.

PERSONAL TOUCH
My mother was a very generous hostess, I have learnt a lot from her. Entertaining is all about sharing, having a good time and providing an environment that can raise people’s spirits. The gift of one’s gracious hospitality towards your family and friends is a way to stay connected, to share the good times and to build everlasting memories.

NOTES ON DRESSING UP
I have never done that. I would hate telling people to come in colour-coded wear to a party at home. Although I am sure that an all-white theme would work wonderfully for a beach party.

STAPLE INVITES
The invitation says it all…if it is a celebration, a house warming, birthday or anniversary. I do prefer invitation cards followed up by a personal call to each guest.

CATERED OR HOME-STYLE DINNERS
Dinners cooked at home. There is a vast repertoire that my kitchen menu can produce. Some are traditional recipes passed down from my grandmother’s kitchen. I have a large collection of recipe books that I always refer to for trying new dishes.

FAVOURED RETURN FAVOURS
I find that a box from Napolean Chocolatier is always an appreciated box to receive.

BEST HOSTESS GIFTS RECEIVED
I would not expect my guests to bring anything. Friends do indulge in getting me my favourite flowers, chocolates or wine.

PALATE PLEASERS
Hors d’oeuvres and canapés, with a luxurious platter of fresh RRO cheeses.

FUN PARTY OF RECALL
My friend’s luncheon in Amsterdam for her birthday was a room full of love, joy and good wishes.

INSPIRED SOPHISTICATION
SANCHITA AJJAMPUR, DESIGNER OF GLAMOROUS RESORT WEAR

THEMED AFFAIRS
Those reflecting places, ideas or an era that I’m inspired by at the time. This is constantly evolving as I travel a lot and am inspired by new things every day.

BIG BASHES OR INTIMATE DOS
Intimate dinners and dos where everyone has a chance to talk to each other.

REASON TO CELEBRATE
Usually not for any special occasion.

PERSONAL TOUCHES
Attention to detail is important. Everything has to be effortlessly sophisticated and endlessly inspiring. I make sure I identify the palate of each of the guests. I am also extremely particular about the drinks served. The music, décor and return gifts are of equal importance.

CATERED OR HOME-STYLE DINNERS
Usually catered, but always food prepared with thought and care, served in comfortable and inviting surroundings,

PARTY THREADS
Dress down in something that I am comfortable in.

MEMORABLE HANDWRITTEN NOTE
I am very old school – I love hand-written thank you notes on personalised stationery. The most memorable one was from Alber Elbaz, at the Lanvin after show party.

HAPPENING LOCATIONS
I have thrown parties at home in Bengaluru, Goa, Delhi, Mumbai, Paris and Milan.

FAVOURITE GUEST
Daniela Morera, Andy Warhol’s muse and art critic.

WEDDING PARTY OF RECALL
A school friend’s lawn party in New York City and another close friend’s party in Miami.

COOLEST INVITE RECEIVED
An invitation to a Yohji Yamamoto show and party.

CELEBRATING LIFE
PUSHPANJALI CHAWLA, CONNOISSEUR OF STYLE

THEMED AFFAIRS
Bollywood, masquerades, spring themes, ‘ball gowns and bow ties’, Halloween… the possibilities are endless. The idea is to have a different theme every time.

BIG BASHES OR INTIMATE DOS
Both. I hosted a small lunch for seven of my friends, on a sunny winter afternoon where the theme was ‘Hats and Pearls’. But then the ‘1001 Bollywood Nights’ party for my birthday had over 400 guests.

REASON TO PARTY
For no other reason than to celebrate life! But special events like birthdays, anniversaries and more, are just as important to me. I love making a production of big as well as small milestones, and always go out of my way to make the people I love feel cherished on their special days.

PERSONAL TOUCHES
If I’m hosting a party for someone else, then I weave their favourite things through the party theme. And when hosting a theme party, I try and pick a theme that will be easy to adhere too. I include suggestions of various places where they may buy clothes, even going as far as organising a deal with the store so that my guests may avail a discount!

STAPLE INVITES
I always get custom-made cards.

CATERED OR HOME-STYLE DINNERS
Small parties are mostly home-style dinners but larger gatherings are definitely catered.

PARTY THREADS
I always dress up as per the theme!

A HANDWRITTEN THANK YOU NOTE
is a beautiful reflection on the person who sends it. Not a lot of people in India send thank you notes, but I have received some lovely ones from my American friends.

BEST HOSTESS GIFT RECEIVED
Petit fours in my favorite flavours with my initials on them.

FAVOURED GUESTS
JJ Valaya, Rohit Bal, AD Singh, Sabaah Sheikh, Suneet Varma, Ameeta Seth, Rohan and Puneet Juneja….

CAPITAL ENTERTAINING
DEVI CHERIAN, POLITICAL TASTEMAKER

THE MIX
The guest list is always carefully curated, I don’t mix different sets of guests. There can be no cold vibes! We always invite close friends, never acquaintances.

BIG BASHES OR INTIMATE DOS
Other than our annual Christmas party, our parties are mostly smaller ones at home.

REASON TO CELEBRATE
Mostly for regular catching up. The celebrations are always when a friend has won an election or an award….

PERSONAL TOUCHES
We only send or decorate with rajnigandha, and guests always comment on it. It’s our signature Devi-and-Dilip Cherian touch. We just hate sending imported flowers.

GROUND RULES
All our guests also know that Dilip is particular about dinner being served promptly between 9:15 and 9:45 pm, so they are always very punctual!

STAPLE INVITES
I like to invite people with handwritten notes – it is the only way to host and give others respect. I then follow up with a personal call. Emails and invitation cards go out for the annual Christmas party.

CATERED OR HOME-STYLE DINNERS
Dinner is always cooked at home. It is generally authentic Kashmiri, Pahari or Malayali fare. (We also make sure to enquire about dietary requirements.)

VOTE OF THANKS
We have received the most excellent handwritten thank you notes where guests have said that they’ve enjoyed the warmth, that they’ve met the best people in town, and that they came for half an hour and ended up staying for six!

PALATE PLEASERS
Both Dilip and I don’t drink, but we always make sure that the bar is always well stocked, and we hire bartenders for the night. We also have a huge pot of tea brewing all the time, either green, homegrown lemongrass, or some other herb teas.

TREASURED INVITE RECEIVED
An emotional handwritten letter from a close friend, inviting us to her son’s wedding, asking us to welcome her daughter-in-law with the same love we had shown her. It was extremely touching, and how could we not?

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