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Party etiquette

 Revellers at a party [istockphoto]

October officially marks the start of the last quarter of the year and the unofficial signal to usher in a party atmosphere.

Despite a warning by the weatherman of looming El Nino rains, revellers are already planning lavish parties. It is the season of bubbly drinks, high fashion and opulent services.

Many will say, "I’ve got the people, the venue and the love," but what does it mean to hold a fancy private party whether by the beach or a fancy backyard?

With beverage companies, DJs, private residences like Airbnb’s and VVIP access to concerts, exclusivity offers a sense of camaraderie that has its own rules.

Popular city deejay Purpl says affluent parties strictly adhere to decorum.

“It’s the season when you get fully booked for private events, garden parties, friend’s reunions, birthday parties, but they (clients) do require strict adherence to protocol. For example, some flashy celebrities will invite only their close circle of friends," he says.

Occasionally, there may be a ‘plus one’ to accompany the guest.

"However due to Kenyans’ nature of crashing cool and exclusive parties, I have been to many parties where even prominent people have been refused access to the event since they were not on the guest list or broke the code but dragging a football team along," says Purpl.

Whilst many seem to struggle with party rules like the dress code, event’s theme and punctuality, more are embracing them.

“Things have changed. It’s not business as usual anymore where one wouldn’t care about how well polished their style was," says Emma Joseph, an event organiser.

"How do you expect to attend an all-white party for a youthful newly appointed Cabinet secretary looking like you are going for a political rally?" she poses.

Amor Thige, Westys Lounge club owner known for his popular white parties says it’s time people learn to read, understand and follow the code of ethics.

“I recently held an all-white party in my premises and as you would expect, a section of those who attended broke the code. I wouldn’t lock them out, but I had to create two sections, one for those in white while the rest awkwardly watched from the other end. In some other nations, VIP clubs frequently attended by celebrities would not give you a chance at all.”

City businessman J Staxx prefers organised lawn parties to avoid the chaos associated with clubs. 

“Most of my parties or those attending are (all) about business banter, networking brunches or champagne on the lawn parties, your appearance gives a strong sense about your character. It is very important to follow etiquette. If I invite you for a black tie event, dress like my dress code says,” he says.

Interestingly, making personal compliments in conversation is considered in bad taste, and so is any attempt to be overly gushy.

“If you are invited to an exclusive event open only to certain people... who want to mingle casually and freely, it’s a privilege to network and create profitable moments," he says.

And Sleek deejay Mayz, who hosts parties at Kulture Lounge, Kilimani, Nairobi, says big spenders are allowed private security in addition to the security personnel in the club.

“We are already in the season when people want to party every day. Such clients do not want disturbance from other patrons since it is easy for an intoxicated reveller try to join their table."

Recently, a popular social influencer threw a private party at a high-end lounge with an invitation card that had a list of preferred gifts.

“I absolutely agree with her. It’s in order to indicate my preferred gifts are perfume, a gold bracelet, a travel voucher or money in dollars. Some people just want to come for your expensive party, sip on the free drinks, nibble on the bitings and shamelessly stagger home without regard to how much time and resources you put in,” says Emma Joseph.

The question of etiquette is slowly gaining popularity as has been witnessed in social posts recently with organisers coming up with highly competitive innovative concepts.

The question is if invited will you keep up with the trend?

Well, times do change and so do trends but this is the season. 

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