The whole nine yards are essential; the aesthetic is abundance. Put everything you have into making it happen, and you’ll get back more than you ever imagined.
Every party should envelop guests in an alternative environment, swallow you up in happiness, and not ever let you know how it was done.
Preparation is the prelude to the fun. When everything glows and the colors make me feel like dancing, I’m ready to think about the food, music, lights. For this special occasion, in 2007, I couldn’t resist snapping the place settings, dishes, and other ingredients beforehand. The glass pebbles and polished stones are now in the garden, a happy reminder of a really good time.
Cleanup? Also part of the pleasure: if there isn’t any mess, there wasn’t any party.