If anyone knows how to throw a party, it's Joanna Biondi, owner of Café Primavera. She's at the helm of a restaurant and catering powerhouse that has kept guests happy at all types of Silicon Valley celebrations, from large corporate shingdigs to wedding receptions to intimate holiday gatherings. Biondi offers these tips for stress-free and memorable parties:

        Make a plan: "The first thing I do when I meet with clients is to ask them what their goal is?" "What are they trying to accomplish? How are we going to get there? How are we going to make that happen?" Thinking about these things will focus all other aspects of the party: food, décor, music.

        Map it out: Every party has a flow to it. Identifying that flow means your party will be a streamlined experience for you and your guests. Figure out where guests will leave coats, purses and hostess gifts. Where will they eat? Where will they sit? Biondi recommends designating someone as a greeter to collect belongings and guide guests to the gathering.

        Offer a signature cocktail: It's an easy way to add a personal touch to your bar. The key is to keep it simple and elegant. One of Biondi's favorite drinks is white cosmos made with white cranberry juice. Mix ahead of time so the drinks just need to be poured when guests arrive. For even more pizzazz, serve those cosmos at a martini bar, Biondi says. Everything is prepped ahead of time and served buffet-style: your pre-made cocktail mix, glasses rimmed with flavored sugars and sweet and savory additions. Guests mix and match to create their own drink.


        Get help: If you can, hire a caterer. "They can do everything for you," Biondi says.