If I had a canape for every time I've been asked "How can I get on the guest list?" I would be a very robust gal. And if I may be a little cheeky here, the answer funnily enough is simple: make friends with a PR. It's really not much more complicated than that! When we were kids it was about having a friend with a beach house, when we were teens we all wanted a friend with a car - and now that I'm in my 30's it's about having a friend with a private jet, luxury yacht and their very own island.
I'm still looking.
At 22 years old I was 2 weeks into my job at CavCon when I asked Mark if I could invite some friends to the first event I was helping on, which was a glam restaurant launch in The Rocks. He said I could invite 3 friends...so being cheeky I invited 20. What good is a job putting on parties if you can't invite your mates! So my friends all came, and being their first media event ever they were absolutely bright eyed, bushy-tailed and glammed up to the nines. They couldn't believe that the drinks were actually free - one even went for her wallet when a waiter came over with a tray of cocktails. They were all a-buzz and absolutely loving it.
The following Monday morning Mark came by and silently dropped The Sunday Telegraph on my desk. Smiling as he walked away, he said "You can invite your friends any time." As I opened the paper I saw that Melissa Hoyer's lead article was about our launch, with the opener along the lines of "What a breath of fresh air, to be amongst a sea of bright, new faces instead of all the usual suspects" - and opposite was an entire photo gallery of my friends. I was beyond proud.
So not to blow smoke up my own party skirt, but my friends have been very spoilt over the years. Goodie bag products line their bathrooms, they have secret stashes of clippings of themselves in the social pages, and sometimes they accidentally walk away from a normal bar without paying. But they have always been very appreciative and deserving of the invites, and sometimes they get even more - my boyfriend at the time won a weekend away for being Best Dressed at the Social Diary REHAB Party. No, I wasn't on the judging panel - he was dressed as a giant ecstasy pill after all...hands down the winner according to the judges and the 600 screaming guests. Several friends have pashed Topless Events boys at my parties (you know who you are!) - but most importantly, one pair of friends had their very first kiss at one of my events, and are now happily married with their second baby on the way. Fortuitous moments like this remind me that while some of the work we PRs do is "just lipstick", there are times when parties really do make the world a lovelier place.
And there are times when we can all help each other out a bit too. One girlfriend of mine was suffering a broken heart after being dumped, so I was really wanting to lift her spirits. I brought her out to a few events to cheer her up when I had a fabulous idea. Knowing that her ex was an avid reader of the socials, I wrangled a pic of my unsuspecting friend with the hottest guy I could find in the room.
Lo and behold, the pic of this spunky man with his arms around my gorgeous friend appeared in the Sundays the following weekend, and I still imagine her ex spluttering his morning coffee all over it. Chalk one up for the ladies!
Needless to say these days my friends are a little harder to coax out! Jaded, much? So they're a little spoilt, but not quite as spoilt as the fashion identity I once spotted walking into a party. As the waiter came over and offered her a glass of bubbly, she picked it up, took a sip and put it back down. Loudly declaring "it's not French", she turned on her heel and left. This woman clearly needs to stop going to the opening of a door and take some time out to re-appreciate her social position! I get sad sometimes that some people in this town who are lucky enough because of their social standing or job to get invited to so many events, often don't appreciate them. I still absolutely love all events - big or small, sparkly or sombre, fabulous or spartan- I think when you've produced them yourself you can appreciate the effort that goes into all of them, even if the result is less than stellar.
So if you want to avoid the jaded party set, look to your younger staff for a potential array of fabulous, new, sparkly guests. My Breakfast PR girls did a fabulous job of keeping our parties stocked with bright young things. Particularly as some of us (ahem) *mature* PRs were getting, well, more mature.
Making friends with a PR aside, being a desirable guest is the key to getting on the lists in the first place. If you do get the opportunity to attend a glamorous event, be the kind of person you would want at your own party. Bring something to the party in the way of personality and energy. Frock up and dazzle! Don't get wasted, or sit in the corner, or talk through the speeches. Do you hate it when someone at a party bangs on to you about how tired they are or how over-worked? Don't be that person! If you're tired or grumpy, stay home and party another night. I love it when people come looking fabulous, greet the host, work the room, respect the speech element, start everyone dancing and call to say thank you the following day. They always get invited back.