Engraved invitation into the Smyth-Ryan home | About Your Home

engraved_invitation_about_homeWhen you feel as comfortable as the guests at your party, you know it is a success.

That is the ultimate goal, said Jane Smyth of Jackson Township. During the past seven years, she and her husband, Tim Ryan, have had two parties with more than 200 guests, a garden party of 90, and a political party for 50, plus a small dinner party for a fundraiser.

“We have a great home to entertain our family, friends and community,” said Smyth, noting there are 22 rooms in the more than 7,000-square-foot home, including a billiard room, sauna room, safari room and bar.

A pool, fire pit and fountain are just outside the master bedroom. A hot tub sits just outside the door, by the patio area, and her backyard faces a pond for winter ice skating/hockey and watching swans swim throughout the day during warmer weather.

More than the number of rooms a house has or the comforts its surroundings offer, the key to having a great party is in the planning, said Smyth, who hires a pianist or cellist for background music.

Tim Ryan entertaining at home
Tim Ryan entertaining at home

Their first party together had more than 200 guests—his, hers and theirs. Both had previous marriages. She was widowed and he divorced. That is a lot of planning.

“Making the guest list is the biggest part of planning,” she said. “You have to start early making out the list because the invitations have to go out six weeks before.”

If it is a sit-down dinner event, seating is another investment of time, and in some cases, money. Depending on the size of the event, seating for all guests may require renting additional tables and chairs, and coordinating linens, decor and flowers.

“The earlier you start planning, the sooner everything is done, and you won’t have to be running around at the last minute. You know your party is a success if you can enjoy it.”