Party Lines Fêtes Accomplis
How to entertain in New York style -- whether you're throwing a ball or a barbecue.

Dinner Party: Tentation catesr to A-list galas year-round.

Invitations Marc Friedland of Creative Intelligence (212-327-1423) doesn't do anything ordinary: luxuriously thick papers, elegant typefaces, exquisite printing. Prices start at $20 each. Minimum order: $3,500. Print Icon (7 West 18th Street; 212-255-4489) offers a mix of custom- and ready-made products. Look for the polka-dot fold-up envelopes ($2) and the occasion-specific inserts (50 cents).
Equipment Rentals Party Rental (888-774-4776) has it all, including a kitchen sink ($100). Choose from fifteen china patterns; the most lavish plate rents for $13. Minimum order is $300 to $500, depending on the season. County Chair Renting (914-664-5700) is geared toward the at-home party- giver. Two dozen all-purpose glasses are $11.50, while the "fanciest" china pattern is $8 for a dozen dinner plates. Minimum is $75.
Hired Help The Butler Did It (212-255-7596) hires only the best professionals. They supply everyone from coat checkers ($18 an hour) to waiters ($20-$40 an hour) to expert bartenders ($50 an hour). Five-hour minimum. Aaron Armijo, owner of Waiters on the Run (212-465-8165), earned his Wharton School tuition working as a waiter. Rates are $25 an hour per server ($30 for same-day service) and $40 for a supervising chef. Four-hour minimum.
Cocktail Party Karen Lee (212-787-2227) delivers a tantalizing blend of Chinese and fusion finger food, from wild-mushroom spring rolls to sautéed dumplings with red-ginger barbecue sauce ($2,000 buys six choices for 45 to 50 people). The restaurant Dim Sum Go Go (212-261-7017) now has a catering arm. For the $500 minimum, you can invite up to 25. Duck, shrimp, crabmeat, snow-pea leaf, or wild-mushroom dumplings will leave your guests thinking they had a meal.
Dinner Cosseting the well-heeled since 1985, Tentation (212-564-7530) has catered hundreds of A-list galas. A three-course meal plus hors d'oeuvre starts at $85 per person; hors d'oeuvre alone, $50 per person. Food minimum: $1,000 for dinners, $750 for cocktails. Indiana Market & Catering (212-579-3531) offers highly affordable, beautifully presented meals whether you want sandwiches, a buffet, or the whole nine yards. Entrée, dessert, and salad starts at $30 a person; hors d'oeuvre only, $20 a person. Food minimum: $150.