Need help for your apartment holiday party? 8 services worth checking out

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You've narrowed down the guest list and picked a date, but now it's time to execute the party. For this part, we're big fans of outsourcing. Who has the time to get it all together alone?  And New York City has no shortage of talented chefs, bartenders, photographers and more who are likely going to do a much better job than you anyway.

Personally we think nothing makes a party seem polished like a true professional on hand. And getting help cleaning up? Heavenly. 

Here are NYC services that'll  help you pull off a crowd-pleaser with minimal effort on your part:

Post the job you want filled—anything from set-up to clean-up and most things in between—on TaskRabbit, and you'll get responses from qualified (and vetted) candidates. Each will list their hourly rate, and payment is done online after the event. A quick search of people willing to clean up after a party came up with "taskers" charging everything from $16 to $36 an hour. A minimum payment of one hour is required. Every task is insured for up to a million dollars.

Gyst, a personal assistant concierge service,  just launched Gyst Now, a membership service with no long-term commitment. For $450 per month a personal assistant will complete 10 tasks for you (note: as of now, you can't hire a Gyst assistant to do just one job for you). That means you can hire someone for $450 to do a combination of pre-party virtual tasks (e.g. booking a caterer, shopping for decor, ordering food), and day-of party help, and cancel right after. (Or, if you have the budget, keep them on to help make life easier.) The trained personal assistants are vetted, bonded and insured. (To save 15 percent on your first month use promo code POCKETPA.)

Big City Chefs
If you want a chef to craft the menu, purchase the ingredients, and cook everything for you—and seriously, who wouldn't want that?—this service will do just that. There are set menu ideas to choose from, like Tuscan Farmhouse and Wine Country dinners, but you can also ask for a customized menu. Most chefs have experience in high-end, high-volume kitchens, so they're used to time pressure and can probably work in small kitchens. Prices range, but tend to start at about $100 a person for a four-course sit-down meal (including ingredients). Cocktail parties are more like $40 to $70 per per person (alcohol not included; but mixology is).

Plated Personal Chefs
The high-end chefs from Plated can do any type of party, from pass-around cocktail soirees to multiple course sit-down dinners. Prices run the gamut, but cocktail parties can usually be done for as little as $35 a person and more formal meals can go to well above $100 a person. The company will also coordinate servers, bartenders, even bouncers if need be.

Columbia Bartending Agency
Want a bartender with an Ivy League education? For a $30 fee, plus a standard rate of $18 per hour, you can hire a Columbia-educated man or woman to tend bar (glassware not included).  Add two dollars an hour and get dishwashing service (heaven!). Note: Rates increase if you're booking the bartender within five days of your event. They'll show up with a shaker set, corkscrew, strainer and bar spoon, but the rest is left up for  you to provide.  All bartenders have taken a Mixology course at Columbia and went through an intensive interview and competitive selection process. Every one is TIPS certified, but not insured. 

International Center of Photography
When blurry iPhone photos just won't do, you may want to consider hiring a photography student from the International Center of Photography to document the event. Write a short description of your job and email, and someone at the school will post your job to the student-only blog. Some photographers will have their equipment insured, others won't.

Hunter Helpers
Name your rate ($15/hour is the typical rate), and Hunter Helpers chooses from a roster of available, interested candidates. Many have hospitality experience, and can bartend, do some waiting or cleaning up/dishwashing. You are encouraged to interview and ask the service providers for references (terms and conditions are here).

GigMasters is an event marketplace that  can provide you with musicians for hire, from harpists to strolling violinists to DJs. They  can also connect you to photographers and party rentals (think karaoke machines!). Reviews are all verified and GigMasters’ Buyer Protection guarantees 100% money-back on payments made through GigMasters in the unlikely event that a vendor cannot or does not service an event as booked. Some companies are insured, while others aren't. Many have had background checks.


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