Who’s getting ready to host their holiday party? We’ve been planning ours for weeks already (hello, wedding planner here!). Our friend, Katie Tejada-McDaniel, travel, business, and event blogger, is sharing some of her favorite tips as you prep for hosting your fabulous holiday party this year! Even if you have it down pat, these are great tips for remembering the necessities in the mix of the crazy holiday season!

 

The Holidays are the perfect time to host a memorable party or intimate dinner, and of course you want your holiday event to be the stand-out soiree of the season. More than that, you want your invitation to be the one that your guest accept and talking about it long after it’s over! An event designer can help you take your party to the next level by customizing the event to not only fit the theme but match the personality and energy levels of you and your guests. The key is to make the evening unique and to just have fun with it! To have your guests talking about your party for the entire year and clamoring for an invite to next year’s celebration, here are some tips for you to do the holidays up right.

 

Don’t Skim on the Entertainment

Glamorous 1920s LA Wedding

Photography by Human Artwork

Holiday parties are a great way to catch up with your friends and family, but a little festive background music always makes the mood. In fact, it can be the thing that makes or breaks your event! You have ample options for entertainment at your holiday party and of course, the easiest solution is to create a themed playlist over Bluetooth speaker or put on your favorite records over record player for the sake of nostalgia. Both of those are fine options, however, to take the party up a notch, consider hiring a professional DJ, string band, or even a classical singer that may fit the mood better for sophisticated functions. A professional can read the room in real time and adjust the music to fit the vibe of your event, not to mention any type of live music is guaranteed to amplify the entertainment level. They could also encourage your guests to dance if that’s the vibe you’re aiming for! For those throwing family-friendly events, it is also important to keep the kids entertained. Having a dedicated children’s area full of games, snacks, and throwback holiday movies will do the trick and keep them entertained all night.

 

Decor that Sparkles

Photography by Joelle Julian Photography

Decor and design creates the mood and theme of your party. The holidays are all about dazzle and sparkle, after all, and if done right, you can transport your guests into the perfect winter wonderland. You can never go wrong with the traditional green + red decorations with fairy lights and tinsel, but for those trying to go beyond the norm, I encourage you to think outside the box! Adding fun splashes of jewel toned hues, such as wine, plum, or sapphire blue, are sophisticated and stylish trends that are not often utilized. Pops of different metallic elements and tons of candlelight will enhance the winter theme and create a warm environment. The key is to juxtapose the traditional holiday decor with cool and modern elements to create a unique setting. Don’t forget scented candles to help indulge all the senses!

 

To-Die-For Tabletop

Redbird LA Wedding

Photography by Katie Pritchard Photography

Tablescapes and place settings require finesse and a keen eye for design. More importantly, it carries over your theme to what your guests are experiencing in front of them. Sure, traditional holiday dishes and colors compliment any classic celebration, but to step out of the norm, try elegant wooden dishes with a rich, warm glow or mis-matching glassware. Flowers and greenery are also great ways to spice up your theme while adding an organic element to the design. Working with a floral designer to create your vision is so important because as a professional, they will understand what is in season while bringing your vision to life in a creative manner. Also, don’t feel like you need to put everything and the kitchen sink into your design…minimalism, such as going with all candles instead of flowers and simple place settings, is a great way to stay modern and elegant without all the bells and whistles.

 

A Mouthwatering Menu

Urban Palate Tasting Downtown LA

Catering by Urban Palate // Photography by Joanne Pio Photography

I don’t know about you, but the food at any event is always the star of the show in my eyes. I firmly believe that the key to pleasing your guests is through their stomachs! You have dozens of options regarding the cuisine that you serve at your holiday event and plenty of ways to serve and display. Our favorite for the holidays is to do lush displays and festive appetizers in order to get your guests excited for dinner. Come dinner, we enjoy a family-style meal, allowing your guests to get involved and experience numerous dishes without feeling obligated to a plated meal. Going the traditional route of typical holiday cuisine is always a comfort-food crowd pleaser but it can also be over-done. To take your event to the next level, try expanding the menu to include not-so traditional items such as winter salads, braised and spiced entrees (really play up the flavors of the season), and of course, cozy dessert displays.

 

Something to Sip

Mulled Wine Cocktail Recipe

Nicole George Events in collaboration with Eder Photo

A great cocktail selection is expected for any soiree, but take it as an opportunity to ramp up your holiday party that much more! When determining what drinks to serve, red and white wines are must-haves, along with a few domestic and craft beers. Try creating fun speciality cocktails that include seasonal and festive ingredients that compliment your theme. Eggnog, hot mulled wine, apple cider, or anything pumpkin spiced are always crowd pleasers and Nicole George Events’ even has a Cocktail Recipe Series with a few Winter Cocktails to get you thinking! Also, consider serving both the alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions for all of your guests to still feel included in the festivities.

With all of these components in place, there’s no doubt that you can’t host a fun, festive holiday party your guests will love!

Author Bio: Katie Tejada (McDaniel) is a writer and editor with a passion for conservation and environmentalism who works with companies like Bio and Chic. She covers everything from the latest developments in HR to business communication, and enjoys writing about traveling, film and events.

*All images via Nicole George Events’ portfolio*