Throwing the Perfect Holiday Party, Part 3: Food, Drink, Activities, & Flow

Hello lovelies!

We’re fast approaching the winter holidays, and the good cheer is by no means in short supply! We know that the best way to spread that holiday cheer is to throw an unforgettable holiday bash, which inspired us to lay out our party throwing expertise for your festively fab benefit! If you’ve been keeping up with us the past couple weeks, you’ve seen us go over getting started, invitations, design, and decorations. But we’ve saved the best for last… food, drink, and fun! So without further adieu, here’s the final piece of throwing the perfect winter soiree!

Good Eats & Treats

The key to festive eats sure to impress is to have variety, while keeping things simple as possible. Maintain a balance of hot and cold, sweet and savory, meat and meatless. Keep things bite size if possible (dinner parties exempt), otherwise you’ll find guests overlooking dishes you’ve spent the day slaving over simply because it’s not convenient… Think grazing. Some guests may have diet restrictions, so be sure to provide variety with that in mind. Guests should be able to eat at least half of the options provided.

Get Your Drink On

Keep things merry, but easy. Unless you’re hiring someone to work a full bar, offer 2-3 staple cocktails and no more. You can get fancy with a couple mixed drinks, but cider, mulled wine, and eggnog are tried and true traditional favorites! Be sure beverages have varying alcohol bases, and just like your good eats, keep the hot and cold balance present. Leave the beer & wine for guests to bring.

Preparations

The most important thing to remember for prep is that you don’t want to miss out on your own party. For food, have every dish ready and waiting to go in the oven before guest arrival. That way, you are free to pop in and out of the kitchen as needed, as opposed to being a prisoner in front of the stove while guests wait awkwardly. Choose one or two dishes that can be made and served in a crock pot (slow cookers are a party host’s best friend). For drinks, make things in bulk before arrival, if possible. Put the cider on simmer, punchbowl on the table, and lay out a couple bites to eat.

Ready for Arrival

When all refreshments are prepped, get ready for showtime! Light candles, turn on some holly jolly tunes, switch on tree lights, etc. When guests arrive, you don’t want anyone to feel like “I’m the first one here.” They should feel at home, not awkward. It’s helpful to get a “partner in crime” (i.e. husband, wife, best friend, significant other) to be the entertainment buffer while you’re in and out of the kitchen, as well as to help introduce guests to each other.

And a Little Activity

After the mingling, tasting, sipping, and merrymaking have each had their time, you may choose to have a holiday related activity. Timing is everything, because you want to do this early enough that guests won’t be twiddling their thumbs waiting to begin, but late enough that most guests have arrived and had plenty of time to enjoy refreshments. We recommend having only one activity at a holiday gathering.

And that’s about it! Although the holidays can be stressful, the celebrations don’t have to be. Our one last tip to all you party hosts out there is something so important that we’ve found to be true for all of our weddings… Just enjoy. In the end, it’s you and your guests, and everything else is just icing on the (oh so merry) cake. We hope we’ve been helpful these past few weeks with all our tips and ideas for planning a fabulously festive fete!

Throwing the Perfect Holiday Party, Part 2: Decor & Setting the Stage

Happy December, lovelies!

If there’s one thing we love just as much as planning a killer wedding, it’s planning a killer party! Last week we gave you a bit of an introduction to throwing a perfectly planned holiday soiree, starting with getting those invitations just right! This week, we’re heading into part 2 of our holiday bash throwing series… Decorations! Now that your invites have gone out, it’s time to deck your halls and set the stage. Here are some key decor elements to get your home looking ultra festive and oozing with holiday cheer!

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Follow a Motif

If you’ve followed last week’s tips on making invites, you should already have an idea of what your party’s overall vibe will be! The main idea here is to be consistent. If you’re having a black tie dinner party, you’re probably not going to want to hang paper snowflakes from the ceilings. Opt for a more sophisticated, sleek feel. However, those little flakes are perfectly adorable for the likes of cookie exchanges, parties with kids, and ugly sweater gatherings. Remember that all decor should circle back to the invitation and attire!

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Texture & Color

When deciding on a holiday party color scheme, choose a couple base colors, then pick a metallic to use as an extra pop. The holidays are definitely the best time of the year to play up the shine, so don’t be afraid to take advantage of it! Using sequins or glitter for your sparkle adds textural interest as well!

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Holiday Staples

If you’re throwing a holiday party, your guests will be expecting to see at least some of the traditional decor pieces. There’s nothing that will make your guests feel at home like walking in and being greeted by familiar favorites like wreaths, ornaments, stockings, a menorah, a kinara, a Christmas tree, etc. Be sure to incorporate your favorites into the overall decor motif!

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Elements of Enchantment

If the cherry on top of winter soiree decor could have a name, it would be glow! The best way to add that finishing touch of enchantment is to incorporate that element of light. You can do this with candles, hanging lights, lanterns, a roaring fireplace, a shining star on top of your Christmas tree… Anything that shines will send your guests swooning, and set the perfect holiday mood.

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Getting that holiday decor just right is simple and fun! The most important thing to keep in mind is to stay consistent, and be sure every element makes sense with the rest. Stay tuned for next week’s blog, the final piece in putting on a seriously fabulous holiday fete… Food, activities, and hosting!

Throwing The Perfect Holiday Party, Part 1: Intro & Invites

Hi, lovelies!

During the holidays we like to take a break from weddings and throw some kick-booty parties! We want to pass on some of our inspirations to you, by way of a three part series… In the coming weeks, we’re going to lay out a start to finish plan on executing the perfect elements of aesthetic and comfort for your holiday party. We’ll start with printed items, then decor design, and finally food, drink, and fun! So let’s get festive as we kick off the series with invitations this week! Here’s how to choose and incorporate them into your yuletide soiree.

holiday-fetetetePhoto Credit: Paperless Post

Choosing Your Tones

The invitation is the first thing your guests will see of your holiday festivities. That being said, the tone of the invite should be in line with that of the overall party. If you’re planning a classy black tie affair, you should look for something clean with script, not have a silly reindeer or snowman. However, if you’re planning an ugly sweater party, that might be totally appropriate! Just be sure the invitation matches the event.

1Photo Credits: Minted

Method of Production

Creating invitations online is fun and easy! Some of our favorite places to do that include Minted and Paperless Post. If you’re having a more formal party, we recommend sending physical, printed invitations in the mail. If the tone is more casual (or you’re just looking to save some trees), take a peek at Paperless Post and you’ll find equally gorgeous invites to send via email!

2Photo Credits: Paperless Post

Details & Info

Some things to include on the invite are of course the date and time, what to bring, and what the attire is (if necessary). Is the party and open house, or a set time? Should they bring a plate of cookies or coordinate a dish with you? Include an RSVP date, which should be a week before the party. Tip: If you have directions or specific instructions on getting into your building, that should either be sent in an email or on a separate card from the invitation. Putting it on the invitation can get too messy!

3Left: Shutterfly, Right: Minted

And they’re off! Invites should popped in the mail (or emailed) around 3-4 weeks before the party. If you’re having cards shipped to you, be sure they arrive early enough to get them out on time. Then, while waiting for the replies to roll in, you can start putting together decor and details… which we’ll get into next week! Stay tuned for part 2!

min-stq-hpa-001_a_pzPhoto Credit: Minted

Bridesmaid Appreciation: Bridal Party Gift Ideas!

Welcome back darlings!

Last week we talked about not forgetting to gift your bridal party with something they will be delighted with for all their hard work. To help point you in the right direction, today we’re sharing some tangible gift ideas that we hope will get your creative juices flowing!
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Left: When He Found Her Right: Luna de Mare Photography

A Pocket Watch or Locket

For your lovely crew – a beautiful, engraved pocket watch or locket.

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Left: Carlie Statski Photography Right: Jose Villa

DIY Bracelet

Add a personal touch by actually making the gift! You can find step by step picture instructions here and it is super easy for the lovely ladies that aren’t the best crafters.

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Photo Credit: Julia Petit

Perfume

The great thing about perfume is that it comes in all sorts of different bottles and scents. Why not pick a different scent for each of your gals that remind you of them?

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Photo Credit: Autography

Pampering Jar

Such a treat to have a spa day all wrapped up in one jar. Classy Clutter offers ideas to place in the jars as well as a printable label.

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Left: Classy Clutter Right: Heidi Lau

CD

Personalizing a CD for each of your gals will definitely show them how much you value their friendship individually.

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Photo Credit: Q Weddings

Verona Lace Robe

These cute lace robes aren’t just for the big day! Your gals will love these simple silk robes for any occasion!

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Photo Credits: MakeItSpecialWedding

Leather Makeup Bag

The beauty of this make up bag is that you get to create your own custom message for each one! There’s multiple colors to choose from and definitely adds a little personal touch. Make sure to check them out here!

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Found on Emmaline Bride

Spoil Your Gals!

With these unique gift ideas, your bridesmaids will be sure to feel super loved and appreciated. Also, remember that there is no rule that says you have to give each bridal party member the same thing… feel free to mix and match gifts (as long as they are all similar in value). So, shop away or do it yourself, these ladies deserve lots of love for all their finances, time and energy they have poured into helping you prepare for your big day!

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Mirelle Carmichael Photography