Birchbox Subscribe to Birchbox Subscribe to BirchboxMan Shop Birchbox Shop BirchboxMan Gift Birchbox BirchboxMan
Makeup Hair Skincare Fragrance Bath & Body Lifestyle Accessories Tools Nails Gifts with Purchase $25 and Under Birchbox Exclusives Best Sellers Limited Edition Boxes Birchbox Discovery Kits Value Sets What’s New Sale Brands for Women Latest Articles and Videos
Skincare Hair Body Beard Shave Fragrance Apparel & Accessories Gifts with Purchase Sampled This Month $25 and Under Best Sellers BirchboxMan Exclusives BirchboxMan Collections Gift Sets Sale What’s New Brands for Men View the Guide

Party Planners’ Top Tips on Throwing a Holiday Party

JESSICA BAILEY, PARTY STYLIST FOR EVITE

Light It Up: A holiday party should have some sparkle, from twinkle lights to party favors (Jouer’s Sparkle & Shine crackers are great for the ladies). If you're using candles, either go unscented or choose a single fragrance, like cinnamon or pine, so you don't overwhelm guests.

Respect the RSVP: I once went to an Ugly Christmas Sweater party that was loads of fun, but a few guests brought uninvited friends and, soon enough, there wasn't anything to eat. Two lessons learned: First, tell guests if it’s an invite-only affair, or ask them to let you know in advance how many plus-ones they’ll be bringing. Second, be sure to have plenty of food. One of my go-to options: a cheese plate with figs and my Aunt Mae's famous Rosemary Cashews.

Signature Drinks: I like to have apple cider heating on my stove when guests arrive so it smells warm and inviting. And I love a Moscow Mule; try adding rosemary and/or cranberry for a holiday spin. Also fun: mistletoe martinis garnished with mini candy canes.

KATHRYN KNOX, FOUNDER OF ECO-EVENTS COMPANY STONE SEVYN

On Dinner and Décor: You want your guests to be satisfied, not stuffed. Think arugula salad with cranberries and pecans; butternut squash bisque; quinoa-stuffed peppers. As for the table: Focus on the centerpiece. I’m currently into metallic tones; if an evergreen garland is your foundation, complement it with something like Illume’s Demi Mercury Glass Candles for a touch of sophistication.

An Element of Surprise: An unexpected thematic detail adds a bit of whimsy. Serve roasted nuts from a Metallic Zebra Dish by Jonathan Adler or hot chocolate in Kate Spade’s zig zag–print mugs. To pique guests' interest from the get-go, combine the invitation with a small gift (as long as your guest list is small). One of Jonathan Adler’s animal-shaped porcelain ornaments would do just the trick.

Look The Part: I like to coordinate my outfit with the overall theme and décor. This does not mean I’m dressing up as a holiday tree! To go with the zebra dish and zig-zag mugs, I might wear faux-snakeskin Stella McCartney pumps and accessories by Cave Collective and Samma. Last but not least, I like RMS Beauty’s metallic Cream Eyeshadow in Magnetic, and RGB Nail Polish in Dew and Vellum (I’ll throw in a different color on a few nails to keep it fun).

CARLA RUBEN, PRESIDENT OF CREATIVE EDGE PARTIES

Do’s and Don’ts: Set expectations right from the invitation; don’t invite guests at dinnertime and only serve hors d’oeuvres, for example—they will go home hungry. Use Pandora or Spotify to make a great playlist; don’t just count on your iPod. Don’t have guests throw their coats on the bed; throw yours on the bed and let them use the closet. And finish any preparation that you can the day before—not the day of. If you’re relaxed and having a good time, the guests will follow your lead.

Food for Thought: I love using seasonal foods to decorate. Your local farmers market or Whole Foods is a great place to find inspiration. Snacks displayed in glass containers can fill a coffee table—no need for flowers. A small cake stand with cheese balls or gougères under a cloche can add a wonderfully interactive element.

To Gift or Not to Gift: I always encourage guests not to bring gifts. Their presence is the only gift needed, and if someone brings flowers you’ll be stopped in your tracks—now you need to find a vase and trim the arrangement to fit. That said, a bottle of wine or a scented candle (better still: Laura Mercier’s La Petite Patisserie Travel Candle Trio) is always welcome.

comments powered by Disqus