One of the best ways to celebrate the joy and festive spirit of the holiday season is by hosting an intimate gathering at your home. It’s personal, memorable and lets you show your friends and family how much they mean to you. Hosting a cocktail party or dinner is no small feat, however, and definitely requires advance planning. This is why I’m here to help. While I am no Martha Stewart, I have planned many cocktail and dinner parties, so I do consider myself a seasoned host. I’ve also learned a lot from my fiancé, who’s proven that party hosting is in his blood.
Check out my top tips and must-haves for hosting a holiday gathering below. I also find it helpful to visit detailed party planning sites before the big day to make sure I didn’t miss anything. Some of the most helpful links I found are here, here and here. Happy planning!
1. Wear something you feel great in. This will make you feel more confident throughout the night. It’s all about the 70’s this season, so this Miu Miu paneled and striped wool sweater is the perfect way to stay low key, yet totally stylish. Pair it with a pair of dark bell-bottoms and you’ve got the perfect party look.
2. It’s always a good idea to properly accessorize for an intimate gathering. Statement earring are a must, and these classics by Dior are instead showstoppers and incredibly flattering.
3. To set the mood before you guests arrive, I always like to keep a candle burning in my powder room. Nest’s Pumpkin Chai Candle smells of pumpkin bread and spices, and really gets you in the holiday spirit.
4. Make sure you have fresh flowers. I always swing by Starbright in the flower district to pick out something colorful and seasonal.
5. Even if your dinner party is casual, I think place cards are a must. People feel at ease not having to deal with who sits where, and you are in control of the flow of the table. I love anything Karen Adams.
6. Use linen cocktail napkins, they’re just way chicer and add an element of elevation to your gathering. These Emoji napkins are perfect conversation starters.
7. I think confetti is always appropriate, but this eco-conscious, golf-leafed botanical version by Throw is by far, the prettiest and most camera-ready. It literally makes your table and also doubles as the cutest party favor.
8. Speaking of photo ops, Polaroid’s take the most flattering party pics. Check out this Mini 8 Instant that comes in a ton of fun colors.
9. Give your female guests a little party favor. It’s super fun, and will pleasantly surprise your girlfriends. Of course, I like to hand out beauty treats, and I currently love Fresh’s Sugar Kissing Lip Vault. It contains one full size lip balm in every color, so your friends can try the entire line.