Holiday Party Planning Tips
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, making it the perfect time to host the most wonderful party. We talked to Lenette Kujawa of Aflair Events to learn a few holiday party planning tips.
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Styled by Lenette Kujawa; shot on location at the Kujawa home; flowers courtesy The Flower Merchant; bruschetta courtesy Touch Restaurant.
A Subtle Touch: Rather than trying to change an entire room’s color scheme, Kujawa suggests adding Christmas décor that matches your space, such as the white Santas and fresh flowers she added to this living room (opposite). She also added trees on the mantle, as well as wine glasses on the piano.
by Lenette Kujawa
• Set the Mood. Consider hiring a string quartet to play at your party. If that’s not in your budget, compile a list of your favorite Christmas carols and play them in the background.
• Play the Giving Game. If buying gifts for your guests, don’t just hand them over. Hide the gifts, then provide each guest with clues that lead him or her on a treasure hunt.
• Make Some Music. If you’re musically inclined, consider playing the piano and allowing your guests to sing carols.
1. Kujawa suggests displaying name cards on top of Christmas balls to jazz up place settings.
2. Add simple yet elegant décor to your space by pairing fresh florals with greenery.
3. Let your food play a role in your décor—be sure to use your favorite serving pieces.
In Good time
You can avoid party-planning stress by doing things ahead of time. We talked to Kristin King of Royal Events (Carthage, 417-793-2151, royal-events.org) to learn a detailed timeline for everything from setting a date to lighting candles before your guests arrive.
1 month before
• Choose type of party and theme
• Set the date
• Prepare a guest list and send out invitations, or call to invite
3 weeks before
• Find out any food allergies and plan your menu
• Try out any recipes you are not sure of
• Purchase any nonperishable items
• Rent any items that you do not wish to purchase (such as specific décor, serving plates, table linens, chairs, etc.)
• Hire any servers or bartenders
• Determine cooking times for your menu items and work them into your timeline
2 weeks before
• Purchase any liquor
• If any guests have offered to bring anything, let them know at this time what they can bring
• Try out any centerpieces with the table set up and make sure you have everything
• Put final touches on decoration planning
1 week before
• Call any guests who have not RSVP’d
• Start arranging furniture for the party
• Research any games
• Follow up with rental vendor(s)
3 days before
• Pick up, or have delivered, any rentals
• Polish any flatware or glasses
• Iron tablecloths and napkins
• Decorate as much as possible
• Mow lawn if necessary
2 days before
• Purchase any perishable food
• Make any foods that can be made early (like cookies or cakes)
• Wash and prepare any fresh vegetables
• Pick up flowers if they cannot be delivered
• Finish decorating and set table (if possible)
• Make sure you have all items for games
• Pick up any clutter
• Make sure coat rack or closet is cleared for guests’ items
The morning of
• Have any flowers delivered
• Place flower arrangements
• Complete last-minute decorations
• Arrange dips and appetizer plates
4 hours before
• Chill any white wine
• Move cars to accommodate parking
• Stock bathroom with toilet paper, soap and extra hand towels
• Make sure you have an emergency kit in a central location
• Have paper towels in an easy to reach area in case of spills
• Set up games
1 hour before
• Be ready for early guests
• Have appetizers in fridge ready to be placed when doorbell rings
30 minutes before
• Light candles
15 minutes before
• Set up drink station complete with ice