Planning to throw a holiday shindig this year? Don’t be the hostess scrambling in her bathrobe two minutes before guests start arriving. We have expert tips to make sure your soiree is as big of a hit as say, Martha Stewart’s. Oh by the way, read her holiday party game plan here.
David Tutera, celebrity wedding planner and host of WEtv’s "My Fair Wedding"
Be in a good place
“First off, to host a party you must feel good,” Tutera says. He doesn’t recommend throwing a party if there are a lot of other factors adding stress into your life.
“The problem right now is everybody is trying to find the way to host the perfect party. I’m going to go on the record right now and say there’s no such thing as perfection in entertaining.”
Map out the event
If the guest list keep growing, Tutera recommends having a plan of how people will flow. Think about where the coats will go, where the beverages will be placed and how people will walk around and get to the food.
Set the tone
The host is the one who sets the tone of the party. “If the host is freaking out, it trickles down to the guests. That makes them uncomfortable and they’re gong to leave. Enjoy yourself as a guest at your own party.”
Make a playlist
Have songs on a playlist that you can have on shuffle so you’re not running back and forth trying to be the host and the DJ, he says. “And don’t play only Christmas music,” warns Tutera. “After about an hour, it gets tiring.”
Carson Kressley, Emmy-winning television star, stylist, author and fashion designer
Keep it simple
“Well booze and go-go boys always seems to work for me, but if you're not that adventurous, I think simple is really elegant. I'm doing a themed Christmas party which I think makes it easy. This year, I'm doing Kentucky Christmas. I'm serving fried chicken, ham and pepper jelly biscuits, bourbon cupcakes, bourbon punch — it gives you a framework and keeps it really simple. So you're not like, "Oh, should I have this? Should I have that?" It just keeps it contained and makes it easy — pun intended — for your guests to digest the whole theme. And I keep my decorations simple, too. I'm just doing glass cylinders with tons of magnolia branches in them. I do simple things but in a big way."
Ted Allen, cookbook author, TV personality and host of The Food Network’s “Chopped”
Get a head start
“The more prep work you do in advance of your gathering, the better you’ll feel when it’s time for the party to start. Whether that’s setting the table, laying out your serving dishes ahead of time or starting your cooking or baking the day before — get a head start on your to-do list! That way you’ll feel less stressed and will actually be able to enjoy yourself.”
“Skip the expensive flower arrangements and get creative with natural items you already have on-hand! Use fresh, festive fruits and veggies or branches and greenery straight from your yard — voilà, you’ll have a beautiful eco-friendly centerpiece that will cost almost nothing to make.”
“Instead of worrying about everything being perfect, remember what the holidays are really about — spending time with those you love. You aren’t the caterer, you’re the host, so enjoy yourself!”