1. The Decor: Your guests’ first impression will also be the most lasting, remember to wow them as they come in the door. Decorate your entry-way with beautiful floral arrangements and soft candle lights.
Get the party started before guests even step foot into your home by dressing your home’s exterior with holiday décor ranging from wreaths to stunning ice lanterns or lumières. Keep the style and color theme consistent with the interior décor for a seamless transition – giving your guests a sense of calm. What I’ve learned from my experience in visual merchandising and store design, is that the ‘transition time” (usually about 10 to 20 seconds) can create a favorable impression or an unfavorable impression. Keep exterior decor subtle and coordinating the color and style with the interior decor. Lovely, lighted topiaries flanking the door entry are elegant and can be used throughout the year. Door wreaths, are a traditional favorite. I’ve seen gorgeous wreaths ranging from modern silver “ornament ball” style to one gracefully beaded with sea shells and yet another dressed in icy crystals.
Set the mood from the moment they step inside and continue it as they continue their journey to the party room. Create conversation seating areas. Sometimes the floor plan for everyday living at home fails in the party environment. Make it party friendly by creating intimate sections that will encourage guests to chat. Use multipurpose centerpiece displays such as ice sculpture vessels to dazzle guests and to serve as a chilled bowl for some delicious confection.
Standing for long periods of time is a recipe for an early night. Don’t lose guests to tired legs – give them the seating they are seeking. Free their hands. Guests will love you when you provide them with tables to set their drink glasses and plates upon. It’s tough to have fun, engage in conversation and feel festive when bogged down (for a substantial amount of time).
Add drama and beauty to your table by using festive table linens, settings and holiday creative centerpieces.
2. Party Food: Careful menu planning here will save you time and money. Decide if you will be having a formal or casual dinner. Then create the menu outlining each meal and its accompanying recipes this will be used as the basis for your shopping list. For formal parties an elegant touch would be to create individual menus for each place setting.
3. Party Favors: Party favors can serve a dual purpose as a decoration during the party as well as a nice parting gift for your guests. From elegant treat cones that hang on a small tree to playful matchboxes filled with goodies, use your creativity to personalize your favors.