Hosting a great holiday party depends on great planning. Stephanie Layson, owner of Party Pro Rents, has some advice on how to plan the perfect event that will leave your coworkers talking at the watercooler on Monday and your family excited for holidays hosted at your house.
How much time should you give guests to RSVP?
I recommend sending holiday party invitations at least six weeks in advance. Entertaining in early to mid-December allows your guests to start planning the holiday schedule and to RSVP beginning Nov. 1.
How much food should you prepare for your guests?
I always ask how long you want your guests to stay and then think of food in portions and quantity. Plan on at least 10-15 servings of appetizers or heavy hors d’oeuvres per person for a meal replacement. For a sit-down dinner, plan one serving each of meat, starch, greens and dessert.
What about beverages?
It’s comfortable to keep our hands busy while socializing. Not everyone drinks wine or Champagne, so I would order a maximum of one glass per person. Plan on three (soft drink) beverages per person.
What are some diet restrictions a good host should consider?
Consider providing food for all diets. There is no such thing as food for the majority anymore. Enclose a response card requesting diet restrictions when sending invitations and/or meal options to accommodate your guests’ preferences.
What are some locations a host should consider when hosting a party?
Historic venues like Dresser Mansion and the recently remodeled Harwelden Mansion are classic for the holidays. For a different vibe, check out Welltown Brewery or Bar 473 underneath a heated, clear-top tent.
What are your suggestions on seating plans or table decor?
Plan your seating based on RSVPs and keep the decoration simple so guests can make eye contact and have conversations without obstruction. Eucalyptus leaf garland is an affordable option that is warm and welcoming, along with low-profile floral arrangements and/or candle votives.