A Guide for Hosting any Festive Event

With Thanksgiving, Christmas & the New Year all right around the corner, there is a lot of party planning to be had! I have hosted quite a few events in the last year and with each one they are getting more and more fun.  With just the right amount of decor and tasty food, parties can be a success without too much fuss. It’s easy to see all the wonderful parties on Pinterest and think you have to go all-out for your event, but I’m here to tell you–you don’t.  Ultimately, if you have good food and good company the rest doesn’t matter..but a little thought can go a long way to making it feel more put together.

Use a space close to the kitchen for your table and food display
You don’t need to decorate every nook and cranny in your house for it to feel festive, so just choose one space and put all your efforts there.  Plus, it seems like everyone migrates to the kitchen during events so having the decorations in the space you’ll be most of the night is key!

Incorporate the food & drinks you choose into the theme
Everyone is coming to eat so why not choose things that lend to the theme anyways? This takes absolutely no thought for Thanksgiving and Christmas because you’re probably going to make whatever you always have for those meals; but for other parties, just remember that the food choices are important to make the whole event feel cohesive. Serving a signature cocktail can also make things interesting & fun.

Choose one statement decor piece
A statement piece makes impact & can be a conversation starter for your guests. I’ve found that using tissue paper or balloons for a DIY display works wonders!

The food should be part of the theme & part of the decoration
Using a variety of dishes, trays, & stands will create visual interest at your table and shows that you put thought into its placement.

Lighting sets the mood for the whole event
If you’re going for relaxed and low-key, keep the lights dim and add a bunch of candles or string market lights!

Display your theme in words
A funny phrase or quote on a chalkboard or a banner is a quirky & almost free way to hit home the theme.

Don’t forget the little details
Plates, flatware, napkins, straws, place cards & menu cards are all easy ways to add to the decoration, but they can be pricey.  Either go for paper versions or choose designs/colors that you can reuse for other events!

Add florals & greenery last
Flowers can really make your event feel special, but everyone knows they aren’t cheap.  They won’t make or break your theme, so add them last if you have room in the budget!

Here are my ideas for the perfect (semi-fancy) Thanksgiving meal. The idea for the tablescape from here also has more great tips for decorating a table on a budget.

thanksgiving tablescape

 I love the depth that jewel tones bring to this tablescape & I think they are an unexpected twist to the traditional reds & oranges you’d assume for Thanksgiving.  Using some paper elements (covering the table with kraft paper & the striped paper napkins) help tone it down to a little less formal affair & place cards can be reused for family events every year–these are $2 for a pack of 10 at Target! A basic set of white china will blend seamlessly into any theme you choose over the years & you can find plain pillar candles like those at the dollar store.  Using produce from the grocery store is a stunning way to add life to the table & a great alternative to expensive floral centerpieces.  Also, the give thanks banner you can print for free to hang & use for your own meal!stuffed
Now that I have it in writing, it seems like a it takes a lot more thought than I realized! But hopefully this guide will help minimize any anxiety or frustration you may have about entertaining in your home.. my advice is to start out small and build as you get a little more experienced so you don’t get overwhelmed. Oh and another tip–light a yummy smelling candle right at the front door; it will make a great first impression & immediately make you look like the most experienced of hosts!

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