We are so thrilled to share our tips for holiday entertaining on Style Me Pretty!
Hosting can understandably appear like a stressful feat. You not only have food and drinks to prepare, but invitations, decor, florals, a playlist, making sure your home is spotless, and that you have all of the serveware that you need. My biggest piece of advice is to outsource what you can and create a comfortable atmosphere. For me, I will focus on making our home look nice: clean spaces, sourcing and setting up the tablescape and decor, my husband will cook, my friend Alicia of Bows and Arrows will make our centerpieces, and when my guests ask what they can bring, I’ll recommend whatever their favorite bottles of wine is or dessert. Keeping it simple for yourself is crucial. A 5-course meal sounds lovely, but there’s nothing wrong with delivered pizza paired with great wine. It’s really the company that counts … and, of course, the tablescape.
An invitation lets your guests know you’re planning something special for them. Yours should reflect the aesthetic of your evening and the level of formality you wish to communicate. If you’re picturing a more formal dinner, send a printed or handwritten invitation. For more casual events, an online invitation, email, phone call, or even quick text can work.
Turn off all overhead light, turn on a table lamp or two, and light plenty of candles. Whether you use a silver candelabra or a handful of tea lights, soft illumination is one of the easiest and most important ways you can transform your space.
Think of your tablescape as more than just a place to serve food and drinks. It’s the source of the evening’s atmosphere. If it’s set with love and intention, your guests will notice. It’s a great way to showcase your personality. For me, mine usually looks like a formal set up, but will be juxtaposed with a family-style food service that is more communal, warm, and inviting. It has fun decorations, but ultimately, is not too stiff.
Don’t be afraid of choosing a color palette that is different from your traditional holiday colors. For Christmas, for example, instead of using just red and green, adding different hues of those colors will make it unique: a warm raspberry, wine, and even a lighter fern color. Additionally, you can always add accents that pair well to finish it off, like, french blue, midnight, and amber.
As the host, your job is to help guests get acquainted and comfortable with each other. The best gift you can give your guests is to set the tone yourself by being relaxed and convivial. Upon arrival, greet your guests with a glass of something wonderful: either a glass of red, cider, or sparkling water. Think about how your guests will interact with each other. Get them chatting by including a tidbit about each person when you introduce them, and if two guests share a common interest, be sure to mention it to them. For the dinner table, consider place cards for groups of eight or more, especially if not everyone knows each other.
It’s always a wonderful idea to make your guests feel special. One way I like to do that during the holidays is to write special notes for each person, place it into an envelope with their name calligraphed by my friend Nicole of The Left Handed Calligrapher, and place them in our Christmas tree. Upon arrival, when guests are greeted with a beverage before dinner begins, they will be encouraged to pick out their envelope. The envelopes serve not just as beautiful ornaments, but are a great conversation starter and let your guests know how special they are to you.