(BPT) – As we gear up for the busy holiday season, a foolproof plan is essential for throwing an unforgettable party everyone will be talking about. Whether it’s a casual weekend brunch, formal sit-down dinner or a glitzy cocktail party, you want to make sure the atmosphere is set, and that you’re party ready.
Interior designer and artistic advisor to LG STUDIO appliances, Nate Berkus, is not just a design guru but also an expert party planner and host.
“The key to minimizing stress during the holiday entertaining season is to keep things simple, and be as prepared as possible,” Berkus says. “Making sure everyone, including the host, is relaxed and enjoying themselves is the most important element of a good party. Whether it’s the food, the décor and anything in between, nothing should feel uptight or over-complicated.”
Berkus shares his best holiday entertaining tips – from the festive to the practical and, of course, always stylish.
Don’t let the fact that you don’t like to cook stop you from throwing a festive holiday get together. Call your favorite neighborhood restaurant and have them cater it. Decant the dishes on to beautiful plates, platters and bowls. No one will know you ordered in!
Fact: the kitchen ends up becoming command central at any party. Guests love to congregate there, despite your best efforts otherwise. Embrace the fact that people will gather at your kitchen island, and make it part of the party, whether it’s setting up a food or drink station or adding in extra seating. Nothing feels more familiar and welcoming than a kitchen, especially during the holidays.
Prepare as much as you can in advance. When you entertain, you want to be able to greet each and every guest as they arrive, and be a part of the party. Have your holiday cocktail already mixed and ready to go, the wine open and the sparkling water set up at a bar where guests can help themselves. Every horizontal space is an opportunity, so use trays, side tables and your kitchen island to set up food stations. You want your guests to feel at home.
People think they have to reach for traditional red and green decor, but the truth is it’s much easier to work with a neutral palette. Use natural materials like woven baskets and mats, and layer in metallic accents. Things like brass candle holders and napkin rings will instantly up the glam factor. Pull greenery from the garden, and finish off your tablescape with candles.
If you’re doing a sit down dinner, change things up by seating the host in the middle of the table, rather than at the end, and plan out who sits around them. Your goal is to have people get to know each other, and spark unexpected connections and conversations. And nothing is chicer than a beautifully prepared place card at each setting. Your guests can also take it with them, as a small memento from the night.