Expert tips for planning the ultimate holiday party
Throwing a holiday party can be extremely stressful. From picking out the right linens to creating a stunning centerpiece and crafting the perfect menu, it's certainly not an easy undertaking. To help ease the stress, we've asked Jacin of Lovely Little Details, a full-service wedding, event and floral styling company, to give us her expert tips on throwing an unforgettable bash.
Jacin really knows her parties. In 2012 alone, she styled, coordinated and crafted 15 weddings, editorial shoots, private parties and corporate events. Like her namesake proclaims, Jacin is all about the details, which make her events stand out above the others. We were lucky enough to get some time to talk with Jacin about party planning and get her tips for creating the perfect holiday soiree.
Holiday decorating for a party is hard. When it comes to decor, you don't want too little and too much can create a tacky, cluttered mess. So we asked Jacin how she creates a simple, yet memorable, look.
"I am all about using natural elements that are easily accessible and don't look too fussy. Head to the grocery store and pick up a few pretty artichokes or pomegranates and place them in a simple bowl or scatter along the center of the table. Add some candles and maybe a few pretty pine sprigs from your yard and voila — simple, natural decor. If you want to jazz it up a bit — spray it gold. Gilded elements add just the right amount of glam."
Speaking of glam, the trend of the season is sequins, glitter and tons of shine. As much as we love some glitter, a little goes a long way and it's quite easy to get carried away (you want a classy party, not Ke$ha's playland). So we asked the queen of gold and shine how to incorporate the trends without overdoing it.
"The key is in moderation — incorporate one sparkly element through each piece of the event to tie into each other, but not to overwhelm the overall aesthetic."
Keeping with that same theme, we wanted to know what the most important elements are to her when she's coordinating, styling and planning events.
"I am all about the five senses when planning every event. Smell: It's as simple as the scent of bread cooking in the oven to set the tone as soon as your guests step in the door. Sound: Put on those holiday tunes! Vince Guaraldi's "Charlie Brown Christmas" is my absolute fave. Sight: Candles, candles, candles! A flickering flame can add such a romantic feel to any party, especially during the holidays! Touch: Add textural elements to your tablescape, such as pine sprigs, pinecones, holly or mistletoe. Taste: Plan your menu ahead of time, whether it's just a cocktail soiree or a full-out dinner party, kinfolk style."
Speaking of taste, one of the most stressful parts of planning the perfect holiday get together (for us at least) is figuring out the menu! There are so many options and it's super easy to go way over budget on tiny hors d'oeuvres and cupcakes. Since we're all about budget parties during the holidays (more money means new NYE shoes for us), we asked Jacin for her tips on sticking to a menu budget.
"Potluck parties are a fun way to celebrate the holidays in a cost-effective manner, and your guests appreciate being able to provide something for all to enjoy. You could also do a simple wine and cheese pairing party or a sweets party with cookies and dessert wines."
So your decorations are up, classy and glitzy; your menu is set with budget, yet tasty, fare; now it's time to focus on you! What does the ultimate party host wear to her fancy holiday party?
"You can never go wrong with a little black dress and heels, and jazz it up a bit for the holidays by adding a gold sparkly belt and rocking a pair of red heels or flats. Throw your hair in a pretty topknot bun with a simple yet festive bow. My favorite holiday outfit this year is my tulle skirt I snagged from Anthropologie that I plan to pair with a pretty plaid shirt, a little gold belt and my favorite heels."
Even if you've planned your party to a T, there's going to be something you forget. Did you totally forget a centerpiece or place cards? Spent all morning making macaroons and now you have just 15 minutes to get ready? Jacin has been there, done that, so she's giving us her favorite go-to shortcuts when those unexpected things happen.
"[If you have no time to do your hair] The topknot is my new BFF. Just throw it into a ponytail and create a large "messy" bun. It's such a chic look that literally takes minutes to put together. Throw on a pretty red lipstick and add some black eyeliner, and you’re good to go. My go-to "last minute" decor usually involves natural elements from the yard or grocery store. Put a few artichokes in a bowl as a centerpiece or grab a bunch of asparagus and put them in a vase. Snap some sprigs of rosemary or holly and tie them with pretty ribbon, placing at each place setting for a festive touch."
Instead of stressing out, act like an expert this season by taking these important tips and tricks to heart when planning your perfect holiday party. For more information on Jacin, check out her website, Facebook page and Twitter. You can also follow the lovely little details of her life behind the scenes on Instagram here!