Audrey Pierot of Scarsdale-based Audrey Pierot Events has 25 years of experience in the special event industry. Here, she shares her tips on how to host a holiday party that your guests will talk about for months to come.
Keep things fresh: Don’t host an ugly sweater party. It’s been done before and [is] not fresh. And, really no one is receiving these sweaters anymore so it’s silly to have to go out and buy them. If you need a theme, have everyone come as their favorite holiday persona. You friends will have a blast showing off their favorite things about the holiday.
Know your space: Make sure your home can accommodate comfortably the number of guests you are inviting. If you have a tiny house, don’t invite one hundred people.
Station Master: For a fun take on dining, scatter cocktail-style tables around the house with different food stations. Buffets can get clustered and no one likes to stand in line. Sit down dinners can be stuffy, which is why I recommend breaking up the food areas to different tables. You can do a variety of different foods at different stations. Think outside the box. Also, when people help themselves, they end up talking to people a lot more. Remember that if you want to have a cocktail-style event where not everyone is seated at the same time, all of the courses should be fork friendly. No knives required!
Pre-Game: Not all party-goers will show on up time. Guests should be greeted with a cocktail and a snack before the main meal is served. Give your guests a little time to arrive.
Delegate: It’s a good idea to bring in a day-of chef. You want to have fun at your own party and play the part of a relaxed host — not wondering if the meat is raw. The point of the party is to enjoy your friends and family. It’s best if you know of a caterer or foodie who can recommend someone. Make sure you meet them ahead of time to go over the menu and get to know them. Do you want this person in your house?
Set the mood: Have background music. A party without music doesn’t resonate, but make sure it’s soft so people can talk.
Pay it forward: Holidays are in the spirit of giving and love. You can request guests bring non-perishable food items that can be donated to a food a bank. If you don’t create a loving feeling, then it’s just another holiday party you have around the season. Bring warmth.
Décor: You don’t have to go crazy on décor. It’s a personal choice. Candles are inexpensive with big impact. Just make sure they are encased in glass and no one will get hurt.
The finishing touch: I always recommend mini deserts. People are usually full, but want to taste a couple of sweets. No yule logs!