Whether you’re throwing a holiday party for 30 or 300, planning and preparing in advance is a sure-fire way to ensure all your guests have a wonderful time. When you think of successful holiday parties, it’s often the simple things that make everyone feel welcome and part of the holiday cheer. Allowing the time the plan in advance will give you the opportunity to adjust to the needs of your guests.
Here are 3 steps to ensure you have a memorable holiday party:
#1: Get your invites out early and ask for guests’ food restrictions. You may not have known some of your staff are gluten-free or vegetarian, but knowing in advance will give you time to offer more options and pick the right venue/ caterer.
#2: If you’re having a bar at your party, try to provide options for your guests to find a safe way home so no one gets behind the wheel after a few libations. Arrange designated drivers in advance, or utilize services like Operation Red Nose. You can also host your party at one of the many great hotels here in Winnipeg and suggest renting a room as a safe and feasible option. You can even speak with the hotel in advance to arrange a group rate. Have a signature drink? Offer a virgin version of the cocktail so no one will feel singled out for not drinking. When guests aren’t worrying about their plans after the party, they will be much more relaxed and have a better time!
#3: Brainstorm! What will make your party memorable? Selecting a unique theme can blow your guests away, and be a lot of fun! Forget all about red and green and Santa hats, turn the holiday season on its head and transform your space in a way no one will have expected by committing whole-heartedly to a trend or theme.
Below, we break down 5 hot holiday party trends that will impress, be inviting and are simple to achieve.
5 Hot Holiday Party Themes
The Manitoba Lodge
One of the best things to do on a freezing winter night is to stay warm and cozy indoors and marvel at the beautiful winter scene painted outside; and one of the best places to do just that is at the perfect little cabin in the woods or nearby lodge.
You can replicate that cozy feeling on a large scale for an intimate and memorable gathering.
- Nature plays an immense role in this theme. Go overboard with snippets of evergreen tree branches, which will also add that fantastic evergreen scent. Use logs to set centrepieces on, or small pieces for name cards. Use deeply coloured fruit like pomegranates, red apples and cranberries to brighten things up.
- Key word: rustic. You can use vintage glassware, textured papers, burlap and lace.
- Use deep, rich colours such as maroon, emerald green and even unexpected navy blue. Cozy blankets and tartan fit in perfectly and can pull multiple col
ours together from different elements in the space.
- In the movies, the ski lodge often seems untouched by the modern world. Kitschy touches like grandma’s ceramic loon don’t seem out of place, but rather welcoming. Have some fun by incorporating animals like moose, reindeer, birds, owls, squirrels, and rabbits – very Canadiana!
- Comfort food will bring this theme to life. A popular trend this sason is gourmet s’mores. You can have your guests try unique flavours like salted caramel, peanut butter, and coconut. Or drop a toasted marshmallow in a glass of Bailey’s liquor.
Gold + Metallic
Gold has become synonymous with the holiday season; the glimmer of the lights on a tree, the golden tips of the flames in the fireplace, and flowing bottles of bubbly. On a stark, cold winter evening, gold will evoke a warm glow like drinking a mug of hot chocolate.
- To make gold look elegant, set it against black or white. Whether you use just a smattering of gold, a simple colour palette will look effortlessly stylish.
- Think of décor elements that you don’t typically see in gold. Use gold painted branches and pinecones, or wrap a thick golden foil around a small log for a gilded forest vibe.
- Maximize the golden glow from candles by incorporating mirrors and reflective vases. It will cut down on the cost of using all gold pieces and will illuminate the décor elements you are using.
- Balloons are a classic and cost-effective way to cover a lot of ground in a space. Take your balloons from birthday party to chic, couture and grown up by painting half of a white balloon with gold paint. Use a textured brush and paint the balloon unevenly to achieve a glitzy look. Check party stores for new and improved metallic and oversized balloons; these are very impactful in a space.
- Create groupings of gold-painted wine bottles, mason jars, or vases for a beautifully and functional centerpiece where you can showcase flowers, winter greenery,
candles, or even Christmas tree bulbs.
Modern + Geometric
One of the perks of this theme is that it doesn’t feel so “Christmasy,” and is sophisticated, fun, and totally unexpected. It’s the holidays done classy, hip and cool.
- Clean lines and simple colours in geometric patterns with lots of black, white, grey and gold will make the holidays feel completely fresh and updated. Bold stripes, triangular shapes and polka dots can all mix together as long as they are varied in size. (Thick black and white stripes with a chunky, simple font in gold are a popular combination).
- If you want to use lots of colour, stay away from what is thought of as traditional holiday colour themes. Choose pinks, sugary greens, yellows and turquoise blues, which is fun and festive.
- Think big. A few simple and large décor pieces can make a grand statement. Create a word or phrase with large wall-mounted letters, or take it to the next level with a light up marquee, which is very popular right now. You can also create a simple pattern out of geometric shapes.
- When incorporating holiday greenery such as garlands and tree boughs, keep it as simple as possible. Leave a wreath completely plain, or add just few black bulbs to make a powerful statement. Using small amounts of winter greenery will make it feel more like the holidays, but not distract from the theme.
- Feel free to break a lot of the “rules.” Want the look of a tree? Hanging or mounted triangular shapes can represent a tree. Silhouettes and 2-D shapes make a fun and powerful impact.
Nothing will make guests come out of their shells like giving them the opportunity to be someone else for the night and have fun with masks! It’s a unique theme for the holidays, and your guests will be snapping pictures all night and talking about it long after the party is over.
- Invite guests to decorate their own masks. Use a monocratic colour palette so non-craft-experienced guests will feel good to wear their mask. It will also act as a great way to get people mingling.
- When costumes are a large part of the theme, have staff and volunteers dress up in to bring life into your event. They will become leaders and make guests feel more welcome to take part in the festivities.
- The look of a masquerade ball is often very lush and decorative. Incorporate colours like purple and gold, add lace and intricate candlesticks to take guests completely out of this era.
- Hiring a couple dancers to teach guests a Viennese waltz will be a completely memorable moment, and surely bucket list items for many guests. When everyone is learning something new together, it can definitely break the ice. Plus, the photos from your event will be very impressive with a sea of similarly posed guests in their masks.
- This theme is not tied to a particular colour palette, so feel free to choose colours that are not associated with the holidays. Sometimes, if a colour is not in high-demand, you can receive a lower rate. So ask your vendors what colours are offered at a lower price point around this time of year (you might even help them out by not asking for the last of their red tablecloths.) You’ll get a bigger bang for your buck and surprise your guests with an unexpected colour.
White Winter Forest
There is something so stunningly beautiful about a fresh sheet of snow, especially in a picturesque forest. When the green boughs of the trees are dusted in a white covering and the lights make the landscape sparkle, the season comes truly alive. This theme is all about capturing magical winter white and bringing it indoors.
- Use an abundance of frosted garlands and pinecones, and even mini Christmas trees. Birch bark is perfect for writing messages to your guests from the menu to the name cards.
- Silver glitter looks great with white! It can take white from stark and cold to glittery and joyful. Dip the bottom of a white or clear vase in sparkly glitter, or mix in a few glittered bulbs with white or clear bulbs. The glitter options are endless.
- If you’re using warm accent colours, try using beiges and chocolate browns, or even soft greens to replicate the colours of the trees. If you’re going more for the icy cool winter look, incorporate a few pops of cool blue, or having your lighting company use blue lights to create a frozen forest.
- White feathers are a great way to add texture and whimsy to the décor. Take it one step further with snowy white owls and turtledoves nestled into a tree branch or on a wreath.
- Even your beverages can be white with seasonal ingredients like peppermint, white hot chocolate and, of course, eggnog.
Events by Emma can assist you in achieving these themes and many more, or plan your whole event. Book your free consultation with Emma today by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo credit: D. Singh Photography