Whether it's an engagement celebration or simply a catch-up with your friends, make it perfect with these gorgeous ideas from internationally-renowned event planner Bruce Russell...
January and February can be dreary months, so why not try to brighten them up with a few strategically-placed parties to blow away the winter cobwebs and any New Year blues – plus, it’s a great opportunity to gather friends and family to celebrate any seasonal engagements!
From classic cocktail parties to sit-down dinners and the growing profusion of winter weddings, there’s no better time to stop and take stock of a handful of tips that can bring to life the theatre of entertaining, how to be the perfect, polished host and the art of tablescaping, one of the hottest new trends in creating stunning tabletop artistry.
#1 Feast your eyes on this…
Tablescaping is indeed ‘an art’ and should be a veritable feast for all the senses! Select a colour palette that suits the venue and don’t be afraid to dabble in different, distinctive shades.
Introduce a selection of textures such as fabrics, crystals and beautiful adornments that can offer variations in shape and height to add depth and perspective to your tabletop.
#2 Blooming marvellous
Florals should complement a table, not overpower it. Tablescaping is all about creating a chic, elegant but nonetheless comfortable setting for your guests. Whilst it may not be the traditional adage associated with festive overindulgence, remember that in this instance, less can be more!
#3 Timing is of the essence
Always endeavour to time everything to perfection, even if the evening’s merriment puts you a little off track later on! The key to achieving effortless timekeeping, without inflicting authoritarian rule on your guests, is to keep lists hidden ‘for your eyes only’!
A vibrating timer is another trick to keep up your sleeve – you don’t want endless alarm bells overpowering the festive soundtrack
#4 Less is more
When decorating any venue, try not to over-clutter. For every new addition that may have arrived over the festive season, try to remove an element of ‘everyday décor’ so as not to crowd the space.
Why not update any tired looking photo frames by replacing the photos with some suitably jolly snaps – perhaps charting your journey as a couple if this is an engagement celebration.
#5 Light up the room
Don’t overdo the scented candles – too much really can be overwhelming so really stick to one per room with all sharing the same, or complementing, scent.
By all means go to town with scent-free candles but do ensure they’re out of reach – the last thing you want is a visit from the Fire Brigade, when a guest’s dress hem or shirt sleeve has caught fire. The rest of the evening will quite literally go up in smoke!
#6 Don’t be a slave to the kitchen!
If you’re not planning to hire caterers, it’s essential that you plan as much of the menu as possible in advance. Your guests want to spend time with their host and not feel guilty that you’re sweating over the stove! Better still, hire some gorgeous staff to help!
#7 Excess makes for success
January may traditionally be the time for a little self-restraint and abstinence after an indulgent Christmas, but when it comes to catering for your guests there’s no harm in going the extra mile to ensure that nobody goes hungry (or thirsty).
Informal drinks parties, in particular, can often yield a few surprise guests who turn up unannounced on your doorstep, or the inclusion of a last-minute ‘plus one’. An abundance of food and drink will see you feted as the perfect host – a great way to kickstart the new year!