Smart and Simple Tips for Designing Your Next Holiday Party

Last week, we paired up with Laura Vaughn of Blackbird RSVP to throw an Almost Holiday Party for friends of the industry and fellow party planners. Since Laura and I funded the party out-of-pocket, we needed to find smart solutions to not only feed our guests, but also design a space that felt fun, festive, while avoiding red and green with tinsel all over. We've outlined some design elements from the party, and provided tips to decorate your next party on a budget. Hopefully, this will inspire your next holiday soiree!

When designing any party, I take three things into account: 1. The Room itself, 2. The Impact Zones and 3. Surprise & Delights:


1. The Room. Take note of space you're working in and what it already has to offer. Who are your guests and how will they utilize the space? What are the colors that you can play off of? What are some unique elements that you can highlight? In this scenario, our room was actually a rooftop. It had two beautiful outdoor fireplaces, a bar, and an outstanding view of the city. Since the two settees were already outfitted with blue cushions, we used those colors to our advantage. We decided to make our "theme" for the party a blue/green monochrome. This allowed us to take the focal point off of the large couches, and spread the focus throughout the room. 


Taking advantage of every inch of the space that we could, we removed all of the seating from the bar and high top tables, and the only seating left was around the two fireplaces. We knew that most our guests would be in their late 20s and mid 30s, they'd stay for an hour or less, and that a majority would stand a mingle. Lastly, to save on rental costs, we used the existing sofa tables as food stations.


2. The Impact Zones. These are the zones that your guests will interact with most. When designing on a budget, focus on these spaces to get the most bang for your buck. In most cases, this will be at the entrance, the bar, and the food stations. The impact zones we highlighted were the entrance, the food stations and the two fireplaces.


3. Surprise & Delights. Details do matter. And for us, it was all in the food and beverage presentation. Rosemary sprigs and pomegranate garnishes for the specialty drinks, velvet tabletops and fruit displays on the food stations to add interest and texture, and last but not least, garlands and tassels all around to spread some holiday cheer.

Happy Almost Holiday planning!

Photos by Marissa Boswell. Drinks: That Early Bird. Food: Field and Fire Cafe, Venue: Homewood Suites Downtown Grand Rapids