What are your top 3 ways to create a holiday event that is extraordinarily festive and memorable?

What are your top 3 ways to create a holiday event that is extraordinarily festive and memorable?

Who doesn't LOVE a few drink tickets "on the house" when you walk into an event?

At a recent fundraiser, we experienced a few things to make this Holiday event extraordinarily festive and memorable.

 

1. Photobooth!!! Not only did this Sponsor/partner supply a photo booth with signs and a customized backdrop but they also gave you a keepsake photo to take home AND they even had a separate Social Media/Virtual Photo Booth where you could add virtual hats and animal ears, etc. Not only was this memorable, but you also left with a keepsake AND it promoted the event and the fundraising efforts.

 

2. Music and DJ. Before the official event got started they had a great DJ and music playing to get you in the mood and a Dance party after the program ended to rock the night away.

 

3. Food & Beverage. Who doesn’t LOVE a few drink tickets “on the house” when you walk into an event? Add in some appetizers and the conversations and memories just start flowing in!
Shay Wheat

Shay Wheat

Owner & Certified Event Producer™

Grace And Ease Productions, Inc, Sacramento, CA

Our top 3 ways to create a holiday event that is festive and memorable is through the use of festive lighting, holiday music, and holiday themed food and beverages.

Our top 3 ways to create a holiday event that is festive and memorable is through the use of festive lighting, holiday music, and holiday themed food and beverages.

At a recent holiday party for one of our corporate clients, we utilized all three in setting the mood for a memorable holiday celebration (see attached pictures). The catering staff from Get Plated were adorned in festive holiday attire and served festive bites and holiday treats including a delectable s’mores station. A specialty mocktail station from Molecular Foods and Cocktail provided holiday themed mocktails with a science and festive twist with the use of dry ice and snow shaped bubbles.

As the sun set, a full lighting display from Atmosphere Lighting including twinkle lights, snowflake gobo, and trees lit with red and white uplights were revealed and quickly became a wow factor. Guests danced the night to holiday tunes from Lucy Black Entertainment who were also dressed in festive holiday attire. These elements truly set the mood for a memorable night!

Photos by Ana Isabel Photography

 

Sarah Nickens

Sarah Nickens

Owner/Lead Planner

SG3 Events, Clarksburg, MD

Watch your guest’s eyes pop when they see a beautiful chocolate fountain and all the treats surrounding it!

The holidays are about spending time with family and friends. We know the 2020 holiday season was the year to cancel everything, but 2021 was about figuring out how to get our groove back safely, especially during the holidays. 

Here are Bill Hansen’s five ways to be the best holiday host for your guests!

1. ADD A FLOWING CHOCOLATE FOUNTAIN TO YOUR DESSERT TABLE

Watch your guest’s eyes pop when they see a beautiful chocolate fountain and all the treats surrounding it! Nothing says holidays like dessert, and a fountain will definitely be memorable. Provide fresh fruits like strawberries, pineapple, bananas and raspberries. Also treats like marshmallows, rice krispies, pretzels and brownies. Spice it up holiday-style by adding chopped peppermint candy canes or fun festive holiday sprinkles they can garnish their treats with. Bill Hansen Catering can provide the perfect chocolate fountain and it’s sure to be the star of the show!

2. A SIGNATURE COCKTAIL IS A MUST

Your guests will feel especially loved if you take the time to plan out a specialty drink. It’s so fun to think up a funny or clever name for your drink that goes along with your party theme or your own personality. There are tons of holiday drinks online or your caterer can help you dream up the perfect cocktail. Don’t forget creative signage for the bar! Check out these creative cocktail recipes by Delish.

3. A GUIDED WINE OR WHISKY-TASTING

Wine can be intimidating, mysterious, and challenging. Include a mini-course where your guests can learn how to taste, enjoy a selection of wines and their pairing options. Not a huge wine enthusiast? Try a whiskey-tasting. You can also incorporate these different wines and liquors into your party’s signature cocktail! Check out these 9 essential rules on how to throw the perfect whisky-tasting.

Photography: Colin Hattersley Photography

4. ENGAGE ALL SENSES

Touch – Comfy seating, and plenty of it, for all your guests to enjoy. Even some large pillows thrown around the coffee table make for additional seating and can add a cool vibe. Why not splurge on quilted toilet paper? Make sure the bathroom is stocked well. Plenty of tp, a nice holiday scented hand soap and a hand towel or disposable holiday hand napkins are a good choice. 

Smell – Make sure your party space smells good. Fragrances like baked sugar cookie or frasier fir tree really transport you into the holidays. Scented candles will surely set the mood.

Visual – The addition of fresh flowers, crisp ironed linens, and breaking out the expensive china can add dazzle to your table decor. Feel like you don’t know where to start? Contact your event planner in Miami to help you out.

Auditory – Ambiance music. It’s super awkward to arrive at a holiday party and hear crickets. Nobody wants an awkward silence after the initial hello’s. Set the mood and cast away that stiff feeling by playing background music. Plan a playlist on your favorite music app or search up popular holiday favorites. Only you know what your guests like to hear, but you can’t go wrong with soft classics. Many of today’s mainstream artists have remade the old holiday classics we’ve come to love. Need a DJ or entertainment? LYT Productions has you covered.

Taste – After putting your signature cocktail in their hand, show them your array of yummy appetizers to please every palate. Remember that bite-sized food is always less awkward. Don’t forget to include vegan and allergy-friendly choices. Everyone will appreciate a varied menu that appeals to guests with diverse palates and preferences. Prepare some healthy and indulgent options, meaty and vegetarian recipes, a mix of sweet and savory bites, and maybe even a few gluten-free options if some of your guests are gluten-sensitive. Since this is the season of giving, be generous with your portions and drinks per person. Six to eight items of food and 3 drinks per person, total, is a good estimate.

5. TAKE HOME PARTY FAVORS

Nothing will win over your guests more like a creative party favor that will remind them of the fabulous time they had at your party. Grab some cute holiday take-out boxes or tote bags and send them home with their favorite batch of festive sugar cookies, koozies, or ceramic mugs to enjoy their coffee or tea the next day.

 

If you want to ensure your affair is the talk of the town, contact Bill Hansen Catering for help. Cheers to making your holiday party a memorable one!

Bill Hansen

Bill Hansen

CEO

Bill Hansen Catering, Miami, FL

Luxurious feathers draped on a wedding gown are fanciful and festive.

 

 

 

Angelique-Emeralda by Mistrelli House of Design available at Couture by Tess Bridal.

Luxurious Feathers

Luxurious feathers draped on a wedding gown are fanciful and festive.  This ethereal look exudes winter wonderland vibes.  These types of ultra luxe details are glamorous, unexpected and perfect for an evening holiday-themed event.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Anna Sposa Group Collection by Allegresse is available at Couture by Tess Bridal.

Long Sleeves

Many brides dream of a sophisticated long-sleeve wedding gown and the holiday season is a prime time to showcase this fashion statement.  This style of gown immediately gives the wearer major princess vibes.  Couple this with hand-detailed sparkle embellishments such as Swarovski crystals to add some sparkle for a complete holiday look.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cecil by Oksana Muhka is available at Couture by Tess Bridal.

Dramatic Fabrics and Embellishments

Whisper-thin fabrics adorned with embellishments such as crystals and beading will wow guests during any season, but certainly feels most appropriate at a stylish holiday wedding.  Dramatic fabric draping is a design detail meant to impress and exude opulence layer by layer.

Tess Mann

Tess Mann

Owner

Couture by Tess Bridal, Cookeville, TN

A new laid back luxury on the rise is hiring a catering company with a mobile kitchen to suffice any dinner needs for special events of any size for any occasion.

 

 

 

 

Pistachio-Crusted Lamb Chops.

Main Entree Options

We always consider what pleases the crowd when choosing a main entree.  The Krikorian household rarely makes a traditional turkey or ham for our own family due to our family members’ love for other holiday favorites. Swap out the usual and replace with pistachio-crusted lamb chops.  This is a delicious dish that is both unexpected and memorable, especially during the holiday season.  Introducing new, exciting entrees adds to the excitement of the overall event.

 

 

 

Photo by @chiclittlehoney

Just Desserts

Holiday desserts are meant to be decadent.  While old world songs and stories include mentions of fruitcake or figgy pudding, most modern American households today serve sweets such as pumpkin pie, gingerbread cookies or peppermint bark although preferences really vary state to state.  Google trends each year seem to play a part as well into what is popular at the time, but one trend always stands out across the board…cheesecake.  Serve with a spiced tea, hot cocoa or coffee for an end of the meal treat.

Our Mobile Kitchen by Chef Serge and Vibrant Occasions Catering.

Mobile Kitchen for Holiday Events

A new laid back luxury on the rise is hiring a catering company with a mobile kitchen to suffice any dinner needs for special events of any size for any occasion.  Vibrant Occasions Catering extended its on-site dining experience with Our Mobile Kitchen to provide even more choices when selecting the cuisine.  It ensures that guests will receive detailed, attentive customer service from experienced catering specialists, which is something you do not receive with pick-up and drop-off options or other food service providers whose focus is not catering.  Pre-made foods do have limitations as well, so if your menu includes steaks or seafood, for example, those types of dishes need to be made on site as not doing so will result in poor quality food.  Plus, at the end of the day your event venue’s kitchen or home kitchen stays clean since the majority of the cooking and prepping is completed inside the mobile kitchen which can be parked in a parking lot, driveway or where streets allow outside your venue or home.

 

Serge Krikorian

Serge and Mary Krikorian

Owner

Vibrant Occasions Catering, Benton, AR

Make a standout first impression as guests enter your event by adorning the doorway with holiday splendor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doorway Decor

Make a standout first impression as guests enter your event by adorning the doorway with holiday splendor.  By using wreaths, garland, ribbon and a host of other winter goodies, event hosts will guarantee an unforgettable entry into a holiday-themed party.

Whimsical Holiday Ornamentation

The holidays are the best time of the year to use ornaments and decorations aplenty to complete an event design.  Winter decor can add just the right amount of twinkle and shine needed to create a winter extravaganza whether you are looking for a simple traditional or an over-the-top gathering.

 

Festive Floral Arrangements

Red roses, berries and spruce are just a few ways we add some holiday cheer in floral arrangements.  Other often requested flora during the winter seasons are white poinsettias, alabaster garden roses and bay laurel which are sure to add a cozy ambiance to any space. Whether the event color palette calls for deep reds or winter whites, floral accents and design are sure to top off any desired aesthetic.

 

 

Althea Wiles

Althea Wiles

Owner | Lead Planner

Rose of Sharon Floral Design Studio, Fayetteville, AR

Do not feel locked into traditional holiday colors, use colors and decor that feels festive and makes you smile.

Make your holiday events extraordinarily festive and memorable by making it personal, using touches that mean something to you in the food, decor and music to make it extra special! Infusing your style and personality into your holiday party will add the extra touches to make it even more memorable and unique!

Fill your holiday party with your favorite foods, both savory and sweet, ones that bring back a smile to your face from childhood, as they will likely have the same effect on your guests. Set the tone with festive music, explore beyond the popular playlists and or holiday stations and curate something special that sets the mood and keeps it light and cheerful!

When it comes to decor, use what you have around the house first, if you still need more you can purchase decor, but homemade always offers an extra special touch! Do not feel locked into traditional holiday colors, use colors and decor that feels festive and makes you smile. Do not do what you think you have to, but do what makes you happy!

Jove Meyer

Jove Meyer

Owner | Creative Director

Jove Meyer Events, Brooklyn, NY

Holiday events that are extraordinarily festive and memorable are ones that make your guests feel as if they have been wrapped in a cozy blanket by a fire and served a nice hot beverage. 

Here are three ways that you can achieve this goal at your holiday event:
  1.  Design the space using rich deep colors and use outdoor elements like trees and pinecones.
  2.  Light the space using warm mini lights, outdoor propane heaters and of course candles (as many as your venue will allow).
  3.  Add a hot chocolate station with all the fixings including marshmallows and whipped cream. For an extra festive touch add some creme de menthe and/or candy canes.
Photo Credit: Michael East
Heather MacArthur

Heather MacArthur

Owner

Bowtied With Love,

Holiday parties are the absolute best time to deck the halls and go all in! 

I’m an all or nothing type of person and that carries over to the way in which I produce my clients’ events. It’s the season of giving so rather than three ways, I’m going to give you five. The five senses that is!

See – Whether you’re going for a traditional look using red, green and gold, putting a winter white icicle spin on things, or mixing it up with a unique color scheme of your own – holiday parties are the absolute best time to deck the halls and go all in!

Hear – Carolers are a must! Positioned at your main entrance to surprise and delight before guests even get in the door or roaming around your event as pop-up style entertainers, Christmas carolers add that special something to all holiday events.

Smell – Have you heard of scentology? No, it’s not a new religion, it’s a legit profession. Christmas tree pine, candy cane peppermint, sweet s’mores, wood burning fire, crisp cold snow, or a delicious baked Christmas dinner are just a few examples of scents you can have a Scentologist create for your event.

Touch – With Omicron running wild, avoid photo ops that require guests to pick up props one after the other. Green screens, backdrops, and themed staging enable you to create scenes where fun can still be captured but attendees are only required to walk on and off a set.

Taste – In addition to the full traditional dinner with all the trimmings my family also cooks everyone’s favorite dish. Do these dishes always compliment the main menu? No, BUT they are meaningful to our guests and to us, that’s more important. As part of your RSVP or registration, ask your guests what they’re favorite Christmas dish is and then incorporate as many as you can into your event menu.

Melissa Park

Global Event Producer

Make a fun festive drink that goes with the theme (doesn't have to be alcoholic).

A few ways I love to be extra during the holidays:
  • Theme it – 70’s Christmas, Glam Christmas, Woodsy Christmas, etc., and have people dress up to match the theme!
  • Create a drink – Make a fun festive drink that goes with the theme (doesn’t have to be alcoholic)
  • Add an experience – Have a Santa appearance, do karaoke, or make gingerbread houses

Kelsey Connor

Owner/Lead Planner

Connor & Co., Memphis, TN

I always suggest planning ahead so that you can truly be present and enjoy the moment.

I always suggest planning ahead so that you can truly be present and enjoy the moment. Meal plan and shop early, prep your decor early, it truly pays off. Here are my top 3 ways to create a holiday event that is memorable:

 

1. Infuse personal details: this can be as simple as place cards or hand written notes at each place setting or as elevated as take home care packages to send with each guest as they head home for either after event recovery, a hot chocolate before bed or fixings for brunch the next day.

 

2. Lights! Don’t forget to focus on lighting for your event, especially around the holidays. Twinkling white lights are magical at this time of year.

 

3.  Flow and Food: To me these go hand in hand, plan out your event to have a good flow and be intentional and thoughtful with your food so guests leave having had an experience and with bellies filled with tasty treats.
Alicia Keats

Alicia Keats

Founder

Alicia Keats Weddings & Events, Vancouver, BC

When throwing a party, work to touch every sense. 

Clear invitations to your guests with dress code and expected menu and/or activities.  This makes sure you have a plan and guests are cued up for the plan whether it is ugly sweaters, karaoke or a potluck, guests know their role.
Hire staff to help you if you have it in your budget so that you can enjoy your family and guests without the stress of service and clean up to deal with.
Apple Cider on the stove with Orange and Cinnamon creates a great drink as well as an olfactory experience.  When throwing a party, work to touch every sense.  What will your guests smell? Taste? Touch? See? and Hear?
Some Ideas:
  • Smell – Scented Candles, Wassle, Peppermint Soap in the bathrooms
  • Taste – Holiday traditions, Candy Canes, Hot Chocolate, Red Wine
  • Touch – Wreath decor, Thick tablecloths (Or Tablecloth with underlining), Holiday themed hand towels for the bathroom, Holiday toys on the table during dinner conversation – think ornaments and wooden puzzles
  • Sight – Pick a color or thematic element like reindeer and go crazy.  Get things that you want to keep or donate them after your party.
  • Sound – Get your favorite holiday tunes into a playlist, for cocktails keep the music low.  Turn it up for your after dinner fun!
Cameron Toth

Cameron Toth

CEO

Toth Event Staffing, Valhalla, NY

Prioritize experience over expense.

1 – Be Bold.  Design a fun and engaging guest journey. Get creative in your registration page and add a line like what is your favorite “Holidays Traditions” or “Fun Facts”.  Your event should be a safe and welcoming environment for guests to mingle and create connections.

2 – Be Creative.  Get crafty with some holiday ornaments. It doesn’t have to be complicated. You can create Snowflakes, Christmas Cards, Tags. It is a fun way to bring people together and create a customized gift.

3 – Be Thoughtful.  Bring entertainment that are engaging and create an emotional connection with your attendees.

Prioritize experience over expense. Everyone has personally and professionally evolved over the last two years, keep that in mind when designing an event. The key is not to be afraid of experimentation.

The photos are from an event that I organized in Sao Paulo, Brazil with the Frozen theme.

Juliane Farinazzo

Juliane Farinazzo

Co-Founder | Event Strategist

Events By Bijou, Calgary, AB, Canada

My family has a make-your-own-pizza tradition on Christmas Day!

My family has a make-your-own-pizza tradition on Christmas Day! We started this a few years ago, and it’s so much fun. We set out all the toppings, and each person makes their own individual pizza. No one has to spend hours in the kitchen cooking, the cleanup is minimal, and we have more time to play games and spend time together. Plus it’s fun for all ages!

Heather Canada

Heather Canada Randall

Master Bridal Consultant

First Coast Weddings and Events, Jacksonville, FL

Pare food & cocktails related to a country.

Create Atmosphere or Theme

  • Holiday Celebration – Around the World
  • City Theme – Time Square New Year Party

Complement theme w/ Food & Beverage…

  • Around the World – pare food & cocktails related to the country…Israel w/ Hanukkah and Lox & Challah…French Alps w/ Cheese Raclette…Mexico w/ pork enchiladas
  • Highlight NYC Time Square restaurants – Carmines with their Antipasto & Pasta and Italian style WOW’s or Charlie Palmers oyster, franks in blanket and pretzels

Décor & Props’

  • Create a backdrop & photo op & props
  • Re-create the Times Square ball drop
  • Incorporate masks with 2021 and w/ straw holes

Constellation Culinary Group, Miami , FL