6 Tips for Planning a Spectacular Holiday Party

November 21, 2016

Santa Monica Wellness Holiday Gift Guide

48 Hours in Santa Monica

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Rule number one when hosting a holiday party: Don’t let the planning overshadow the fun.

So to minimize your time not spent sipping cocktails or champagne, we’ve checked in with our Director of Catering, Krystal Moreno, for some insights on hosting the perfect party this season, whether corporate or private. There are tips for your own home, combined with some insider recommendations when hosting at Shutters on the Beach and Casa del Mar.

With no further ado, on to Krystal’s recommendations:

1. An elegant theme can take a holiday party beyond the ordinary, whether the event calls for Great Gatsby-inspired style or a simple concept like a winter wonderland. Some groups are even pulling away from the holiday motif altogether, hosting culinary or seasonal parties to better include those that do not celebrate certain holidays.

2. Your gathering can be much more than a reception, so Krystal recommends arranging for live entertainment or a team building activity during the get-together. Bringing in a performer or planning an ice breaker will set the mood for the evening, especially at large corporate parties where guests may not know everyone in attendance.

3. Make sure to offer a variety of cuisine, especially if you know of any dietary restrictions. At Shutters and Casa, we aspire to please all palates with flexible presentations in hors d’oeuvres, stations, and three- and four-course plated dinners. (Think pumpkin risotto, roast turkey with apple walnut stuffing, and pan roasted Skuna Bay Salmon.)

4. When hosting a plated dinner, use place cards to seat guests next to someone they know and someone they should know. You can use the more formal arrangement to shape new connections among colleagues or extended family.

5. Give the room a focal point by incorporating a statement piece. From food and beverage displays to elaborate Christmas trees, the centerpiece will naturally give guests a place to gather – and set the stage for some memorable photos. (Our hotel event team has worked with ice sculptors to transform food stations into works of art, even crafting glowing ice sculptures with carved company logos.)

6. A specialty cocktail or a selection of seasonal cocktails will bring a festive ambiance to your gathering. We like a good Holiday Mule with Absolut, lime, apple juice, Fever Tree ginger beer, and Angostura spiced.

And most importantly: once the party begins, relax.

Because chances are your guests will enjoy themselves a whole lot more once they see you—the life of the party, of course—unwinding with an Oyster Shooter and a Bullet’s (Non-Egg) Nog. ‘Tis the season.

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