Planning to entertain loved ones, friends or coworkers this holiday season, and don’t know where to start? Well, Say Yes to the Dress’ Randy Fenoli tells his tips for throwing a great soiree! Make your party the highlight of 2016 by following these simple tricks.
Tip No. 1: Create a Timeline!
“I usually do a time line. I’m very organized because I like to enjoy the holidays. You know, 12:10 p.m.: Preheat oven. 12:20 p.m.: Do this. I set my alarm clock for around 10 minutes or 15 minutes for whatever is on the list. Then when it goes off, I look at the list and do it. I don’t have to think about what I’m doing so I can enjoy time with my guests.”
Tip No. 2: Plan Your Menu in Advance!
“My best suggestion is to really sit down and create a menu and create a plan of attack, and think of what things you can make in advance that won’t go bad. I even go to the point where I pull out all of my dishes and decide what’s going to go in each dish and what’s going to be served. You have to make sure you have the right utensils. I literally take sticky notes and I stick them on my platters like, ‘The turkey goes here,' just so the day of you’re not like, ‘OK, what am I going to put this in? Is it going to fit in? Do you have enough?’ You may have to go out and buy some special dishes you don’t have. Just kind of work it all through of how it’s going to be served. If you get all that ahead of time and prepare, then it really takes so much pressure off.”
Tip No. 3: Store-Bought Desserts Work!
“It’s not a bad thing! There are a lot of places that make really good food, like Whole Foods, and there are bakeries. Baking can be really challenging for some people,” he says. Another tip for baked treats? "You can take them out of their containers, so it doesn’t look store-bought.”
Tip No. 4: Ask Your Guests What They Want!
“Today, a lot of people are vegan or vegetarian and have special dietary needs. You need to find that out and make sure all of your guests are accommodated. You don’t want them to come over and not be able eat anything. I always make a list of what I want to cook. I’m going to email them and say ‘Here are the options. Check off what you like, and I’ll do my best.’”
Tip No. 5: Decorations Set the Mood!
“It depends on the mood you want to set. If you want it to be very festive and fun, then make the decorations that. If you want more formal, then think of a more formal setting. It depends on who you’re inviting and who is attending.”
Tip No. 6: Don’t Do Everything!
“Another thing I think is really important is that when you’re throwing a party and you want everyone to have a good time and feel involved, don’t do everything. Make a list of some things that people can do when they get there. Don’t have everything done because people will come and they’ll just sit there while you run around the kitchen and try to finish things up. I always leave certain things, like maybe I’ll have the place cards made out and be like, ‘Here, go do the place cards, or here’s how I want the napkins. Can you go do something?’ Then you get people having a conversation, and then it’s their party. For me, one of the most important things is to always have something that’s not finished so that everyone can join in and feel like they’re not just a guest, but part of the party.”
Tip No. 7: Music Is Key!
“You really need to think about all of the senses besides the lovely smells that are coming from the kitchen. I always have scented candles lit. The lightening should be just right. I usually make a playlist for every party I have. I think it is very important to play music that appeals to everyone at the party. If you want it to be formal, you’ll pick more formal music. If you want it to be a fun, rip off your clothes and get drunk, you’re going to be playing wilder music. I think that both are appropriate by the way. It just depends which crowd is coming to your house.”
Tip #8: Games & Alcohol Are a Good Mix!
“Get [your guests] moving and laughing. Things that are animated, like Jenga.… The more people drink and pull out the little blocks and it comes tumbling down, it’s funny. I think you really need to think about your guests.”
Source: usmagazine.com Photo: Gonzalo Marroquin/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images