We don’t know about you, but the holidays always seem to sneak up on us! This year is no different, and we’re left with just a few weeks to plan all of our holiday parties and events. So we turned to our trusted party planner pros for their best advice on pulling together an amazing event in a short time frame. Read on for tips and tricks from the gals at Gather Events, Sara Fried of Fete Nashville and Antonia Christianson of Antonia Christianson Events. Get ready to be the best hostess on the block!

holiday party inspiration

1. Less is more for holiday decor. The gals at Gather Events suggest “limiting your decor to areas that matter.” A few thoughtful pieces can go a long way. “Just because it’s a holiday party, doesn’t mean every surface needs to be covered in tinsel.” They suggest trying a few garlands of pine and greenery around the entryway and bar. Bonus: Your home will smell festive too! (Event design via Fete Nashville, photo via Amy Harris)

2. Keep it casual with bite-sized treats. Antonia of Antonia Christianson Events suggests, “Create a menu that is bite size and doesn’t require utensils.” Your guests will thank you! “This allows them to mix and mingle with each other without feeling like they need to sit down to eat.” Plus, miniature foods are just plain cute.

3. DIY food stations offer a little something for everyone. Event planner Sara Fried of Fete Nashville loves the idea of a DIY food bar. “Accommodate different tastes and dietary restrictions by having something that guests can customize, like a taco or nacho bar.”

4. Let guests indulge in some holiday sweets. When it comes to dessert, Sara advises you to go all out. “Don’t skimp on the dessert buffet. Save time by going to local bakeries and markets and getting a few of their best desserts,” says Sara. “Don’t be afraid to ask for help too. If your friend makes the best peppermint bark you’ve ever had, ask her to bring some!”


4. A signature cocktail is the way to go. “Simplify your life by narrowing down the drinks you offer,” say the girls at Gather Events. “A festive signature drink can be self-serve and made in advance,” Antonia says, adding, “Offer the same drink in alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions so all of your guests feel like they are partaking in the fun!” (Event planning via Antonia Christianson Events, photo via Tracey Sanders)

5. Get help so you’re free to sip and mingle. “If you can,” adds Sara, “splurge on a licensed bartender or mixologist to serve drinks.” No prep work required.


6. Make it an activity potluck. “Get your guests involved!” advises Gather Events. “Ask your friends and family to bring food and activities with them to the party.” You’re guaranteed to have something fun for everyone that way. (Event design via Gather Events, photo via Brian Tropiano)

7. No need to spend hours curating the perfect playlist. “Sites like Spotify are great. Find a pre-created playlist and take all of the hassle out of prepping music,” says Antonia.

We can’t wait to put these tips to good use for our upcoming events. Ready, set, celebrate!

Have another holiday party planning tip to share? Let us know on Twitter, and follow us on Pinterest for more party planning tips and tricks.