Now that Thanksgiving has passed, we’re officially in holiday party season.
If your formal dinner party has become old hat and Sunday brunch isn’t your style, here is some inspiration. Three event planners offer fresh ideas for seasonal gatherings that guests will talk about for the next 12 months.
Using Jack Frost as his inspiration, Chris Arredondo of Eclipse Entertainment in Arlington, Texas, shows that Old Man Winter is the perfect muse for a fun and festive party.
The Setting: As guests arrive to your home, Arredondo suggests, welcome them into your winter wonderland with a snow machine stationed at the entrance and blue, silver and white LED trees lining the driveway.
For the inside decor, use German feather Christmas trees and an assortment of LED-lit holiday branches throughout the house.
The Entertainment: No party is complete without music, so consider having a cellist play classic holiday songs as guests arrive, and then during dessert, having a pianist play upbeat jazz tunes.
If you have the room and the ceiling height, a Cirque du Soleil-style artist hanging from a chandelier, pouring champagne, is a great way to serve drinks.
For his menu, Arredondo collaborated with Fort Worth, Texas-based G Texas Catering (www.gtexascatering.com) to create a meal full of culinary favorites. Jack Frost martinis, made from pineapple juice, coconut, vodka and blue curacao, could be tasty sippers.
For appetizers, try grilled jumbo shrimp or crab claws displayed in specialty ice carvings and a mini martini salad bar. For the main course, spice-rubbed pork tenderloin, poblano and smoked cheddar-stuffed chicken breast and grilled rib-eye skewers would be winners.
Arredondo and the caterer suggest serving sides such as grilled portobello mushrooms, roasted garden vegetables and Greek salad.
After indulging in such a lavish and filling feast, keep dessert simple and sweet by passing around Godiva white chocolate truffles customized with your initials.
The Party Favor: As the party draws to an end, send guests off with a happy goodbye by giving them a special gift such as a holiday wine or a white frost-themed ornament.
Shower your guests with Southern hospitality, as envisioned by Keri Cook from A Sophisticated Affair in Arlington.
For the party’s invitations and decor, Cook says to keep it simple. Handmade invitations made from scrapbook paper and a metallic pen are understated, yet elegant. Mason jars tied with ribbons and nametags are great for doubling as glassware and place cards.
Decorate tables using lace cloths or an antique overlay with metallic details and floral centerpieces made from baby’s breath.
Cook suggests hiring an acoustic guitarist to play holiday tunes. Not only will the music give the party a country feel, but it also will keep the atmosphere laid-back so guests can enjoy themselves in comfort, she says.
Nothing says Southern like bourbon, so try a festive drink like a cranberry bourbon sour for your party’s signature cocktail. (You’ll find the recipe on Indulgedfw.com.) For the menu, Cook chooses to celebrate with Southern-inspired dishes, including shrimp and jalapeño cheese grits (served in martini glasses) for appetizers and a main course of pumpkin waffles and chicken with an orange cranberry compote (recipe above) and vegetable medley.
For dessert, Cook likes a Southern twist on the French classic creme brulee with a selection of sweets that might include a white chocolate and cranberry bourbon creme brulee, pumpkin creme brulee with pumpkin brittle and a ginger creme brulee with candied ginger.
BALLET AND BISTRO LADIES NIGHT
Spend an enchanting evening with the girls this holiday season, as envisioned by Ashley Paz of Vera Green Productions in Fort Worth.