Top Tips on Hosting Large Events At Home

Tara Dickinson
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Large Gathering Decor & Style Guide

With seasonal holiday time upon us, or actually these tips are perfect for any large gathering throughout the year- birthdays, anniversaries, reunions- it’s time to look at the top tips for hosting stress-free gatherings that might be bigger than your usual dinner parties. The key is thoughtful planning.

  • To do lists.
  • Delegation lists.
  • Using ready-made items, plus potluck sharing and your large gathering will be amazing.

Largest Space Is For Dining

If you're having a formal dinner, you need space for chairs and tables, plus walking room all the way around. For most people, the living room works best.

  • Consider moving any furniture not needed into the garage.
  • See the How to Create More Seating & Festive Dining Guide for creative ideas on party arrangements and space maximizing tricks.
  • Rentals are always an option as well.
  • Folding chairs and tables are convenient as you can put them away when not in use.
  • If you're not having a formal dinner, consider going Moroccan-style, meaning seating and eating is on the floor.
  • Small low tables or something like plastic milk crates covered with fabric make for personal tables.
  • Criss-cross runners over the top so that each end lands in front of a seated guest.
  • Scatter throw pillows around the room for seating. 

Create Areas for Guests to Gather

People naturally migrate to wherever they find comfortable furniture. To make this process work to your advantage, group furniture together to create conversation areas. Add plump pillows and warm throws to lend a cozy feel that will encourage guests to linger.

Throw Rugs

Stripes visually widen a narrow room; the wider the room, the wider the stripes you want.

Signature Cocktail

A party hosting time-saver is to have a big batch of one signature cocktail ready for guests arrival.

  • Invite guests to help themselves to refills with a large punch bowl or pitchers filled with your signature concoction.
  • Might need to beef up your collection of glasses and other drink accoutrements.
  • Make sure you have a well-stocked bar with an assortment of spirits and sodas as mixers.
  • Try another kind of bar- an alternative to cocktails would be a hot drink bar, featuring hot chocolate, coffee, and teas. Stocked with mugs, fresh-ground beans, and a variety of creamers, sweeteners, and toppings.

Pick a Palette

Use the rule of three and choose three main colors to create a theme then carry those colors throughout with accessories: napkins, dinnerware, glasses, place cards, and any other seasonal decor and decorations.

  • The easiest way to pick a palette for your party is to incorporate colors of the season. Red, white and blue for Fourth of July or Memorial Day.
  • Incorporate pastel and fun pops of color for spring.
  • Summer parties look great dressed in bright, tropical shades.
  • Fall's hues are saturated and subdued with the autumn harvest colors.
  • And of course Christmas can be traditional with red, green and white, or more modern with the metallics of gold, silver, and copper.

No Disposables

Keep your party eco-friendly and use real dinner and dining ware.

  • Ditch one-time use plates, cups, and cutlery in favor of your prettiest dishware.
  • Picking up additional sets at your favorite second-hand store is an inexpensive way to add more items to your collection.
  • Same thing for napkins, choose cloth NOT disposables. 

Charcuterie Boards=No Cooking

Trending this year are charcuterie boards of all styles. Presenting these gorgeous food platters is beneficial in two ways:

  • One, you can serve food that appeals to a wide variety of palates.
  • Two, you don’t have to do any cooking, i.e. a huge time saver.
  • It's an easy way to put out different themed boards that have a little something for everyone.

Buffet All The Way

Buffet table service not only frees you from spending too much of the party time in the kitchen, it also creates a more casual feel that promotes mingling and conversation.

  • If you don’t have a buffet table or sideboard, now is a great time to get one of these ideal storage furniture items.

Lighting Highlights

Your lighting plan makes a real difference in the atmosphere of the gathering. Review the lighting guide to understand how floor, table, wall, and natural lighting all play a part in your setup.

  • Place tall floor lamps in the corners as the light is reflected by the two adjacent walls, creating even more luminosity.
  • Table lamps add another layer of light, creating an intimate mood.
  • Twinkle lights add a special fun feeling to your party and truly set a festive tone to the gathering.
  • Candlelight brings a subtle golden glow to the room. To spread the vibe,  intersperse tall candlesticks with lower decorative arrangements to create visual interest by varying heights.

Kids Koner

Not to forget the little ones, preparing a designated kids' area will ensure your party runs smoothly. Cover a table with brown craft paper to create a doodle and spill-proof surface. Provide a supply of healthy treats and art supplies so the kids can craft and munch the night away.

BONUS: Outside Holiday Party

If your area’s weather allows, take the whole shindig outside! This will cut down on the stress of preparing your home and keep things on a more causal level. Fire up the grill and ask everyone to bring their favorite side dish or dessert to share.

Happy celebrating!


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