How to plan the perfect New Year's Eve party in 8 simple steps
- Credit: Alamy/PA
At home invitations mean a lot more this year, as we can (cautiously) throw open the doors, hug friends and hold a party… yay!
But where to start? It’s only natural your party planning powwow might be a little out of practice, or you just need to sharpen your tablescaping skills with some special little touches. To ring in the New Year and make sure nothing’s left to chance, take inspiration from our checklist and expert tips from the pros…
1. Send out party invites
Whether it’s by post or email, nothing sets the tone like a proper invitation – and it’s not too soon to start counting down and letting the excitement build. It’s also an excellent excuse to ask friends to bring something, whether it’s a bottle or party poppers.
2. Keep it simple
“When you’re throwing parties, the most important thing is ‘KIS’ – Keep It Simple,” says Daniel Hulme, CEO of One Fine Dine, gourmet home delivery service. “To keep it simple, there are some things I always think about and give advice to people when they’re going to do parties, no matter what size it is.
“Under ‘KIS’ is the drinks aspect. Do a couple of cocktails and keep it to that. If you start putting out multiple mixers, it becomes a mess, so keep it simple, two to three cocktails max.”
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3. Plan ahead
“Get organised. If you’re going to do party food, simple nibbles, platters, things that are easy to put out, make them the day before and get as much done as you possibly can,” suggests Daniel. “You don’t want to be rushing around in the afternoon, because you’ll get tired, stressed and won’t enjoy your party.”
4. This way to the bar…
Once you’ve settled on what you’re going to serve, set yourself a dedicated drinks station to keep guests refreshed throughout the celebrations.
“Depending how much space you have, a drinks trolley can be a brilliant option,” says Wayfair‘s resident style advisor, Nadia McCowan Hill. “Whether you’re offering mocktails, cocktails or fizz to toast the start of 2022, a drinks station will add a sense of occasion to the festivities.
“If you’re hosting a NYE dinner party, a trolley on wheels makes it even easier to manoeuvre from guest to guest.”
5. Don’t hold back on the décor
“New Year’s Eve is the night to set the tone for the year to come, and celebrating at home is all about adding metallics and shiny decorations to your space, whether that’s gold, silver, bronze, or a combination of the three,” says Marc Epstein, interiors expert and design specialist at CARME Home.
Marc says to focus on your areas and stick to a theme: “The space you have and vibe you’re trying to achieve will ultimately determine what décor you decide on. Are you hosting in the kitchen and living room, or do you have an outdoor space you need to warm up?
“Once you have figured this out, your theme of choice will come more naturally. You just need to ask yourself questions, such as do you have a dining table appropriate for hosting a formal dinner? Or whether your space is better suited to drinks and nibbles. Either way, it’s important to contrast your evening, don’t let the night be too formal or too casual.”
6. First impressions count
“Think about your décor in the order your guests will experience it in,” says Marc. “For example, how are you greeting your guests? Would you like to make a big impression upon entry? Wreaths and lighting are a great way to create a ‘wow’ moment and impress your guests.”
Nadia agrees: “To add some extra sparkle, why not layer up your existing Christmas decorations with some NYE decorations? It could be something as simple as a hanging garland or extra lighting.”
“If you don’t want to add more decs to the room, instead just focus all your efforts on creating an Instagrammable tabletop as the perfect backdrop for celebrations,” say Nadia.
“Run delicate glitter garlands down the middle of the table, lots of fresh greenery like eucalyptus, and silver charger plates at each place setting, for a splash of colour and an elegant finish.”
7. Make memories at midnight
“Midnight is the pinnacle of the evening, so make sure your New Year starts with a bang,” says Marc. Most importantly of all, keep the champagne pouring and never let a glass go empty!”
8. Make clearing up easy
Depending on numbers and budget, if you’ve got a bit of cash to throw at the party, Daniel says to head down to your local DIY store and buy four or five black bins and heavy duty big bin-liners which don’t leak. “Two of those bins are going to be your ice bins for your drink cooling and the other three are going to be your rubbish bins.
“Strategically position them – I wouldn’t go near glassware if you’re doing large numbers – and go with full-on biodegradable cups, so that everything can be thrown into those bins. If you want to go one step further – label them biodegradable bin.”
As Daniel puts it: “No matter how well-behaved your friends are, stuff always gets trashed!”