Do you ever feel like your humble abode may be too cramped for entertaining? Living in a small space doesn’t mean having to sacrifice throwing a fabulous party. With a few holiday etiquette hostess rules and some tips from our friends at Little Miss Party Planner, your guests will socialize, sip, and savor in comfort and style. Take the time to plan out your space, add a bit of decor, and serve signature favorites. With this advice, your soiree just might be the highlight of the season! Here are some tips on how to host a holiday party in a small space:
Declutter your furniture. Clear your party space of any furniture you won’t be using for the party. Small love seats or tables can be temporarily moved to the bedroom to make more space for mingling. Prepare a space for guests to leave coats, scarves, and other personal items they may be hauling in cooler weather.
Create a festive table scape with glitter and plaid. Use a tartan fabric to create a table runner or use craft paper and duct tape to wrap bottles and vases. Fill a large vase with eucalyptus or white branches strung with twinkle lights.
Check your backyard or local park for fallen pine cones. Take them home and use them scattered as centerpieces or as place cards for each table setting. Have guests take them home as party favors from a memorable evening.
Keep food simple. When space is limited, keep the menu easy and simple. A smaller menu will help you keep the food coming and the mess to a minimum. Ensure that everyone has something tasty to nibble on by having guests notify you of food allergies and dietary restrictions well in advance.
Serve buffet style. Don’t have a dining room big enough for 20? No problem! Set your food out buffet style, and you won’t have to worry about having enough space to seat every guest around a table. Encourage mingling by introducing guests to one another as soon as they arrive. They will get to know each other even better while standing in line waiting for the holiday fare.
Serve food and drinks at opposite ends of the space. People tend to linger near the drinks so if they’re being served too close to the food, you are going to end up with a bottleneck. Spread out the two stations, and you will create a much better flow throughout your party space. Set up a separate table for dessert if you have a spare folding table.
Start your party with a large cheese plate. Grapes, olives, crackers, crusty bread and dried fruit will make up the perfect platter to feed your guests while you are preparing the hot food for dinner.
Serve a signature drink (and lots of it – they are always a hit!) at your bar. A winter sangria is delicious and is a beautiful centerpiece in itself. Mix fresh rosemary, cranberries and sliced oranges into an Argentinean Wine. Taste as you mix and sweeten with some sugar or Agave syrup as needed. Keep the bar simple and easy for your guests by adding bottles of white wine and a bucket of cold beers. Don’t forget to set out bottle openers.
End dessert on a sweet and cozy note. Mexican coffee loaded with whip cream alongside mini apple pies will give guests the energy boost they may need for the trip home.
For more of Diane’s thoughts on etiquette related topics, connect with her on Huffington Post.