By Phoebe Ollerearnshaw
After the frivolities of Christmas have subsided, the fast approach of New Year’s Eve celebrations pose as a substantial consolation. Hosting a New Year’s Eve party may seem like a cinch but, in fact, it requires thoughtful planning. To avoid the bustling crowds, overpriced drinks and excessive queueing, most people opt for a gathering at home. Discover our guide for throwing the best party imaginable to usher in the new year with a bang.
Whether you decide on a low-key get together or a formal soirée, start by planning the décor for your event. New Year’s Eve is a time to pull out all the stops; be bold in your decorative choices. If you are feeling especially creative, try your hand at origami—fold your own shapes to hang from the ceiling in vibrant colours. These can also be used as place setting ornaments on your dining table. Consider your lighting scheme carefully—try to select light sources that aren’t too imposing. Spiral fairy lights around pillars, across the ceiling or over any feature of the room you wish to emphasise. Position vibrant tassels, bunting or glowing lanterns across the doorways for a magical effect. You may want to create a feature wall; this could be covered with gold streamers, polka dots or a welcome message. If your location involves a nook or secluded area, convert it into a point of interest with a memories board. Arrange a medley of photos taken over the past year with your friends and family—a nostalgic touch and a perfect talking piece.
Keeping your guests amused for an entire night is no easy task. You may want to consider planning entertainment and activities to avoid any lulls in the evening. Try to include static areas of amusement where guests can please themselves. Consider a photo booth with props for your attendees to snap their own comical photographs. This is perfect for social media fiends and individuals hoping for a memento of the event. Think of some inclusive games that adhere to the tone of your party. If you have organised a cosy affair, host a quiz covering topics and happenings from the past year. Alternatively, if you have a considerable budget, you may want to hire a live band or a performer to keep your guests entertained. For a lighthearted atmosphere, include a karaoke machine or organise a lip sync battle.
Drinks & nibbles
Food plays a significant role in New Year’s festivities. Visitors will expect to be fed during the evening, so be sure to stock enough to satisfy their appetites. Serving bite-sized snacks and canapés is usually the preferred choice at such an event. Think sophisticated mouthfuls to kick-start the evening followed by more substantial offerings later on. This way the food can be pre-arranged; guests will be able to serve themselves and you’ll be able to devote your time to serving drinks and mingling. Consider food that is easily eaten without the use of excessive cutlery. This will also save you a mountain of washing up the next day. Unlike Christmas, you aren’t restricted in regards to the cuisine you serve. Try something daring such as Polynesian, Moroccan, modern British or South American food. You could even include a fondue (sweet or savoury) for guests to dip into. If you want to make a real impression, reveal a show stopping dessert after midnight.
Although some may prefer to go teetotal for a change, New Year’s Eve is usually a boozy affair. Try to cater to all tastes—provide a mixture of soft drinks and tasty alcoholic tipples. Champagne is customary on New Year’s Eve, although prosecco is a good substitute for smaller budgets. Why not create a prosecco station? Position a bar area for attendees to serve themselves a glass with different fruits, liqueurs and syrups to add. To mark the occasion, consider sourcing locally brewed spirits or ales for those who aren’t keen on wine—these thoughtful touches will be sure to impress your guests.
The New Year countdown
The defining moment of every New Year’s Eve party is the countdown. Be wary of this as the evening progresses and prepare something extra special for when the clock strikes 12. Fill boxes with confetti and supply them to your guests to toss in the air in celebration. Or if you are feeling particularly whimsical, set off a glitter cannon to flood the room with colour when the clock strikes midnight. You could even make your own countdown clock with gold numbers and glittered details. Alternatively, keep it simple and pop open your best bottle of Champagne to make a toast. The fine details will allow you to shape an unforgettable evening, launching you into the new year alongside your closest friends and family.