how to throw a grown-up new year’s eve party

how to throw a grown-up new year's eve party

I know it’s not even Christmas, but I’m pretty excited about our New Year’s Eve plans, probably because we’ve had these plans for approximately six months. Pretty much since we signed the contract on our new construction home and we knew that we’d be moved in before the holidays (turns out it was just before), we knew that we wanted to have just a few close friends over. And since we live about an hour away from these friends they are going to stay over and I’ll make brunch the next morning.

You may be incredibly excited for your wild and crazy New Year’s Eve plans, but I’m definitely too old for that. I’m looking forward to having a cozy evening with friends, with plenty of food and drink, and definitely some laughs as we’re planning on playing this game.

If you’re like me and you would rather ring in the new year with a group of friends at home (or maybe even a big group of friends somewhere else) – here are some quick tips to have a grown-up party that is classy, not trashy, but still fun.

Start Later

I like to time New Year’s Eve parties to start a few hours before midnight. If you start too early, your party (and your guests) can run out of steam well-before the new year and what fun is that? For parties in my home, I like to tell guests to arrive between 8 and 9, or have a hard start time of 9. That also makes it a squarely after-dinner party in most circles.

Have Plenty of Food

At any party where you will be serving alcohol,it’s important to have plenty of food. I will admit that I almost always overdo it in this category and have way too much food, but at least I’ve never run out! This is also on my list of guidelines for office holiday parties.

My recommendation is to have a mix of savory hors d’oeuvres and sweet desserts. Don’t completely skip one or the other. Plus it’s still the holidays so you can definitely still put out Christmas cookies or other holiday-themed desserts.

Since the party is at least a few hours long, have room temperature items available when guests arrive and then bring out hot items after most guests are already there. Be sure to clear hot items that have gotten cold if there are leftovers. I try to stagger my hot items.

how to throw a grown-up new year's eve party

Have champagne (obviously)

This one is a no brainer, but I think you can incorporate champagne (or sparkling wine for most of our budgets) into some fun signature cocktails to serve throughout the night. The best part about champagne cocktails is that once you start mixing champagne with other liquids, you can’t tell the quality of the champagne as much. This is the perfect opportunity to use the cheaper stuff. Save the nice bottle for midnight! I’ll have some recommendations for champagne cocktails later this week!

Invest in some champagne flutes if you don’t have them – champagne really tastes better in them. I personally like to pour the champagne for midnight at just a few minutes before, pass them around on a cute tray, and then start the countdown.

how to throw a grown-up new year's eve party

Have a plan for entertainment

Every party will be different, but have a game plan ahead of time. A New Year’s Eve house party (or anywhere party) can get boring quickly if there’s nothing to do, since everyone feels compelled to stay until midnight. You might want to plan on having some games, or a movie, or music available. If you have a bigger party, feel free to devote one room as a game room – you can throw some board games down on a table or set up a mock casino.

Decide on which countdown you’ll watch (or if you’re doing your own!). If you’re keeping your own time, make sure you have the proper time. Nothing’s worse than missing midnight! I speak from experience there – the last time my husband and I went out to a ticketed bar party for NYE the band totally played through midnight and then offered only a halfhearted apology. I did not forgive!

Once the ball has dropped, depending on your demographics, the guests might start to trickle off, or maybe it’s just getting started. If you think your guests are going to get a second wind, why not have another round of snacks and drinks ready to go? Maybe with a 2014 theme?

Those are just a few ideas for a grown-up New Year’s Eve party. Your plans can be wildly different from ours – please share any ideas!

The Amanda Jayne Event Blog will be taking a brief hiatus for Christmas but we’ll return on December 26th with some champagne cocktail ideas for your NYE party.  Have a wonderful holiday!

Photo Credits {Little Retreats | Giving The Good LifeWhatevers Handmade}

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