Top 10 Tips for Hosting an Epic New Year’s Eve Party

As 2014 comes to a close, there’s still one last mother-of-all parties to throw—a New Year’s Eve bash!

We’ve compiled a list of our top New Years eve party catering tips to help make your party a stress free and fun time.  Whether you plan to host the soiree of the century or a simple night at home, these pro tips will help you make sure 2014 is a year people will remember.

Count down to the new year with these NYE party tips:

10. For any party—but particularly for a New Year’s Eve party—you want to have some fun, too, as the host. So make sure most of your food is taken care of before the first guest ever arrives. (Or better still, have it catered!)

9. The good news is, New Year’s Eve is perfect for finger foods—think gourmet popcorn or spiced nuts, quick pickles and charcuterie, cheese straws, olives, bruschetta—and maybe a fun chocolate fondue for dessert.

8. Think about entertainment: if the party starts at 7 and the ball drops at 12, that’s a long time for small talk. Will there be dancing or live music? For smaller affairs, I love this idea from Real Simple of turning resolutions into a party game: have guests write down resolutions and then try to guess who said what.

7. There’s no way around it: New Year’s Eve is a holiday for imbibing! So be sure to remind guests to designate a driver ahead of time, or think ahead by ordering taxis or a car service guests can avail themselves of after midnight.

6. Speaking of imbibing, Champagne cocktails or punch can be a fun addition to your party without having a full bar. If you do go with a full bar, you might consider hiring a bartender or assigning a friend the job so you’re not stuck mixing drinks all night long.

5. New Year’s Eve parties lend themselves to a theme, and guests love it. Coordinate the food, music, dress code for maximum impact. Think: black and white or masquerade for a more elegant affair, or go for laughs with a “come as your favorite resolution” or “wear your least favorite trend” challenge for your guests. Share your theme with your caterer for clever food choices.

4. Party favors make great decor. Inexpensive champagne flutes can be customized for the party or guests. Put brightly colored (glitter?) lipsticks and costume bling out for guests to go glitz and glam. Cookies and other desserts decorated with the year look great before going home with guests.

3. Hire a photographer or designate a shutterbug friend to snap candid photos throughout the night. If your guests are techy, create a hashtag for your party and encourage everyone to post and tag so you can all share photos.

2. Pass out mints, minty desserts or cocktails, or breath spray to elicit a giggle before guests pucker up at midnight.

1. Happy New Year! You know you’ll have bubbly to toast the new year, but how else will you celebrate? Balloons and confetti? Party horns and silly hats? Will you watch the ball drop on TV or be your own MC? It’s the highlight of the party, so make it memorable!

Got big plans for New Year’s Eve? Staying home to cuddle up and watch Ryan Seacrest? Let us know about it in the comments below!

7 Ideas for Hosting the Perfect Spring Brunch

The official first day of spring was last week, and I’d wager to say that for most of us, it couldn’t come soon enough! Why is it that brisk temperatures and snow are so charming in November—and such drudgery in February and March?!

With spring comes the quintessential seasonal meal: brunch. Whether you celebrate Passover, Easter, Mother’s Day, or just the rite of spring, brunch seems like the perfect fit. I even think a brunch wedding could be an incredibly elegant affair! Something about the warmer days, the flowers peeking out of hiding, and the sudden urge to wear sandals and floral dresses (even for those of us who might otherwise never wear sandals and floral dresses!) just call out for brunch, so we’ve rounded up some of our favorite ideas for hosting a spring brunch everyone will love.

What makes a great brunch?
A few thoughts on the brunch as an art form:
It’s breakfast and lunch, so it’s key to have foods that bridge the gap. Decadent pastries can belong to breakfast or dessert, and egg dishes do an excellent job of satisfying those craving breakfast or lunch.
Serve coffee and tea. Not everyone drinks coffee. A selection of juices is also a must and I like to have at least one signature cocktail or punch.
Go beyond the mimosa or bloody Mary. I think the Moonwalk cocktail is a fun departure for most brunches.
Revel in spring’s bounty! Go for asparagus, leeks, ramps, spring onions, peas, radishes, fresh baby lettuces—all those fantastic veggies we’ve been dreaming about since December or so!

7 Menu Ideas for the Perfect Spring Brunch:

Crepes—Oh La La!
I love the idea of a crepe station for a brunch gathering that recalls the fabulous street carts and window shops of Paris. Since crepes lend themselves to a variety of fillings, they bridge the sweet and savory divide nicely. If you don’t have enough hands for a manned station, these ham and egg crepe squares also look delish and could be varied with different fillings.
Yogurt Bar
Greek yogurt is still all the rage right now, and a yogurt bar or pretty yogurt parfaits with fresh granola, berries, even a dollop of lemon curd, jam or whipped cream make breakfast feel a little more decadent. Look for Greek yogurt that is produced the traditional way—that is, strained to thicken it, rather than containing added pectin or other thickeners. Our partner – Barcelona Tours.
If you want to go in a little more unexpected direction, why not host an ethnic-themed brunch? Mexican food is always a crowd pleaser with huevos rancheros or chilaquiles. Serve some colorful pan dolce and maybe a tequila sunrise as well.
Calling All Quiche
Quiche, and its Italian cousin the frittata, is pretty standard brunch fare, but you can punch it up by serving many variations on the theme. What about a selection of six or eight different quiches, depending on the size of your party, served buffet-style with a simple green salad? Try one or try them all. This is a great make-ahead menu option.
Southern Comfort

Be sure to invite ladies to wear their best hats to your Southern-style brunch. Creamy grits with lots of toppings (bacon, different cheeses, sausage, herbs), biscuits and cream gravy, heavenly pecan rolls, even fried chicken and waffles if you like. Serve with sweet tea and a not-too-sweet Southern Comfort punch: 1 5th Southern Comfort, and the juice of 6 oranges, 6 lemons, and 6 limes, plus lemon-lime soda or sparkling water to taste.
Elegant Eggs
Make plain scrambled eggs seem a little more elegant by upping the ante when it comes to toppings and mix-ins. You can’t go wrong with a little smoked salmon and fennel, or try topping creamy scrambled eggs with a dollop of caviar and créme fraiche.
Salad Season
A spread of salads can also make a lovely brunch that takes advantage of seasonal produce. You might serve favorites like a warm spinach salad with bacon dressing, a fresh chicken salad with poppy seeds, fruit salad dressed in a lemon balm simple syrup, and minted peas. Slabs of crusty buttered baguette with slices of fresh radishes and sea salt make an elegant accompaniment. Choose a light cocktail like this fizzy elderflower cocktail that features St. Germain and Champagne.

8 Tips to Prevent a Catering Misadventure

So you’ve found your caterer; the food is amazing, you’re happy with the decorations, and everything seems like it’s going to go perfectly.


But planning isn’t everything, and there are always details that can be forgotten.

If you want your party to be perfect, then you need to be sure you know what you want. Here are some tips to get the most out of your relationship with your caterer.

1. Communicate! It might be the most important thing. Make sure you have discussed presentation, timing, and clean-up with your caterer so that everything can fall into place without a hitch.

2. Understand terms for yourself and your catering team. Talk to your caterer about how involved you want to be during the party. Turn it over to your caterer, be a gracious host  and have fun.By making sure your catering team understands exactly what you want, you can get into host mode and really enjoy your own party.

3. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If something is bothering you, ask your caterer about it. Most likely, if you have good caterer, your question or concern will already have been dealt with, but it’s very important to make sure that your caterer knows exactly what you want.

4. Be specific. If you have special guests or specific instructions, tell your catering team so they can make it happen. This will ensure that Aunt Brenda gets her salad dressing on the side and your father-in-law is never without his scotch.

5. Make sure your catering team understands the venue. Knowing the space is huge. If the team understands it well, you shouldn’t have any worries during your party, and won’t need to even think about the way things are going.