One of the most daunting holidays to host is New Year’s Eve, for the pressure and expectation around celebrating the close of one year and beginning of the next. Between worrying about how much fun you’re having and who you’re going to kiss at midnight, décor is almost the easy part! Luna Bazaar contributor Amy Swift Crosby took on such a task for an early New Year’s fête, knowing that many local friends would be traveling to exotic locales for the day itself. Here’s what she had to say about all things Auld Lang Syne.
New Year’s Eve: The Event!
“I have always found New Year’s Eve to be a bit anticlimactic. Everyone has their own version of the ideal night – usually from movies! This makes hosting what should be a confetti-happy evening feel like the weight of the world. Knowing that many of us would be far away from each other on the 31st, I chose to collaborate on an early NYE party with my friend (and fellow Luna contributor) Jen Romans Dackert. We intentionally kept it small, inviting three couples to have an intimate gathering over candlelight, wine, and beautiful food so we could talk about the year gone by. I suggested everyone share a highlight of the past year and a hope for the New Year, which made conversation personal yet cozy. It was a big 2016, for so many reasons – some low-key reflection was in order. So I started there – a short guest list of people I love – with the mandate that they come in coat, tie, heel, and dress!”
“It’s fun to have friends dress formally for a night in. But for the concept to truly work – you’ll have to dress up your home as well! I chose dozens of mercury glass votives with turquoise blue candle holders and set them out along the mantel and in clusters around the house. Low light does wonders for a romantic, celebratory mood. It’s foolproof. I dimmed every light in the house and relied on the glow of candlelit mercury glass and punched tin candle lanterns to illuminate everything. Paper lanterns worked well in the foyer because we had the ceiling height to accommodate them. I love metallic party tassels for their shine and shimmer – so I used those to turn up the fun-factor. I invited everyone to choose a record to play in the first hour after all the guest arrived. People love vinyl – it allows them to reminisce in an unexpected way. The record player turned out to be a pinnacle of the party décor – a place of focus for people to gather around.”
“Champagne is a given on New Year’s Eve, and most people feature champagne flutes in their spread. But to spice it up a little, we used vintage inspired glassware with a champagne concoction during dinner, and then for our official toast, moved to the traditional flute. Guests yearn for transitions in the night to feel that a narrative is taking place. I intentionally started us off near the fireplace in the front room, and then moved to the dining room for the meal. It’s fun to feel led through the evening – as though someone has thought of everything. We did dessert in yet another room, festooned with an incredible hand embroidered table runner, and remained there – dancing and listening to pop music until it was almost midnight.”
Amy’s New Year’s Tips:
Decide if you want to go big or go small. Be intentional. Staying small means you get to set a table and talk – with plenty of time for dancing after dinner.
Take a tradition – like champagne – and have a little fun. I added Elderflower and a splash of peach juice to each embossed drinking glass for creative champagne cocktails.
Make a playlist that reflects what you want to do at a particular time of the party. We started with classic vinyl and then switched to an upbeat playlist for post-dinner revelry.
Create a meaningful activity – could be a white elephant gift or a suggested reflection. Guests like to rally around something to do!