FTK Exclusive: David Tutera’s Tips for a Sophisticated Holiday Party

Early December – one of our favorite times of the year. Why? Because the holiday spirit is in full swing and there are plenty of parties to attend.

While it’s fun to be a guest at parties, nothing compares to the feeling of accomplishment you get by having your own get together. This year, be the talk of the town by throwing a sophisticated, elegant party for all your friends and family to enjoy.

Think you can’t pull off such a feat? Think again. We consulted party planner extraordinaire David Tutera, designer and star of WEtv’s hit series My Fair Wedding, for his best tips and tricks on throwing a grown-up sophisticated party fit for your grown-up sophisticated self.

A holiday party definitely calls for a certain type of décor. Tutera’s first piece of advice: “Don’t over think it! That can lead to adding every little holiday trinket you come across, [which can] look tacky.” Instead, keep in mind that your main goal is to set the holiday spirit and incorporate your own unique spin and personal style into it.

Tutera suggests sticking with what you’re good at. “Reuse what you have at home and use a combined inspiration of both the season, and your existing household style. Let this guide you through everything from your décor to your menu to your entertainment,” he says. Perhaps break out the good china and glassware and combine them with seasonal napkins.  Or opt for decorations that compliment your regular color scheme instead of going with greens and reds just because it’s Christmas time – but that clash with your décor.

You don’t have to break the bank for your soirée, either. The most important splurge items are food and beverage. Other simple touches like candles or decorative pine cones can add ambiance in seconds and don’t cost much. For entertainment, instead of hiring a live band or DJ, try opting for a great holiday playlist on your iPod.

What makes such a playlist? While you can’t ever go wrong with traditional Christmas songs, Tutera suggests mixing in other non-holiday music too. To really up the elegance, instrumental holiday tunes are suggested.

When it comes to activities, consider a minimal, low-key approach. Singing carols, lighting a Christmas tree or having a gift exchange all work great.

You’re set with activities, décor and music. What about children? If you prefer to keep your party adults-only, Tutera says the most commonly accepted form of etiquette is to simply put only the names of the invited guest on the mailed invitation.

David Tutera

If children are allowed, you can designate a room, table or special area for the children with games or movies. This can ensure they’ll steer clear of the adults but still enjoy themselves and stay entertained.

Parties are about having fun, and there is always that one guest who has a little too much fun. It is up to you as the host to get things back on track, should they get out of hand.

“There are a few ways to go about approaching this situation without having your rowdy guest feel insulted, singled out or embarrassed,” Tuterra says. “Try gently approaching your guest by striking up a conversation and walking to a more remote area — this can minimize their distractive behavior and also help them relax. Perhaps offer them some food, coffee or (non-alcoholic) eggnog to soak up the alcohol and prevent them from further drinking. [Most importantly] a good party host will make sure they have a safe way to get home.”

To end your party, send your guests off with a sweet holiday treat to remember the night— treats from your favorite bakery shop or your own personal recipe work nicely. Creative packaging adds a nice touch as well.

No matter what you go with, remember to not stress out, personalize your event, and most importantly have fun!

In-post Images: In order of appearance Cleveland.com, blog.balsamhill.com and Maring Visuals