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Host A Holiday Party With Panache, Says Fairfield County Event Expert

Madalene Benoist d'Etiveaud of the Greenwich-based business, Bash Weddings & Events.
Madalene Benoist d'Etiveaud of the Greenwich-based business, Bash Weddings & Events. Photo Credit: Jen Lynne Photography

GREENWICH, Conn. -- The party season is here with friends and family descending for visits, open houses and cocktail parties. But though it’s a time of thanks and joy, it can also be stressful for those who have limited time and resources for event planning. If you’re among them, fear not: Madalene Benoist d’Etiveaud of the Greenwich-based firm Bash Weddings & Events has easy, go-to tips to make your festive happening a bona fide hit.

Her low-stress solutions follow:

Choose Favorable Timing: Host your holiday party on a Sunday afternoon or early evening, say from noon to 4 p.m. or 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. to avoid competition from other events. Afternoon parties remove menu stress and allow for simple platters and light bites that can be paired nicely with champagne punch, mulled cider or Bloody Mary's.

Serve Low-Maintenance Food: Without the pressure of a Friday or Saturday night shindig, you can choose easy hors d’oeuvres, such as a platter of chilled shrimp or salmon with mini pumpernickel bagels and related toppings. An alternative, sweet tooth menu would be comprised of a selection of coffees, teas, holiday cookies, cakes and perhaps a specialty cocktail such as a pomegranate champagne spritzer. 

Set Up Dual Bars: Space permitting, it’s ideal to organize two bars in separate rooms, especially if you’re entertaining over 50 guests. If your home only accommodates one bar, set it up far from the entry way and limit beverage choices. 

Remember the Music: Background holiday music is always a safe bet and allows for lively conversation. You can commence with seasonal tunes, then segway into jazz or Top 40, using services such as Rhapsody, Sonos, or Pandora. 

Hire Help: Resist the urge to constantly tidy, and instead enlist extra pairs of hands to assist with restocking the bar and food tables, in addition to taking charge of clean up. Have helpers arrive early to prepare and float through the party to meet guests’ needs, so you can truly enjoy your company.

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