Your tree may be artificial and you may lack a mantel on which to hang the stockings with care but hosting a holiday get-together in a condominium is entirely possible, according to event planner Kristina Chau of Not Your Average Party. Here she provides 10 tips on small space entertaining.
1. Give your neighbours and doorman advance warning — they’ll be less likely to complain. “Noise can definitely be an issue so be conscious of the time and on what day of the week you’re hosting the party. Be respectful to your neighbours by letting them know ahead of time, or, if you have a good relationship, invite them. In most cities, noise is permitted until 11 o’clock — after that it’s time to turn down the volume.”
2. Don’t go overboard with the guestlist. “Be realistic in terms of the number of people that can fit into your condo. There’s nothing worse than having an overcrowded space, which will also contribute to more noise. If you do wish to have a large guestlist and your condo has a party room, consider renting it. It will cost more, because you’ll have to pay a damage deposit and for extra security, but you’ll be less likely to have noise complaints if your guests are in a contained space, away from other residents.”
3. Utilize alternative seating to maximize space. “I like the casual style of standing with a mix of a little seating — but not too much. You want people to be able to flow and mingle. Cocktail style parties work best in condos, where you can make use of a dining room table or an island as a communal food table for people to stand around. Floor cushions, ottomans and folding chairs work well for extra seating.”
4. Spike the punch bowl. “Punch is one of the greatest beverages for this time of year — it’s a time saver because you can make it in advance. I like to use fun, seasonal ingredients that add festive color like cranberries, pomegranate and blood orange. Again, always consider the size of your party — if it’s really intimate, you can make personal cocktails for your guests and have a customized menu. But if it’s a bigger party, consider hiring a mixologist. The key is simplicity, because you’re going to be running around the condo all night. Also, don’t forget to have a mocktail version of whatever you’re serving for those who don’t drink.”
5. Send out invitations early. “I’m not an etiquette stickler but it is a good idea to give plenty of advance notice, especially this time of year. Even a month ahead is warranted because people are super busy. Online invitations are great because they’re easy to make and allow you to manage the guestlist. If you’re hosting a dinner party, you can ask guests about their dietary restrictions. This is extremely helpful because there’s always going to be someone in the mix who doesn’t or can’t eat everything. I like to use Paperless Post, Greenvelope, Punchbowl and Evite.”
6. Be prepared. “Think of your menu in advance and go shopping at least a week before. Then, you can spread out the food prep over a few days — you don’t want to concentrate all of the cooking on the day of the party.”
7. Deck the halls, but not too much. “Keep the decor minimal. Pick a theme and stick to it. Personally, I like to choose a color scheme and integrate it into the accent serving pieces — whether it’s napkins, servingware, tablecloths, etc. Minimalism is key because if you have a small space, you don’t want it to be cluttered with a lot of decor.”
8. It’s okay to forego the traditional tree. “With condos, sometimes you can’t fit a full-sized tree into your space. I’ve seen a lot of table-sized trees this year, which are super cute and only about $20. There are many great alternatives out there.”
9. Chill your beer outdoors. “If you have a balcony, make use of that space! It’s cold out this time of year, so put your beverages outside to chill. Condos only have so much space in the fridge.”
10. Take care of yourself. “As a host, it’s important to get plenty of rest the night before and to stay hydrated. You’ve got to be ‘on’ until the last guest leaves, it’s your job — whether you’re topping up drinks, refreshing the food, or introducing guests to one another. You want to make sure everybody is having a good time, but for you to also enjoy the party you’ve got to be rested, prepared and hydrated.”
If you’d like to learn more about Kristina Chau and her event planning service, Not Your Average Party, visit notyouraverageparty.ca.