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Up the Ante with Holiday Parties

It seems impossible, but the holidays are right around the corner once again. While this is a time of year when many people find great pleasure in the traditional, there is always an opportunity to wow guests with a new twist on an old favorite—or even a new favorite destined to become a tradition.

We asked two colleagues to share their best advice for upping the ante with holiday parties this year, and they came through with some fun and forward-thinking ideas.

Holiday venues

Shannon Tarrant, Founder of Wedding Venue Map expects to see hosts selecting unique venues this year for their holiday parties. Instead of hotel ballrooms, plan to help them find something with “a distinct style to create memorable experiences.”

Unique options for going glam

Amy Abbott of Amy Abbott Events anticipates that holiday parties will once again be glam and formal this year. Even so, opulence is being revolutionized. Abbott is “100 percent crushing on this website:,” featuring “elegantly designed, one-use place and flatware settings that rival any high-end rentals.” A celebrity-worthy look at accessible prices? Abbot is inspired by the fun and festive compromise, or, as she puts it, “Amazing stuff at a tremendous value—seriously STOP IT!”

Holiday catering ideas

Wondering what to serve at your holiday parties this year? Abbott suggests “cocktail-sized bites and plenty of them. Serve them on silver trays with festive and colorful cocktails.” She also notes that, “The Keto Diet is gaining momentum this season, so make sure to serve some selections that follow that food model.”

Interactive fun

Fun is the focus for Tarrant, who recommends that, “A great addition to any large event is a slow-motion video booth. Not only do participants enjoy them, but the loop of videos from the entire night allows all guests to be part of the fun.”

Celebrating with your team

Don’t forget to celebrate the holidays with your own team! Tarrant likes to look for fun alternatives to a nice dinner and cocktails. Highly interactive activities like “a dinner show, group golf experience, or escape room,” are popular with her crew.

Abbott and her team “do a Posada each year, and invite spouses and kids and make it light and fun.” Together they “celebrate working hard, having flexible schedules, and being there for each other.” As Abbott adds, “Teamwork and collaboration are worth celebrating all year round.”

This holiday season holds much promise for events of all types. How will you up the ante for your clients and your team?

Meghan Ely will present at Catersource 2019! Join her as she presents on global wedding trends on Sunday, February 24. Click here for session information and here to take you to registration.

Meghan Ely

President, OFD Consulting, Richmond, VA

Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast. 

Photo: Melody Smith Portraits