Want to avoid the New Year’s Eve letdown of ending up at a noisy club, or worse, a lousy party where you don’t know anyone? Sometimes the best New Year’s Eve parties are small affairs, hosted at home, with good friends.
You’ve already seen our list of 30 general ideas to use when planning the party, but there are a few small last-minute touches—all of which really just come down to common sense—that’ll take your bash to the next level.
Here, some last minute planning tips from Kate Odell, the editor of Eater L.A., to ensure that you start 2015 off right.
1. Keep glassware simple.
“Champagne tastes best when served in a white wine glass, so don’t hassle with buying extra glasses or trotting out your flutes,” Odell says. “Work with what you’ve got and the bubbly will taste better!”
2. Be prepared—with champagne glass tags.
“Have you ever gone to a dinner party, been presented with a glass of wine or Champagne, and after placing your wine glass on a nearby table, you look down to realize that there are three other glasses on the table and you have no idea which is yours?
And then there’s that game of ‘That must be yours you have red lipstick on…’ Guess what?! There’s a super easy way to avoid this dinner party dilemma,” Odell says. “Make your own Champagne glass tags. Especially if you’re planning New Year’s Eve party. Use anything from cute paper cutouts to jewelry tied to strings looped around glasses.”
3. It’s all about the lighting.
“If it’s a dinner party, dim the lights—it makes it warm and cozy.”
4. Decorate with plenty of candles.
“Candles are festive, but avoid scented ones,” Odell advises. “You want to smell and taste your food and wine, not potpourri!”
5. Spend time on a killer playlist.
“Turn on Spotify or Pandora and put on a playlist of laid-back, but upbeat music,” Odell says. “You want to keep people relaxed, but not falling asleep!”
6. Give the perfect toast.
“A good toast happens with the five senses—feel the glass in your hand, smell the Champagne aromas, look at your companion, hear the glass clink, drink the champagne.”
7. Send your guests home with a parting gift.
“Without breaking the bank, I love to send guests home with a little take-away snack (like they do at Bouley and Per Se). Make something simple or put together little jars of cookies. They’ll enjoy them when celebrating 2015 at home the next day!”