Liz Taylor, who has been at the forefront of the UK event and party scene for more than 30 years has ideas to make your celebration fizz.
CURATING CHRISTMAS CELEBRATIONS
You can never plan too early for the Christmas party season. With many companies already midway through their event planning, attention will soon turn to the parties at home and private celebrations. And while Christmas is the season to be jolly, it’s also a time when diaries are squeezed to the max and you really want to prioritize your time enjoying the festivities. So, our mantra: plan now, party later.
If you’re still pondering whether to host a classic winter white ball, a traditional green and gold, tartan-clad family feast, a darkly decadent day of glamor or something even more surprising, then here’s luxury event planner Liz Taylor of the Taylor Lynn Corporation to inspire you with the key Christmas party trends she’s seen.
WALKING IN A WINTER WONDERLAND
Ever wondered what it would be like to walk through an enchanted snow-covered forest straight out of the pages of a children’s novel?
The first party trend we’re being asked for for Christmas 2022 brings in lots of clear glass, crystal, Perspex, and icy blue lighting, to create an atmospheric frosted winter wonderland. It can be achieved in any event space.
Think of a hidden marquee accessed by a candle-lit pathway through the woods or a secret garden. Alternatively, a contemporary venue with floor-to-ceiling windows provides a wonderful backdrop to reflect tiny pea lights and an array of winter candles.
In décor, go for white or silver frosted twigs, trees, fruits, and foliage, mingled amidst a sea of twinkling lights. I would add a full-sized Christmas tree to flank the entry – greeting guests on arrival. Want to take it more upscale? Hang huge crystal chandeliers from the ceiling and take statement lighting to its extreme – a real focal point.
We always like to take things one step further at TLC. Have your own ‘snow queen’ greet your guests at the door. A Narnia-inspired epic adventure where the entrance to a wintry party land is through the back of a wardrobe. Now that’s how to make an entrance.
BOTANICAL VS OCEANIC
Two Christmas styling trends are emerging from the general move towards sustainability within interior design. Both botanical and coastal themes have been omnipresent in homes for many years and this year, they’re making the crossover into Christmas décor.
If you are going down the botanical route, it’s not just about introducing greenery. This should be done in a sustainable way – potted plants and rustic Hessian baskets filled with live shrubs that can be replanted afterwards. And we don’t mean just your traditional winter holly and ivy – exotic palms and on-trend succulents will be making a festive statement too.
Alternatively, and not something usually associated with Christmas festivities, another emerging styling trend takes its inspiration from the fruit de mare. Here you’ll bring in shades of winter whites, silver, frosted Christmas trees, mixed with pastel blue, aquamarine and lilac colourways, mirroring the shimmering palette of the ocean. Shells and driftwood are given a festive shimmer with silver color to help them cross over into their new Christmas classification.
A return to nostalgia, the Victorian Christmases from Dickens and that warm, family emphasis of times past began to see a resurgence last year. Create an abundance of forest green, gold, and bright red decorations, mixed with garlands of frosted foliage, berry twigs, pinecones, and seasonal scented candles. Victorian-inspired baubles or Nutcracker toy soldiers add a sense of nostalgia. The vibe is tradition and family.
While traditional Christmas party styling never grows old, you can bring it up to date with slight variations on the color palette – sage green, bottle green, rich mulberry, or the brightest scarlet. Add in plums and yellow tones to complete the look.
Choose your venue carefully too. A Victorian mansion with bay windows to place your floor-to-ceiling Christmas tree would set the scene beautifully. Straight out of A Christmas Carol or Cranford.
For entertainment, think carol singers performing outdoors around a firepit. Often though, it’s the delicate, finer details that will make or break the party design.
Try a vintage thimble full of traditional mulled wine served with warm, bite-sized canapés, or a tin cup of hot soup for outdoor celebrations, followed by a surprise fireworks display the entire family will enjoy. And as for cocktails – have a miniature Victorian vintage train carry them around the bar for guests to help themselves. Presentation and drama are everything.
When cozy wooden lodges and the familiar smell of bratwurst and gluhwein begin to permeate the air, you just know it’s Christmas time.
Taking the party outdoors is still a huge trend and the past few years have proven that parties outside can feel festive.
Channeling the famous decadence of post-skiing parties in the Alps, the Après Ski theme is always a favored party design. You can opt for a tipi or yurt, but I would always recommend stretching the budget to include wooden huts or lodges, which give an authentic Alpine feel to the event.
Light cozy firepits or build an outdoor fireplace to huddle and cuddle around; fur throws on rustic benches add texture. Set the scene with pillar candles and twinkling lights, creating that warm ambience.
Catering is easy for this type of event: Swiss fondue or raclette to share always go down a treat. For a family event, consider miniature burgers or hot dogs served on a ‘ski’ platter. Or miniature warm pretzels with cheesy dips. The key is bite-sized comfort food here.
No Après ski party can go without a bar. Revellers can warm themselves with copper mugs of mulled wine or spiced cider, a hot chocolate bar with all the trimmings, festive cocktails, or of course, Schnapps. Want to add the wow factor – bring in ice sculptures or ice luges, or invest in a full ice bar as a centrepiece.
ROARING ’20S GLAMOR
The Jazz Age, despite being the era of prohibition, was also renowned for its decadent partying and this glamorous style is a huge trend in Christmas parties for 2022. Not traditional for festive events perhaps but the elegance makes the party feel incredibly special – exactly the vibe you are aiming for.
Champagne is back with a vengeance, so be sure to include a champagne bar if you are going with this theme. For an authentic feel, build a bespoke speakeasy behind faux walls and serve ‘prohibition’ cocktails dressed up with pearls and feathers. As for the dress code: go all out.
Ladies dripping with diamonds and feathers, men in their fine suits and hats. Talking of hats, add a personalized tag and they make a unique place marker on your tables. Hire a roving paparazzi-style reporter – think Clark Kent and Lois Lane – taking photos of guests, and you have an Instagrammable photo opportunity.
There’s a darkly decadent undercurrent to this trend too, with lots of blacks, emerald greens and lacquered brown finishes that perhaps wouldn’t be the first go-to for Christmas styling, but create a rich, elegant, and divine backdrop.
To these deep shades, add those 1920s touches – pillars in your room wrapped with gold sequins and baubles; pearls with ivy and seasonal foliage draped around a vintage gramophone at the center of your table; gilded touches – how about gold leaf to dress the top of a chocolate Christmas pudding dessert – pure opulence.
Add large, ornate Art Deco mirrors engraved with table and place names, or use them, photo-frame sized, as bar or buffet menus. Add an old sit-up typewriter in one corner where guests can type a message (no Twitter here).
A jazz duo or 1920s band will create the perfect atmosphere for flappers to take to the dancefloor and teach guests the Charleston.
For more festive party tips and Christmas styling see tlc-ltd.co.uk
Liz Taylor, who lives in Hale, is the founder and CEO of luxury event planners, the Taylor Lynn Corporation and MD at Liz Taylor Consultancy.