How to throw a great New Year’s Eve dinner party
Start your 2023 off right with these New Year’s Eve dinner party ideas. Styling your home isn’t as easy as it looks, but with these helpful tips the count down a brand new year will run that little bit smoother. From tablescaping to styling your cocktail corner and fancy glassware, here’s how to wow those guests with a little help from Next.
1. Decorations to match the celebrations
Nothing says celebration like good decoration. You might have taken the Christmas tree down, but do make an effort to keep it festive to put guests in a party frame of mind. Decorative bunting, wall decorations and photo props will cover the basics, but you can really ramp up the look with some festive mantelscaping, confetti-filled balloons, sparkly disco balls and Happy New Year signs (Next has a handy New Year Party in a Box that covers all the basics). If you want to keep things a little more low-key, try paper baubles dangled on some light-up twigs – an effortless and elegant look that carries through from Christmas to New Year.
2. Prep a cocktail area
No party is complete without a glamorous cocktail bar! This can be a large or small as you have space for. If you have a handsome cabinet at home, why not convert it into a drinks station for the evening? Alternatively, bag yourself a drinks trolley like this gold one from Next. Relatively inexpensive, these clever carts make the perfect portable cocktail trolley. Stock it up with your guests’ favourite spirits, mixers, beautiful glassware, cocktail shaker, and some decorative accessories to ensure you’re the hostess-with-the-mostess! beverages, to make them feel extra special and so they can go into the new year with a bang. This way, your guests can serve themselves and won’t keep drifting off into the kitchen.
3. Tablescape like a pro
Tablescaping has become a huge trend and the festive season is the perfect time to go large. Start with your table linens, placemats and ceramics and build out from there. Gold is always a winner at this time of year, but if you already own a lot of these things in a certain colour scheme, then work around that. Candles always make a lovely touch, but be sure to place them so that your guests can still see each other, and so that nobody will get burnt when leaning over them (LED candles are a good shout!). Natural or faux foliage is another one to add to a beautiful tablescape, as well as two or three stand-out decorative pieces, place cards and party favours. It’s less about the centrepiece and more about making the whole table look decadent.
4. Playlists and party games
It’s a long haul, a New Year’s Eve do, so make sure you have enough activities planned to keep guests entertained. The playlist is the easy bit – find a pre-made list on Spotify, or curate your own. People usually have enough chit-chat to sustain them before and during dinner, but there’s often a post-feast lull. But don’t try and rouse your guests for a game of Twister straight after dinner – bellies are full (although it’s often well received around 11pm). Instead try a game you can play at the dinner table, like Articulate (always fun), Cards Against Humanity (bit naughty) or Trivial Pursuit (for the more cerebral). You could even turn your entire evening into a murder mystery dinner party, although this does require a bit commitment, so consider whether this would be suitable for your guestlist.
5. Upgrade your glassware for the big toast
Prepare to ring in midnight with sparkling new wine glasses or champagne flutes. You may find you guests need several glasses during the course of the evening. If you’re starting with cocktails, make sure you have the right glasses. Then you’ll need wine glasses for dinner (red wine glasses and white wine glasses if you want to be proper about it), and you’ll almost certainly want champagne glasses for the big toast at midnight. If this all sounds a bit much, you can get around it by simply investing in an Art Deco-style glass that doesn’t fit into any of the above categories, like the Margot glass from Next. That way, you can’t be accused of using the wrong glass for the wrong drink!
MORE ON NEW YEAR ENTERTAINING
- 7 glittering gold New Year’s Eve party decorations
- 4 delicious New Year’s Eve canapé recipes
- Shaken, not stirred: 7 stylish drinks trolleys
- 12 days of great Christmas cocktail recipes