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10 Easy Steps to Throwing the Best New Year’s Eve Dinner Party

10 Easy Steps to Throwing the Best New Year’s Eve Dinner Party

Regardless of the occasion or holiday, I’ve noticed that a lot of people tend to shy away from dinner parties and opt for the easy cocktail party these days. But what is holding you back from having your closest friends over for dinner? Below are my tips on hosting a dinner party for New Year’s Eve without all the preconceived stress and hassle.

Stick to your BUDGET: Create a budget by thinking of all the components you want at your party before diving in and making impulse purchases. A budget does not just mean a set dollar amount but rather that number broken up into the specific categories (food, beverages, décor, flowers, etc). Remember that during the planning process, you can certainly shift money around into other categories if you’ve been able to find some great deals or even changed your mind about specifics.

Organization: “I’m OVERWHELMED!” – Create a spreadsheet to keep everything together. Helpful categories, such as Budget, Timeline, Purchases, Recipes (if cooking), and Notes, can assist in putting all your thoughts logically on paper. Use a large box to keep things together so you aren’t scrambling around the day of your party trying to locate everything.

Alcohol: “You expect me to cook AND fully stock a bar?” – Well if you can that is impressive, but not necessary. Instead of having a fully stocked bar, provide an assortment of wine, beer, and offer a signature cocktail like Lavender Champagne. If you already know what your guests prefer to drink then that helps, but ask your local liquor store for suggestions.

The Meal: “I’m expected to cook an entire meal for twelve people? I’m not Betty Crocker!” – If you are a whiz in the kitchen, I’m jealous. Cooking is half the battle of throwing a dinner party if cooking is not your forte. Instead of trying to make an entire meal and dessert from scratch, use your local caterer or gourmet grocery store to supply the dinner. Personally, I love Graul’s and Wegmans if I forego a caterer. As a happy medium, make the hors d’oeuvres and desserts homemade but rely on an outside source for the dinner. You’ll be able to spend time with guests rather than slave away in the kitchen.

Décor: “Décor is so expensive when I have to buy everything.” – This is where you can customize your party to you and your style! Don’t be afraid to step out of the box! Go through your house and use what you have or even borrow from friends, take a trip to grandma’s attic, antique shops, or thrift stores to stick to your theme. New Year’s Eve color schemes are black & silver, so try spicing it up by adding gold or even add an accent color like deep purple or blue.

Invites: “How do I get the word out?” – If you are going through the trouble of hosting a semi-formal dinner party, go the extra mile to send invitations through the mail. Tangible invites are more personal and meaningful to your guests. If you are environmentally friendly, there are recycled paper invites available instead of the typical “E-vite”.

Fashion: “BUT WHAT DO I WEAR?” – Get dressed up! It’s a great excuse to throw on your favorite LBD (Little Black Dress) or splurge on a fun sparkly dress. This is the perfect party to rock those glittery pumps or the loud accessories—you know, those crazy earrings and matching necklace you bought but never thought you could pull off? Wear them! Be bold!

Entertainment: “What music style is most appropriate? Should there be other party activities?” – Music is a must, but of course with the TV on mute so you and your guests do not miss any NYE festivities in NYC. Always pick something upbeat that everyone can enjoy.

Worried about what to talk about at the table? Holiday crackers/poppers are the answer. These are a great addition to any party! They are perfect conversation pieces; once you “pop” them open, they come with a riddle, prize, and a paper crown that even the most reserved party guest can’t help but enjoy.

To Use Pinterest or not to use Pinterest: “I pinned a thousand ideas!” – This is a great resource when throwing a party, but remember not to go overboard. Small DIY projects can easily add up, costing you a lot of time and money if you aren’t careful. I do not recommend selecting more than three new projects or recipes for one party.

Last but not least! Enjoy yourself and your time with your guests! New Year’s Eve is a night for celebrating. As the host, you should be able to celebrate, too!


Val Englert is the owner of the event planning & consulting company, VME Events, LLC. From weddings to nonprofit fundraisers to VIP corporate events, we specialize in customizing your event with the hopes of exceeding your expectations and keeping the process as stress-free as possible. For more information, visit or contact Val at VME Events, LLC can also be found on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest & Twitter.