Holidays are fast approaching and the excitement is already filling my house - along with the stress and pressure. Anyone else feel like Holiday’s bring such a delicate balance of avoiding burnout, emotions and family dynamics while also enjoying the moments that come along with it?
As newlyweds, our first holiday season together was so exciting - we were lucky to not feel stressed too much but as our family has grown, our kids get older and our partners and siblings life stages change it has gotten harder and harder. Hosting holidays can be a whole new level of excitement and stress, but either way one thing is certain and that is the amount of work, planning and prep that goes into planning family holidays increases dramatically.
This blog we are going to cover all the hosting basics from choosing the location, menu, ideas, tips and (because we like to cover everything) a week of timeline that breaks down common tasks you want to do. If you want the real info to dig into you'll want to download the free 14 page guide - with examples, and week of timeline.
So you’re thinking about, or already committed to hosting a holiday event. Now what? Where should you even start? In our opinion we think this comes down to the same first step as any event - picking a date and location.
For holidays you are hosting you want to plan the date with any co-hosts, or if it’s a family event talk to them to make sure that they are available. Coordinating schedules gets trickier the older everyone gets and the more each person / couple needs to juggle their families as well. Hosting for friends or work is usually a bit easier and you can choose what works best for you and go from there.
Where should you host the holidays?
For location our holiday guide focuses on two main options: 1) hosting at home or 2) hosting at a venue (private event venue whether a single room or a full venue).
The free guide you and grab HERE lists out the pros and cons of each so here we’ll just focus on the main things that could make one option a better fit than another.
Whichever route you choose just be sure that you are allowing yourself the opportunity to ENJOY the festivities too - without that, hosting is just a chore you’ll dread and will exhaust you each step of the way.
What about your holiday menu?
Next up on the planning list - the food YUM! This is what most people look forward to the most, which can mean the pressure is on. After all, a party without food is just a meeting. Here’s a secret for those of you that do not own an apron let alone want to spend hours in the kitchen. Many people have holiday parties catered. That’s right - they leave it to the pros. Of course you can order from restaurants, but we suggest looking into local caterers instead. Professional caterers usually have holiday menus ready for you to look over, with details on pricing and custom options as well. In addition to that they typically can offer you a variety of services and presentation including:
Ideas to make your holiday party fun or unique
Holiday party planning already stressing you out?
We get it - even for us, event professionals, hosting is always a little more complicated than you wish it was. The to-do list to get everything ready in time seems to be never ending too! If you are looking for ideas or inspiration on how to relax during the holiday season - especially if you plan to host - then check out the 12th page in our free download for some ideas. We’ve also included our favorite ways to relax for you too, some are easy to do at home and others will leave you feeling refreshed and pampered.
Holiday Hosting: Week of Timeline
Before we wrap this up we wanted to touch on one more thing - the timeline. When it comes to hosting it’s important (especially for your mental well being) to have a timeline drafted so that you don’t feel overwhelmed, like you forgot an important part and that you don’t get behind and end up stressed. You can use our free timeline to get started and feel free to make it your own by adding / removing anything to truly make it fit your plans.
Just remember that you chose to host the holiday event for a reason - and you deserve to enjoy it too! So whether your guest list is 10 or 100+ people, you have got this! It will be over before you know it, so don’t overthink it and definitely don’t stress yourself out about it. The best part about holidays are the people you surround yourself with and the memories you make. Odds are everyone of the guests you have invited have been in your shoes and completely understand - so don’t put too much pressure on yourself friends.
Best of luck!
From wedding vows to celebrating a growing family we love to support, cheer and watch our couple's milestones.
Holidays with a little one is SO exciting - especially for baby’s first holidays. What most new parents don’t realize though is the list of items that you have to pack up and take with you when visiting family for holidays. If you grabbed our FREE holiday guide then we shared more details on that for you and in this blog are going to give you the list we promised. As a mom of three I understand so well how each time you pack can be tedious trying to not forget any items - and it always seems like one thing gets left behind. I could tell you so many stories about forgotten pacifiers, running out of wipes and being stuck in dirty shirts. If this lists helps you skip any one of those situations then you my friend are winning!
What should you not forget to load before hitting the family holidays?
One of the best things you can do for yourself and your little one is try to keep to your schedule. That absolutely includes naps! Depending on where you are headed you may or may not need some of these items if your host/hostess already has them on hand so be sure to ask if you are not sure!
Diaper bag and essentials
Other items I recommend are pajamas, a change of shirt for mom/dad, and a wet/dry bag to store any items that need to be saved until you get home to wash them.
I also highly recommend skipping the need to carry most of these by keeping a storage bin/plastic shoe box in your car at all times. Keep a spare change of clothes, first aid kit, diapers/wipes, snacks and a light weight blanket for oops/messes and you’re covered.
You know we're all about celebrations and that definitely include the Holidays!
In it we mentioned some of our own favorites and promised to share them with you. These are our go to recipes that are SIMPLE enough for even the newest of home chefs (that’s a thing right?) can tackle easily.
If you’re looking for gourmet, show stopping recipes this is not the blog article for you friend.
Entree ideas for the holiday
Side dishes for your holiday party
If you ask me, sides deserve more room on your table then the entree and definitely steal the show! Depending on your overall guest count you may want more or less. In our home we like a little it of everything and holiday leftovers (especially Thanksgiving) are always a GREAT problem to have so we tend to not hold back with sides.
Here are some classics to consider:
Sweets for your holiday menu
Don’t forget these at your holiday dinner
Now before we wrap up you don’t want to forget to think through your appetizers and drink options for the event. Our traditional holiday appetizers include cheese ball with crackers, and even though I am a sucker for a great charcuterie board - if there is not a cheeseball it’s not complete. My favorite recipe is one my grandma handed down, so don’t ask where it comes from but feel free to share and enjoy it with your family too!
Beverages - it’s such a delicate balance having a variety without overdoing it isn’t it? Smaller events are almost easier - grab a variety pack of soda, a variety case of beer and a great red and white wine option and you’re set! Larger crowds make it harder, as you end up having to buy so many that it’s honestly better to keep it simple.
Water, tea, coke (or Dr. Pepper if your Texan), wine/beer and sangria are my go tos. My favorite sangria recipes for holidays are classic or an apple cider sangria. You can grab my family’s favorite one I whip up HERE it is a cranberry apple cider sangria.
Just remember that kids like something too - growing up our mom and grandma always made sure there was a punch instead of tea and it was always a hit. If you aren’t sure how to make a simple punch the ingredients are really easy: sorbet, gingerale or sprite and juice or lemonade in a flavor that pairs well with your sorbet.
Fall punch: apple cider, syrup (either pumpkin pie or caramel), and a dash of pumpkin pie seasoning. I like to top it with either some sprite zero or club soda to make it a bit less sweet. You can also serve with a cinnamon stick, or rum.
If you really want to keep things simple grab our traditional holiday menu and grocery list and skip the stress of planning!
Need a place to host? CONTACT OUR TEAM HERE
One thing about the wedding industry is that trends and popular styles change quickly and frequently. From our experience, it's always a constant collaboration of what has been happening in home décor, personality, and custom touches. It is those last two that make it special - but the big question is where do you even start with finding inspiration?
Wedding Planning and Hashtags
Instagram: Wedding Inspiration and Trends
Let's be honest, there are always two sides to everything, right? With wedding planning, it's easy to feel overwhelmed and lost. So before you get lost scrolling for hours seeing the same thing, or nothing close to what you want to see here are a few tips for you.
Pros: Instagram trends tend to be more up-to-date, relevant, and unique. You're able to search by keywords, and specific areas or follow your favorite professionals to inspiration. You can also follow hashtags so that they will start to show up on your feed and over time change your discovery feed to more "on style". Another big plus is something we mentioned in the last episode - following local event design and rental companies so you not only get inspired but you have a local place who carries it already.
Cons: Instagram is not a chronological platform (right now - they keep trying), 8-9 hour life, things tend to get buried and you feel as if you’re scrolling for ever if you don’t catch it as soon as it’s posted. That makes the whole stumbling upon awesome inspiration a little more difficult and means you need to take the step listed in the pros to find all the great ideas.
Pros: TikTok is bringing unfiltered, authentic personalities and inspirations to your phone feed and we love it! Couples can both show and tell you exactly what they did, where they found it and what not to do all in under 7 seconds. Professionals are giving you inspiration from set-ups and decor while also providing a sneak peek to behind the scenes. Clearly, from our podcast name we are big fans of that already! Just like instagram it’s easy to save ideas to different areas to keep organized.
Cons: While they still make updates and changes the platform can be really tricky to navigate and find content. Hashtags are less likely to help you find inspiration and sounds are so random with videos that you can’t always count on it being a helpful tool either. Most small businesses are just getting on the platform so it is more difficult to find and follow that type of profile.
Pinterest: Boards and More
Pros: Almost everyone has a Pinterest board - especially when it comes to wedding details. That means you have countless options to search through with lots of twists and unique spins. All it takes is simply popping in those right words and your screen is full of beautiful images! One thing we talked about in the episode is a under utilized way to use this to your advantage. Typically when you find an image you like you pin it to your wedding board and scroll down to see similar options. We have two quick tips for you though next time you find something you love.
Hidden Costs from Venues: Everyone's Worry
Trust us - we completely understand but here's the thing... Our team, our owners and our hearts are to keep all our cards on the table. What it really comes down to most of the time is not that the venues you are looking at are "hiding" costs but that you just don't know what to ask to get all the information. How would you know though? This planning world is a whole new ball game, so we're here and prepped both this blog post and our podcast episode (you can listen in over here) to help you navigate this new world of planning and skip those pesky little surprises from the start.
Because of all of this, we have had countless tours with couples saying that they are canceling their contract with another venue because of the additional fees, misunderstandings, and tricky wording… That's not fair to anyone ESPECIALLY a couple starting their life together. So we are swooping in like super(wo)man to save the day.
Now, again it's our experience that venues are not trying to be malicious or sneaky. Some of these additional fees or charges are actually really common or, in some cases, required by law. So there is no need to get upset about these additional charges, it is just very helpful to know all of these additional prices before signing a contract and getting surprised by it later on. The best thing to do is always refer to your contract, because odds are - all the info you need is in there!
Some of the most common upcharges or hidden fees with wedding venues are:
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