Last night we had our Holiday Open House at our 2001 Fillmore Studio, and it was so much fun! My office mates, Andrew Weeks of Weeks Photography and Nessa Sander of Cardgirl, as well as Kathy Goodman from Well Rehearsed all put on a wonderful soiree to celebrate the end of the wedding season with other vendors and past clients. It was a packed house, but the little details stood out to the guests and I wanted to share a few things that we did to help you if you are planning any events over this holiday season. A special thakns as well to Natalie Bowen Designs for providing the festive floral decor.
1) We had appetizers delivered from Delfina Pizza, which just opened a new little sister restaurant from their Mission location about a block away from our office on California and Fillmore. Don't stress over making everything yourself. Call your favorite restaurant, gourmet grocery store, etc., and have them whip up something easy and that can be served at room temperature. It takes a lot of work off the host!
2) In the winter, have a coat rack/check. I have a rolling one (very cheap from Target) that I keep in my storage unit, and bought nice wooden hangers from IKEA, and there is my coat check. Your guests really appreciate not having to walk around with their coat, or putting it on the floor.
3) Have a bar set-up and ready to go when your guests arrive. I had great glassware rented from Classic Party Rentals, tubs of ice with champagne and white wine, a second tub of ice for our house cocktail, couple bottles of red wine and sparkling water and you're done. We had a bartender, my wonderful boyfriend, but this could also be a self serve bar. Don't have tons of different glassware either. I had champagne flutes and large red wine glasses that we used for the wine, water and cocktail.
4) Have a house cocktail! This is the best cost and space saving tip when setting up a bar. Serve one drink and you will cut your costs by a lot; think of all the mixers, liquor and garnishes you excluded! We served a really cool drink that I was able to whip up that morning (we don't have a kitchen at the office), put into a large plastic jug, and as we had guests arriving, we put it over ice in the pitcher, and it was ready to be served. There was never a line at the bar, as this drink is a simple fill glass with ice, pour and serve. I have added the recipe for this cocktail below, and it's a must try (don't let the last ingredient scare you).
5) Put a personal touch on your event. Some of my staff and I all like to bake, so we each made one of our favorite cookies. We put all the cookies in large glass jars with tongs, and had little to-go containers with a thank you sticker on them for guests to fill up and take with them. The bonus touch to this is to have a little book of the recipes from each of the cookies as a take home item as well. Our guests were thrilled to be able to make these recipes at home!
Enjoy this holiday season, and if you are throwing a party and have any questions, please feel free to send them my way, I'm happy to help out! Here is the recipe for the cocktail we served last night, and since it was such a hit, I thought I would share it with everyone.
Cranberry Chill-ade - Makes about 6 servings (you can double, triple or quadruple the recipe as needed)
1 cup cranberry juice
1 cup lemon juice (about 6 lemons)
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups water
1 cup ice
1 cup vodka
1 red jalapeno pepper (we did half red and half green, for the holiday colors)
1) In a large bowl combine the lemon juice, sugar and cranberry juice
2) Stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar is dissolved
3) Add the water
4) In a pitcher, fill the bottom with the ice
5) Pour the vodka in first, then mixture over it
6) Add the peppers, stir and serve