BitchBiz: Heirloom DC and Bitches Who Brunch are partners. While this article was written independently, Bitches Who Brunch does receive compensation from the company.
There’s no time of year that’s more fun, or more stressful, than the holidays. We Bitches love a great party—both attending and throwing them. Though in the age of constant deadlines and the busy syndrome, the idea of hosting a dinner party can be overwhelming.
We often turn to our friends over at Heirloom, a boutique catering and events design company, for help. We co-hosted a Fall Brunch Fest in September, and recently turned to Heirloom to help us host a late fall dinner party for friends.
Vicky Theodorou, the founder of the local, women-led company, is an exceptional woman I’m fortunate to call a friend. I sat down with Vicky for her top hostessing how tos, which I’ll be putting to good use during this merrymaking month. Here’s what she had to say.
You ladies are the go-to girls when it comes to throwing a beautiful catered event. What are your five must-haves for a holiday party for those of us entertaining at home?
- Unique serving platters
- Dim lighting using assorted candles
- Seasonal Greens & Florals
- Themed Playlist and bluetooth speaker
- A spot-on, signature craft cocktail
Not everyone can cook—especially me! Do you have any easy recipes or great cocktails you’d recommend?
Go for the easy, yummy, and impressive grab n’ mingle Pumpkin Pie Yogurt Parfaits. You can serve them out of a stemless wine glass or mini mason jar–whatever fits your party’s vibe! Just layer the various parts of the parfait in the glass then top with crumbled pie crust and dust with cinnamon.
For a warm-your-soul and tipsy taste buds cocktail, Spiked Apple Cider made with Bourbon and locally sourced apple cider. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and serve out of an Irish Coffee Mug–it’s so fancy but so easy!
Another popular recent favorite is our Pear Apple Fizzy Cocktail. Easy mix of juices, vodka and soda. Garnish with Apple or Pear.
Heirloom makes absolutely stunning tablescapes. Any tips and tricks for setting a beautiful holiday table this Thanksgiving? Christmas?
Use what you have and get creative. Also, use seasonal fruits & vegetables as part of the tablescape and decor. Little pumpkins from the nearby farmer’s market spray-painted a variety of metallics will work for November. Candlesticks with taper candles layered in between to create height & dimension. You don’t have to spend a ton of money or time making a table look impressive and beautiful. Layering textures and heights is key and making sure you keep the style a cohesive look. Also, less is more – some of the best tablescapes are simple and nothing too over the top. Display things in a odd number (ex. cluster of 3 votives) and display things at an angle for a dramatic effect.
As a caterer, you cook for enormous groups of people! How about tips for the recreational hostesses on how to cook and hostess for large groups?
Comfort foods in unique presentations is the perfect way to host small to large groups. Think, Mac n’ Cheese Fritters as opposed to a big bulky dish of mac n’ cheese. Don’t know how to make fritters, instead, cook the mac n’cheese in a casserole dish like you normally would then individually scoop into mini bowls for serving. You can find mini disposable serving bowls or plates online or at your local party source store.
With a larger group, you might be short of flatware, plates and stemware but don’t be afraid to mix and match patterns. Another tip is to create dishes that don’t require utensils that not only saves you from buying extras, but if keeps you from doing more dishes!
Play around with the floor plan and move furniture around to best suit the flow of the event, especially in smaller, more narrow homes in DC. Remove extra knick knacks and things that take away from the party and add in some pops of decor throughout the room that give it a holiday vibe.
Always make sure to have welcome cocktails poured and ready to go when your guests arrive. And, make sure you put an end time on the invitation, that way you can politely make a toast thanking guests for coming when it’s time to wrap up. Have spare tupperware ready to go so you can divvy up leftovers to friends to take home (especially if they stick around to help clean up). And if budget and time allows, little themed parting gifts are a nice touch to leave a lasting impression.
A potluck and “Friendsgiving” are a popular way to split up responsibilities and costs, but as hostess you should serve other’s dishes in a more presentable serving platter that matches the event style. Casserole dishes and aluminum foil is a big no no.
If it’s a seated dinner, place settings should include a name card or at the least something seasonal on top of their plate like a painted pine cone, sprig of herbs or a little twig of berries.
What’s your advice for hostesses on how to avoid holiday stress?
Planning ahead is definitely key! Preparing food & drinks ahead of time so day of you’re able to seamlessly keep up with the party. For example, mixing a seasonal themed cocktail ahead of time so it’s ready for guests to just refill their glass. A good hostess is able to mingle and be part of the party, as well as making sure all parts of the get-together are going off without a hitch. Nothing is more stressful than scrambling around the kitchen when your guests arrive.
What are your favorite affordable hostess gifts for those of us attending holiday parties?
A good bottle of wine wrapped in a burlap hand towel from Salt and Sundry and a silk bow. That way they can have something to sip on while doing dishes. Or a candle and bath salts for decompressing after the craziness of the holidays.