Get the Party Started

Five top tips from an expert event planner

Gathering with loved ones is one of the best parts of the holidays, but hosting a party is no small task — from dishware and drinks to seemingly endless menus, there is so much to do.

Sound overwhelming? Don’t fret, Amy Davenport says.

Photo provided by Amy Davenport

“I love planning and attending a great party because it’s just a joyful time,” she says. “You can pause from the hustle and bustle and be in the moment of whatever the occasion may be!”

Davenport has shared her expertise for creating beautiful tablescapes, a skill she learned at home and honed while working at Henderson, Kentucky’s former Methodist Hospital.

“Growing up, our home was the center for family gatherings, and my mom was always a great hostess,” she says. “… From breakfast with Santa, family birthdays, teacher appreciations, Thanksgiving dinners, and family Christmas, hosting gatherings has given our family some of its greatest memories.”

With years of experience coordinating foundation galas and fundraising events, Davenport is a party planning pro. Here are her top five tips for your holiday festivities.

Get Your Guest List in Line

Always consider your guests. You want a balanced mix of people and their interests. This is the make-or-break line between a good or not-so-good party.

Music is a Must

Music sets the tone, the vibe. Choose from your favorite playlist or even a live band. Bottom line, you never want a quiet room!

Don’t Skimp on Food and Drinks

“Must I say, more!” Davenport says. “What’s a party without delicious food and the perfect spirits?”

Photo by Zach Straw

Set the Scene, with a Decor Assist

“Whether at your home or a venue, indoor or outdoor, the setting is everything!” she adds. Picking the perfect setting can eliminate the need for decorations. However, don’t skip out on some kind of party decor to add that special touch or carry out a fun theme.

Give Party Favors

Go according to the size of your guest list. A small group can lend itself to offering a nice party favor to thank your guests for coming and remember your time together.

Bonus Tip: Invest in Invitations

An invitation — either digital or print — sets the tone upon receipt. You can convey your gathering’s tone — is it fun, formal, or flamboyant? Don’t go it alone; there are so many apps that make this part easy, fast, and cheap.

Jodi Keen
Jodi Keen
Jodi Keen is the managing editor of Evansville Living and Evansville Business magazines.

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