Fashion party planner Fiona Leahy has created beautiful, bespoke events for Dita Von Tesse, Stella McCartney, Harvey Nichols, Lulu & Co and Erdem to name just a few. Here she shares her tips for how to throw a super stylish party at home.
Create the Look
Christmas entertaining is all about creating a feeling of abundance. I concentrate on volume for a stylish visual impact. This can be as simple as clustering together votive prayer candles, tapers, tea lights or hurricane lamps – everyone looks better in the glow of candlelight.
I also love groupings and clusters of elements such as a runner of mini Christmas trees, snow globes and beautiful bright baubles. Snow globes as placement for a dinner are fun and make an inexpensive going home gift.
It's nice to have that warm welcoming Christmassy scent in the home too. It doesn't necessarily need to be expensive candles (they are great too). For an inexpensive seasonal aroma simmer a saucepan of water and cloves on the stove.
At Christmas parties I like richer warmer flavours such as blood orange infused bourbon and cognac infused with cinnamon and clove. I serve them in glass bottles or apothecary jars, grouping the jars together so they look amazing.
I find a cherry gets people in the mood. Hix Fix is the easiest cocktail to make; open a jar of Julian Temperley’s Morello Cherries in Somerset Eau de Vie. These taste incredible in Prosecco and transform a normal glass of bubbly into something very special. Serve in a vintage saucer Champagne glass.
For nibbles serve miniature sized traditional snacks. I love to elevate the mundane by adding luxury. Pimp up a cone of chips with truffle oil and top mini baked potatoes with Keta Caviar. A sliver of Welsh rarebit is both delicious and a wonderful alcohol absorber. I especially love old fashioned favourites like mini scotch eggs and devils on horseback.
My favourite new party trick is to have a giant pinata and blindfolds that guests can play with once the merriment begins. Pinatas are easy to make and you can fill with fun treats. We made giant metallic ones for the Lulu & Co party at Harvey Nichols (pictured). Or order traditional Mexican ones online.
I adore old fashioned Christmas soundtracks such as Christmas with the Rat Pack, Bing Crosbie and Frank Sinatra. When throwing a festive party make sure you have compiled a lengthy playlist. No time to play DJ? Get the experts to do it for you – Playlister will make up the perfect playlist for your party.
Image credit: Rex Features