New Year’s Eve Party Guide with Tips from OKC Event Planners

Hosting Recommendations from OKC Event Planners

Planning the perfect event always sounds like a wonderful idea but often turns out to be harder than expected. There always seems to be something forgotten or not considered. New Year’s Eve adds even more pressure to hosting a wonderful party because expectations for the month are already high.

Blair Sims, planner from Blair Sims Events said, “Problems will occur. Stay calm, think through the problem, solve it and your guests will never know!”

Below are some tips from local party planners who have seen it all and know the good, the bad and the ugly. If budget allows, consider hiring a planner to help you host your New Year’s Eve party – you’ll be glad when you can mingle, enjoy your guests’ company and leave the details to a professional.

Organization and Planning

A recurring message from professional planners is to stay organized and to plan in advance. Racing around the event space in the eleventh hour won’t make for a fun, relaxed host. You should be ready to entertain and enjoy your own party!

“Make sure you have planned well enough to keep yourself out of the kitchen or somewhere other than where your guests are, so you can be part of the party,” Gail Rocquemore, planner from A.D. Parties & Events, said.

Judy Lehmbeck, planner from Judy Lehmbeck Bridal and Party, recommends making lists of everything that you will need far in advance. “Make lists for drinks, food and decorations, and don’t forget the ice or garnishes,” Lehmbeck said. “Set everything out early so you will not be searching for containers the day of the party.”

Creating the Right Party Atmosphere

Ambiance is crucial and first impressions count. “Have great music playing (not too loudly) when guests arrive to set the mood. Have some ice breakers planned to help get guests interacting right off the bat, and don’t forget great lighting,” said Rocquemore.

Sims says to make every guest immediately feel welcome. Consider your guest list and be sure to introduce people who don’t know everyone earlier in the evening.

Having relaxed guests is key, but so is the atmosphere! Don’t just think about good food and drinks; consider every aspect to touch all the senses. “They should see beautiful decor, taste great food, smell wonderful aromas, hear great music, touch lovely elements throughout the party with different textures,” Rocquemore said.

When it comes to the party aesthetic, do something simple, yet elegant and festive. Sims recommends a sequin tablecloth because it’s easy and festive. Plus, you won’t have to worry about confetti clean up.

Roquemore enjoys finding creative ways to make your decorations perform double duties. For example, she suggests using fruit or candy as part of your centerpiece that can be eaten as well, or having a beautiful food station that can serve as décor.

New Year’s Eve Food and Drinks

Make it clear to your guests prior to your event what kind of food they can expect. You don’t want your guests coming on empty stomachs if you are only preparing small finger foods.

“I would serve heavy foods like Mac and cheese, sliders, what we might call “soaker food,” said Lehmbeck. “As far as drink is concerned, I would let each guest select what they would like to drink.”

When it comes to drinks, every New Year’s Eve Party should have champagne available for a toast at midnight. However, be aware of how much people are drinking and offer water, coffee, and other non-alcoholic beverages to your guests.

“Serving a sugary drink might not be a good idea,” Lehmbeck said. “Sometimes if alcohol is added to these drinks, they go down too easily.”

Recipes Perfect for Your New Year’s Party

 

Grown-Up Mac and Cheese Cups

What You’ll Need

  • 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup bread or panko crumbs,
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco
  • 1 cup swiss cheese
  • 1 cup pepper jack cheese
  • 1 egg beaten
  • Pepper (for topping)
  • Chopped parsley (for topping)

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Prep a muffin tin with cooking spray.
  2. Cook elbow macaroni according to package directions. Drain the pasta. Then set aside.
  3. Dust your muffin tin with about ¼ cup of the panko or breadcrumbs.
  4. In a medium or large saucepan, melt butter. Once melted, stir in flour, garlic powder and salt until the mixture is smooth. Slowly whisk milk and Tabasco sauce until well combined.
  5. Bring the mixture to medium boil while whisking constantly. Continue for one to two minutes. The mixture should begin to thicken.
  6. Stir in swiss and gruyere cheese. Whisk until the cheese completely melts into the mixture.
  7. Remove the saucepan from heat. Mix in pasta, breadcrumbs and beaten egg until well combined.
  8. Spoon mixture into muffin tins. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  9. Allow to cool slightly before serving. Top with chopped parsley and freshly ground pepper if desired.

Easy Sweet BBQ Meatballs

What You’ll Need

  • 1 package frozen meatballs
  • 1 18-ounce bottle BBQ sauce of your choice
  • 1 jar grape jelly

Instructions

  1. In a slow cooker, combine BBQ sauce (we used Head and Country) and grape jelly.
  2. Add frozen meatballs to mixture.
  3. Cook on high for two hours or until the meatballs are completely heated through.
  4. Allow guests to serve themselves from the warmed slow cooker or place meatball in a hot dish with toothpicks for serving.

Cheers to The New Year Poinsettia Mocktail

What You’ll Need

  • 1 bottle sparkling cider or champagne
  • 1 bottle cranberry juice cocktail
  • Sugar (optional)
  • Mint leaves (optional)

Instructions

  • In sugar-rimmed champagne flutes, pour chilled sparkling cider (or champagne for the adults) to fill half of the glass.
  • Pour cranberry cocktail juice to fill the remainder. Be careful not to overfill.
  • Place one mint leaf on each glass for a festive feel.
  • Serve to guests as the ball drops down!

Keeping Safety in Mind

While you want everyone to enjoy the party, the most important part is to make sure everyone has a safe ride home if they have been drinking. “Do not let anyone leave your party and drive if they’ve had too much to drink,” Lehmbeck said. “Call Uber or a cab, have someone take them home or even offer for them to spend the night at your home.”

Are you hosting this year or attending a party? Stop by your nearest Homeland to get all the treats, party trays, and ingredients you need to host your New Year’s Eve party.

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