Expert party planning tips for hosting a rustic-chic winter soiree.By Maria Allen | Above photo: Annmarie Swift Photography
Using materials that range from burlap bows and fresh-cut pine boughs to vintage china and creative cocktails, local event planner Cristen Faherty has a gift for creating unforgettable holiday events. The owner and creative director of Cristen & Co., she specializes in full-service event design and coordination, planning everything from elegant weddings to corporate dinner parties.
“We deliver thoughtful and detailed planning to ensure every celebration is executed seamlessly from start to finish,” says Faherty. “We aim to deliver a distinctive design that is customized to each client and an aesthetic tailored to their personalities and style.” Her team prides themselves on their personal approach, building friendships with clients and making an effort to incorporate meaningful details into each event.
Faherty has always loved the art of entertaining. Born on the South Shore, she started taking baking and pastry arts courses when she was in middle school and was creating cakes for events by the time she was in high school. “I quickly realized that I loved every aspect that goes into a party, event or wedding—the design, the food and beverages and the details,” says Faherty. “I knew this was the perfect career for me.”
Faherty obtained a degree in event management from Johnson & Wales University and worked in the wedding and event industry for five years before starting her own business. She opened the Cristen & Co. headquarters in Cohasset Village two years ago. Outfitted with comfortable lounge seating and a fully stocked bar cart, it is the perfect space for entertaining clients and planning out the details for her upcoming projects.
With an eclectic and one-of-a-kind décor collection at her disposal, Faherty is able to bring her clients’ dreams to life, effortlessly transforming rustic pieces and vintage finds into romantic centerpieces. No matter if she’s designing decor for an elegant wedding or a festive and fabulous holiday party, her creative touches make each event memorable.
Here are a few of Cristen Faherty’s tips for hosting a fabulous holiday party.
1. Craft Signature Party Cocktails
Creative drinks are always a hit at holiday parties. Select one or two cocktails that fit the season and prepare a large batch that can be poured into a beverage dispenser. Serving drinks in this way eliminates the time spent mixing individual cocktails and keeps you from being stuck behind the bar. Added bonus – you can make the drinks a day in advance.
2. Hire a Party Planner
No party is too large or small for an event planner to tackle. Let the experts take care of the execution and breakdown so you can enjoy being a guest at your own event. You deserve to de-stress and put on your party shoes.
3. Create a Fun Dessert Display
Vintage and otherwise unique decorative pieces make show-stopping dessert displays. Arrange sweet treats atop bark slabs, cake stands or vintage scales, or inside apothecary jars and attractive bowls. Don’t forget to think outside the box when it comes to choosing the holiday confections you serve. Individual dessert displays can contain everything from donuts and cream puff towers to French macarons, chocolate dipped figs, tarts and miniature cakes.
4. Make the Menu Entertaining
Offer guests an exciting culinary experience that allows them to try something new. Game meats are becoming increasingly popular at winter dinner parties, with main dishes consisting of venison, bison and duck.
5. Make Your Mantel into a Photo Backdrop
If you’re already planning to decorate your mantel for the holidays, why not transform it into a fun and festive photo booth backdrop? Have some props and selfie sticks on hand for your guests’ enjoyment or hire a photographer to capture the memories.
6. Dial Up the Color and Texture of Your Tablescape
Create a feeling of rustic elegance on your holiday table by decorating with jewel tones and dusty neutrals and incorporating greenery, wood and metal accents. Create a centerpiece with poinsettias, but mix them with other greens and succulents. Don’t forget to have plenty of candles on the table and, for a little fun, try adding antlers and fur to your design.