Ask A Philadelphia Expert: Throwing The Top Holiday Party At Home

December 9, 2013 7:00 AM

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Sarah Morrison has more than seven years of experience in wedding and event planning. She started All About Events and was later joined by her friend and business collaborator, Courtney Riches, in 2011. Together they create unique and beautiful events, whether it’s a wedding, mitzvah, corporate event or private holiday party. Here, Sarah gives some advice for hosting the perfect holiday party at home.

Sarah Morrison
All About Events
(267) 627-2525

Sarah Morrison went to Kutztown University, where she graduated with a degree in Communication Studies. She took classes in wedding and event planning at Temple University after graduating and started her own event planning business soon after. She prides herself in creating flawless events and a stress-free environment for each host. By treating every event like it’s her own, she strives to build a personal relationship with her clients. She works with them to figure out what they want for their perfect day and is in tune with them over every last detail. She’ll make sure that you are able to enjoy every moment of your event.

Use What You Have

Sarah recommends using what you already have in your home as part of the event. For an example, she recommends you “clear off a bookshelf or entertainment center and use it to creatively display the cocktail hors d’oeuvres or as a ‘help yourself bar.’ This eliminates the need to set up an extra folding table, and the creative food display will have your guests talking.” Have a piano? Hiring someone to play for a few hours is a unique way to provide music instead of throwing on an iPod.

Create A Signature Drink

Create a signature drink for your guests to enjoy. “There are so many signature cocktails online these days, and they are such a fun addition to the party,” Sarah said. “My favorite is cranberry champagne punch. A fun way to jazz up your drink presentation is to freeze water, red berries and mint leaves in a bundt pan. When it is frozen and removed from the bundt pan, the ice looks like a berry and mint wreath floating in the punch bowl. It’s very festive and keeps your drink cold all night long!”

Stay Out Of The Kitchen

Being stuck in the kitchen all night long isn’t a fun way to enjoy your party and, according to Sarah, it’s one of the biggest mistakes a host can make. “Depending on how large your party is, I always suggest having a few professional staff there to help serve the guests and to clean up after them,” she says. “Having a professional staff there to serve the food you’ve prepared, or even better, a caterer to take care of the food items, is worth every penny because you are now free to enjoy your company and the party you’ve planned. Having a bartender is helpful to make sure the proper amounts of alcohol are poured. You would be surprised to see how much quicker your alcohol will go if you let the guests pour their own drinks!”

Related: Top Cocktail Bars In Philadelphia

Set An End Time

When sending out invitations, Sarah suggests including not just a start time, but also an end time. She said, “This will ensure guests do leave at some point. Without an end time established, guests may stay late into the evening even if you begin cleaning up around them! If you set an end time and want to continue with the party once the end time approaches, you can let your guests know they are welcome to stay later.”

Hire A Cleaning Company To Come In The Next Day

Not looking forward to cleaning up the next day? Hire someone to come in and do it for you! “The worst part of the party is the clean up,” Sarah said. “Depending on the amount of guests you are expecting, it may be a good idea to schedule a cleaning company to come in after the party, as you will probably be out of energy to clean the house again that week.” A good tip, she said, is “to spray your carpets and couches with Scotch Guard a day before the party and have spot remover on hand that evening. This will make red wine or dirt stains more manageable the next day.”

Related: Top Bars To Rent A Private Room In Philadelphia

Kelly Neilson is a freelance writer living and working in Philadelphia. Her work can be found on

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