If your idea of a great New Year’s Eve is more relaxation than rager (but you still want to pop a few corks), then this little guide is for you. I love a festive celebration. It’s part of the reason why I love the holiday season so much. I’m one of those people who likes to have plans for NYE. But those plans don’t have to be something crazy like a party with 1,000 of my “closest friends.” I’m happy when we plan to have champagne and a nice dinner, listen to a great playlist, and light up a few sparklers here at the house. I just like having things to look forward to, even when they’re really low-key.
Last year we hosted a dinner party with some family and close friends. I loved sitting around the table sharing stories and what we were looking forward to in the coming year. We leave our Christmas decor up through the new year so it was nice having so many twinkling lights and a cozy feel to the house. I just added a few simple NYE decorations and made sure the champagne was flowing.
This post was definitely inspired by that last NYE. There are so many ways to have a low-key celebration that still checks all the festive boxes. Here is my guide on how to pull it off.
How to Create a Stylishly Low-key New Year’s Eve
A Champagne Welcome
Have you ever been to a restaurant or shop that greets you as soon as you walk in with a little welcome glass of bubbly? It makes you feel so special, right? The easiest and simplest way to add elegance to ANY gathering is to welcome guests with champagne. We do this all the time when friends come by. I create a little drink station with champagne on ice, flutes, cocktail napkins, and berries for garnish. Have I mentioned my obsession with funky cocktail napkins before? I adore them! Sur La Table always has fun ones (like these, these, and these) but I also find a great selection at Home Goods. Anyway, I pop the cork as guests are walking up the front entry and start pouring. Take their coat in exchange for a glass of sparkles and voilà – instant party!
Easy Dinner Party
Keep the number of invites to 8-10 so that everyone can comfortably sit around one table. Or go casual and serve dinner tapas-style with small plates that can be enjoyed as your guests mingle about. Choose easy dishes that can be prepared ahead of time so you can enjoy the party too. I’m a fan of food-on-a-stick and these caprese salad skewers from Stuck On Sweet are simple, delicious, and look beautiful.
Dinner parties are for breaking out your best serving pieces. I always use crystal for the wine glasses and simple white plates. With a small to medium sized party it’s not that much to clean and almost everything can go right into the dishwasher. I like to use cloth napkins because they’re elegant (and machine washable) but paper napkins are completely fine. Remember, keep it low-key and comfortable.
Dress up each place setting with a confetti cracker like these or these. They’re so fun! Everyone loves popping them open. Inside are jokes, paper hats, confetti and trivia. They make great conversation starters or party favors, too.
Deck Your Halls
As I mentioned before, we leave our Christmas decor up beyond the 25th. I actually leave our tree up until the tree at Rockefeller Center comes down. I figure NYC knows what they’re doing. I do remove some of the smaller Christmas decorations though in order to make room for a few NYE-themed items. Last year I found a lot of great inexpensive decorations in the Target Dollar Spot. I avoided anything that had 2017 on it just so I could reuse it this year.
Change your tablescape to reflect a New Year’s vibe. There are so many great ideas on Pinterest. I go with a simple color scheme of black, gold, silver, and white. Target’s decorations went perfectly with my colors, too. I ran a string of battery operated twinkle lights down the center of the table and dimmed the dining room lights for a more cozy feel.
Back to the Champagne – because…duh, New Year’s!
When perusing the “sparkling” aisle of your favorite wine shop (mine is Total Wine, by the way), it’s easy to see that there are champagnes and sparkling wines for every budget. For the most part I tend to go the less expensive route and stick with bottles around $10-$12. I’ve actually been buying a lot of Tott’s lately, which is always a good bargain and it tastes good, too. But I also like to have one “good” bottle that can be a little more expensive. It’s fun to break out the good stuff for a special toast and leave the rest for popping throughout the night and at midnight. We also like to include a Prosecco or two in the mix. Any champagne that doesn’t get finished (I know, who are those people?) can be resealed and enjoyed the next day as a mimosa. Ring it in the night before and brunch it up the next day!
Remember that not everyone enjoys champagne so make sure to include some other beverages on your bar cart.
Perfecting Your Playlist
Whether you’re old school and have a great vinyl collection or you go digital, having a good selection of music is essential to creating the mood you want to set. For a low-key evening it’s easier to set up your playlist and have it run throughout the night, leaving you with nothing to worry about except how many glasses of champagne you’ve had, but who’s counting? Here are some sample playlists from Apple Music:
New Year’s Eve: Dinner Party – 50 classic jazz singers, 2hrs 51min
New Year’s Eve Party – a mix of 61 pop and hip-hop songs from the nineties to present, 3hrs 59min
Party Starters – 99 pop, funk, and hip-hop songs you could play for the duration of your party, 6 hrs 49min
Holiday: R&B Dinner Party – 43 R&B songs from the sixties to present, 2hrs 54 min
Take the Work Out of Fireworks
I love fireworks but only when done by professionals. The low-key version of this is the sparkler. Kids of all ages love lighting these up and watching them burn. They make for fun photos and are really inexpensive. I pick up a few from a local fireworks stand and display them in a vase. Guests can take them outside at any time to enjoy. Just make sure to save a few for midnight.
What to Wear on New Year’s Eve
Now that pretty much everything is taken care of, the last thing to decide on is the perfect outfit. I shared with you 3 Easy Holiday Party Looks (From Pieces You Already Own) and many of those tips also apply here. Keep it simple by mixing in items from your closet. I’m a jeans girl so I went with a sequin tank for just a little shimmer, distressed jeans, and heels. I always wear heels when I dress up. These boyfriend jeans are one of my favorite pairs because they go with everything. Wearing light wash denim is completely acceptable in winter, too! Jeans also make it easy to plop down on a floor pillow without spilling your drink. This is about as low-key as it gets and I love it.
Shop this post:
Sequin tank (similar here) | Boyfriend jeans | Filigree Tassle Necklace | Heels | Watch | Bracelet | Henri Bendel zip-off clutch from convertible tote
New Year’s Eve is also a great excuse to bring out anything sparkly. Go monochromatic in all black but play up texture with sequins, velvet, or faux fur. Keep it low-key by incorporating just one statement piece – jewelry, bag, shoes, scarf, etc.
I would love to know your plans for New Year’s Eve! Are you going anywhere or staying in? What are your favorite activities to ring in the new year? Any excellent champagnes I should know about? Comment here or over on Instagram!
xo – Erin
For your pinning pleasure:
How to Create a Stylishly Low-key New Year’s Eve appeared first on Cathedrals and Cafés blog.