The days before the new year are dwindling. If you’re staying home to ring in 2018, instead of attending one of the many dinners and parties, you are likely in need of a few tips and ideas for throwing the perfect bash. Today, tastemaker Megan Proby, founder of Nashville-based 12th Table, walks us through hosting guests for New Year’s Eve. These party tips work well for most gatherings — so take note for any upcoming parties well beyond New Year’s — and Megan features many local Nashville businesses that you’re sure to want on speed dial after seeing their work on display!
Here’s Megan …
New Year’s Eve is typically chock-full of pressure. There are heightened expectations to have the ultimate night out on the town — splurging on a new dress, buying pricey party tickets and dancing the night away with the city’s finest. But bright lights and boozy strangers aren’t for everyone. If you’re less disco ball and more dinner for two, take a deep breath. This year, we’ve partnered with Nashville’s best entertaining brands to help you bypass the lines and standard shenanigans to close out the old year with an epic at-home celebration.
Step 1: Invite your nearest and dearest.
The most important ingredient for any celebration is the people. The new year is all about clean slates and starting fresh — being intentional and wise about how you want to spend the coming trip ’round the sun. So it makes perfect sense to skip carousing with strangers and start 2018 off in the company of those you care about most. Quality over quantity, folks. It’s a cliché because it’s true.
Step 2: Design the space.
The new year is a milestone, so it calls for creating a really special space. In addition to using some of our contemporary furnishings for the foundational design, we wanted to have a real statement piece. When we need something a little out-of-the-box and memorable, our go-to in town is the Vroom Vroom Balloon Bar at Harlan Ruby. The mother-daughter duo — Sunny Becks and Fiona Flaherty — have curated the ultimate party decor experience with their balloon installations and celebration bundles. Since it’s a fresh palette kind of season, we asked them to deck the space out in a white and silver balloon installation, helping us keep the space clean and simple, but memorable. Balloons aren’t just for kids anymore.
Step 3: Secure the libations.
A mixologist holiday at heart, New Years’ shining centerpiece is the cocktail. It’s the welcome gift, end-of-night cheers and the perfect way to get the party going. But if you’re the one hosting, it can also be the endless errand; you’ll be running to the kitchen all night popping bottle after bottle of champagne. The best way to entertain well but still enjoy yourself is to set up a self-serve bar, stocked with pre-batched cocktails, garnishes and glasses. When we’re setting up a drink spread, we always head to WithCo. Their pre-made mixers are beautiful and delicious, helping a bar feel well-curated without any of the hassle.
SB TIP: In addition to your adult libations, keep your guests hydrated and headache-less by sprucing up a water station. Throw in some cucumber, crushed ice, and charming stirrers, and the H20 will look just as tasty as the Hendricks.
Step 4: Mix in a little luck.
Last but certainly not least, the food. While Thanksgiving and Christmas are all about dinner spreads, New Year’s Eve is for grazing — the perfect party to set up heavy apps in stations around your home, helping guests consume equal parts canapés and cocktails. For our holiday spread, we called in Charles Hunter from The Salted Table. Charles has an affinity for creating thoughtful menus, perfectly appointed for the space and season. For New Year’s, he dreamed up a “Good Luck” canapés spread of all the classics done up with a personal twist:
Black-eyed pea hummus
Harissa oil and spiced naan
Collard green and country ham croquettes with Old Bay aioli
Mini sweet potato buttermilk biscuits with whipped apple butter
Sweet and spicy sage popcorn (recipe below)
Up for experimenting in the kitchen? Charles’ recipe for sweet and spicy sage popcorn is below. Happy cooking, and happy new year!
- 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
- 1 large stock pot with lid
- 3 tablespoons avocado oil
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp white granulated sugar
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/8 tsp ground ancho chipotle powder
- smidge of cayenne
- 3 tbsp avocado oil
- 9-11 medium to large fresh sage leaves
- Heat avocado oil over medium-high heat for 30-40 seconds, until it begins to roll across the bottom of the pot. Add your kernels. After your kernels begin to pop, toss in your salt and chipotle powdered cayenne. Shake the pot vigorously to mix and coat popcorn. Then allow popcorn to finish until the popping begins to fade. Remove from the heat and toss in the sugar and toss to coat popcorn. Don't let popcorn cool down or the sugar won't adhere.
- Prepare 2-3 dry paper towels to drain the leaves once fried. Heat 3 tbsp of avocado in a 4-quart deep saute pan over medium-high heat until oil begins to roll across the bottom of the pan. Toss the sage leaves into the oil and be careful, because it will splatter and pop. Remove the leaves from the oil once they begin to darken — it happens quickly, so do not walk away. Place leaves on the paper towel and allow them to drain. Take half of the leaves and crumble them over the popcorn and toss to coat. Transfer popcorn to a serving bowl and crumble the remaining leaves over the top. Enjoy!
Close out the year with an epic at-home celebration!
Thank you to Megan for sharing these helpful tips and to the folks below for making everything picture perfect!
- Photography: Cassidy Carson Photography
- Balloon install: Harlan Ruby
- Chef: The Salted Table
- Cocktails: WithCo
- Paper: Olive Juice Press
And, if you’d rather get out of the house this New Year’s Eve, check out StyleBlueprint’s list of 30+ New Year’s Eve Happenings.
For more entertaining ideas, click here.