Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Party like it's 2009

This year, Justin and I threw our first ever New Year's Eve party. After the last couple years of going into Chicago to celebrate the ball drop, we realized that we just wanted to be with friends and there was no need to spend $100+ a person on tickets to a bash and a couple hundred on a hotel room. So, we planned a nice "grown-up" wine tasting soiree at our abode.

A week or two after Thanksgiving, I designed and mailed these invitations. I personally feel that laziness has taken over and people feel that an evite or mass email will suffice. Well, I hate to be Debbie Downer but there are certain times when an email is perfectly suitable (lunch with friends, card night, etc.) and other times when a paper invite is much better (birthday, holiday party, etc.) and for our occasion, I didn't want to downplay the sophistication of the party so I sent out printed invites.

They were inexpensive because I had the paper and envelopes already, and I kept them to front and back on one sheet which made them easy to produce.

We provided the food and munchies for the night and asked each person to bring their favorite bottle of wine for the wine tasting part.

Once everyone arrived, I uncorked the bottles and put them in paper bags, which hid the labels making the consumer blind to what he was drinking. I used curling ribbon to tie the bags tight at the top and randomly numbered them. I wrote all of the wine names on a large piece of poster board so when we were tasting we had a wine list to use as a reference for our guesses.

And a wine tasting wouldn't be complete without a tasting card! I whipped up these tasting cards and made a copy for each person. If you are planning a wine tasting party, feel free to use my design. You can get the file set up to print three per page here.

I had debated where I should hold the tasting (dining room? kitchen? basement?) but settled on our kitchen island. It was the perfect spot to hold it because there was enough space for everyone to gather around it.

On one counter, I set out a variety of glasses, dishes, napkins, straws, and utensils so that our guests could grab something when they needed it. At the last minute, we had Heineken on tap, thanks to our beer-tender, a birthday gift from Justin's mom.

I also snagged some inexpensive party poppers for the big countdown and dumped them into a vase for easy access come midnight. These were such a hit that next year, I think I'll create a party bar with paper horns, poppers, hats, and other noise makers.

In nearly every room, I lit candles and arranged fresh flowers in small vases to create an ambiance.

Since all of our guests were staying over at Hotel Scurte, I put coffee making items out on the counter so they could help themselves in the morning without rummaging through our cupboards. Justin and I don't drink coffee, so this single brew Keurig coffee maker is perfect when we have friends and family over.

So, from me and mine to you and your's, Happy New Year!

Did you host a New Year's Eve party? How'd it go? Was it a hit or a bang?

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