Whether you’re getting ready to throw your annual holiday party, or nervously preparing to organize your first event, Karen Haines has the perfect party-planning advice for every host. The founder of celebrated ready-to-drink premium vodka cocktail brand Spa Girl Cocktails, Haines has been called a “master entertainer,” “iconic trendsetter,” and has quickly become “renowned for hosting magnificent parties”.
She’s built a powerful brand with Spa Girl Cocktails and proudly serves the premium vodka cocktails at her own events. Spa Girl has become a signal of female-led innovation and, like most women, the cocktails are stronger than you think. At 16.5 percent ABV, Spa Girl Cocktails is offering six crisp, natural flavors in a zero bloat, zero guilt premium canned vodka cocktail.
So if you’re still struggling to plan the perfect holiday get-together, Karen’s advice will take away all your guesswork.
1. Deck the Halls
“The best decorations don’t need to be expensive but rather, imaginative and interesting,” says Karen. Over the years, she has built a unique collection of holiday decor to wield at a moment’s notice, but assures new hosts that they can find excellent treasures like linens, stemware, and delicate dishware in local thrift and vintage shops.
Karen follows three simple rituals: something fresh, something sparkly, and a playlist that sets the mood. This can be filling large bowls with fresh fruit like pomegranates, pears, or apples, setting out beautiful candles, and stringing lights and garlands around the space.
To complete a room, she suggests hanging silver ornaments from chandeliers to create beautiful candle-lit reflections, wrapping presents in themed paper, and using the 50-milliliter Spa Girl bottles as ornaments!
2. Settting –– And Filling –- the Perfect Table
Planning the right party menu will depend on whether you’re hosting a sit-down meal or assembling multiple snack stations throughout your space.
“The holiday season is the time to be bold and dramatic with ease –– the beauty of an intimate dinner party cannot be matched,” says Karen. For a more formal dinner party she uses handwritten name cards with a small gift for each guest (like holiday cookies, soaps, or candles) and suggests dotting the table with sparkles and glitter. She suggests lighting candles across the table 15 minutes before guests arrive,
For parties of 10 or more people she recommends breaking out a few extra tables and setting up a buffet so guests can serve themselves family style. Karen suggests setting each one with flowers, linen napkins, and silverware.
3. Stocking the Perfect Bar Cart
The bar cart is just as important as the cocktails served. Karen sets up a festive bar cart for every celebration by loading the cart up with all kinds of beverages –– like Spa Girl Cocktails, Champagne, and premium mixers –– then adds vintage barware and glasses for guests to use. She suggests wrapping the bar in greenery, ribbons, and flowers and setting out citrus, berry, and floral garnishes so guests can customize their creations.
Alleviate the pressure of bartending at your own party and dot the bar with every Spa Girl Cocktails flavor for a simple pop and pour for your guests. “Elevate your ice bucket by simply freezing edible flowers and berries in water,” Karen says, “Adding these to your cocktails makes every sip more special.”
4. Holiday Cocktails Made Easy
Karen created Spa Girl to simplify entertaining because after spending so much time mixing drinks at her own events, she found she could never fully enjoy herself while tending the bar. She encourages today’s hosts to look to Spa Girl to take the work out of holiday cocktail prep.
Karen has plenty of cocktail garnishing tips like using the Spa Girl Cocktails with frozen cranberries to add a festive flair, using thinly sliced fruit to artfully grace the rim, or making it sparkle with edible glitter! She says the most important thing a host can do is simply “have fun so others can follow suit. Being relaxed and enjoying your own party could quite possibly be the most important element of any event.”
5. After the Guests Go Home
Her final piece of advice for new party planners is to document each party as cherished memories. Keep a polaroid on hand to capture memorable moments with your guests and use the photos in a designated journal of parties past. Describe your menus, decorations, and favorite memories so they’re accessible when it’s time to start planning your next event. Karen is on her fifth of these journals, calling them an “invaluable hosting resource” to become a master entertainer.
No matter how intricately you decorate your table, or how carefully you wrap your gifts, Karen insists the true sign of a fabulous party is when your guests meet one another and make new friends over delicious drinks.
This article is sponsored by Spa Girl Cocktails