Utah Style and Design

Holiday Party Ideas Sure to Impress Your Guests

December 17, 2018

Written by: Val Rasmussen

Photography by: Rebekah Westover

Invitations are sent and RSVPs are flying in. Now what? Whether it’s an intimate gathering or a full-blown affair, ’tis the season for at-home soirées. Want to know how to impress your guests with flawless and on-trend party style?

No one knows how to plan an unforgettable party like the pros at Michelle Leo Events, who steer clear of overused palettes and overdone menus. “When decorating a tabletop for the holidays, I prefer to infuse lots of little details to complete the setting,” says MLE owner Michelle Leo. Here’s how her team pulls it off:

Step 1: Start with the bottom layer.

“I think of design in terms of layers to stay on track and create a cohesive look. For example, I start with the base—my table linen—and layer in details from there. For this look, I chose a textured (velvet) linen runner in a rich, dark color to offset the lighter floral and decor.”

Step 2: Layer in small details.

“Next, I layer in details in coordinating, lighter colors to contrast with my base. From the metallic copper charger and rose-gold flatware to the menu and sprig of cinnamon, each piece builds upon the other to create a cohesive, festive design.”

Step 3: Light it up.

“My secret weapon is candles; the more the better! Oftentimes, lighting is a forgotten design element, but it’s so impactful, especially for a cozy, winter table setting. Fill in empty space around your centerpiece with candles, or forgo the fresh floral and create a focal point with candles of different heights to draw the eye in and create a feeling of warmth.”

Step 4: Bon Appetit!

Turn on the tunes and enjoy the feast. 

Lux Catering serves up a Snake River Farms braised waygu Zabuton beef –topped with pistachio and pine nut crust – pairs with seasonal winter harvest veggies and a butternut squash puree.

A blood orange and roasted beet salad topped with yogurt, tarragon and hazelnuts starts the dining experience.

Rose and pomegranate pot de creme finishes off the meal.

Step 5: When in doubt, hire it out.

If this all seems overwhelming to take on yourself, I get it. In that case, hire the party planning out or pick a few to-dos that you can nail on your own. Fill in with a platter (or two or three, ha!) from a caterer or restaurant, a centerpiece from a florist or some rental items to accentuate your grandmother’s china collection. Here’s who we like to call in a pinch:

Planning and design: Michelle Leo Events, SLC

Photos: Rebekah Westover, Provo

Venue: Ember, SLC

Food: Lux Catering, SLC

Floral: Urban Chateau Floral, SLC

China, glassware, flatware, tables and chairs: Diamond Rental, Murray

Copper chargers, menu backers and table numbers: Michelle Leo Events, SLC

Lounge seating rentals: Eclectic Hive, SLC

Linens: BBJ Linen

Paper: Lynn & Lou Paper Co. 

Want to know how to upgrade a holiday centerpiece?

In search of cutting boards for your charcuterie platters?

Hosting a January party? Try these minimalist table designs.

Val Rasmussen
Val Rasmussen is Assistant Editor at Utah Style & Design and Editor at Utah Bride & Groom magazine. She can be reached at val@utahbrideandgroom.com or you can follow her on Instagram @valeriefras.

1 Comment

  1. Reply

    Michelle Leo Events

    December 17, 2018

    We loved creating this festive design and hope that your readers find it inspiring. Thank you for your support and for sharing our work! Happy holidays!

    Michelle Leo Events



Sign Up For Our Newsletter
Get the latest local design trends delivered straight to your inbox.
We respect your privacy.