Throughout the years, party planner extraordinaire Stefanie Cove has masterminded memorable events and stunning weddings for celebrities including Gwyneth Paltrow, Molly Sims, Karlie Kloss and Drew Barrymore. But, this year, the Palm Beach-native, who splits her time between New York City and Los Angeles, has had to evolve her business to accommodate COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns in the U.S. But, pivot she did with the launch of Cove Curations, an offshoot of her successful event planning company, to create safe and intimate events for clients wanting to celebrate milestones. So, this holiday season, she wants to add a little festivity to your New Year’s Eve at home with these helpful tips on how to throw a small affair with a few loved ones.
1. Ask family members to be tested and quarantine prior to the celebration or have a nurse onsite at your home to take rapid tests before anyone comes inside. I suggest PCR tests if you have the time to do this ahead of celebrating New Year’s Eve at home. In Los Angeles and New York, there are concierge doctors that can come to you. It is really important to be careful over the next few months as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.
2. Splurge a little. Entertaining fewer people allows us to spend more on each person. Try something different and special for dinner. My go-to options are always caviar and stone crabs with some Billecart-Salmon champagne. I would serve the caviar as an appetizer with champagne followed by a butter lettuce salad and then stone crabs as your main dish (you can order from Joe’s Stone Crab online!). Fingerling potatoes and sautéed spinach would make the perfect side dishes. And, there’s no better way to end a meal than with a mini ice cream sundae station with toppings or make an Eton’s mess with fresh berries and cream.
3. If you are serving from a buffet, provide separate serving utensils for each household. It may make everyone feel more comfortable. You can use little tags that tie onto the utensils with velvet ribbon and their last initial.
4. Come up with a theme. I love the idea of black and gold with flashes of a bright color, perhaps hot pink or red. Balloons should be everywhere with gold ribbons hanging down from the ceiling. Ribbons could also be incorporated into the tablescape woven throughout florals. A monotone palette of winter white florals with a few hand-painted metallic leaves would look so pretty. Holiday crackers are a nice addition to each place setting along with calligraphy place cards for each guest. The ultimate addition to each place setting would be viewfinders programmed with photos of the group from the past year.
5. Have cute festive face masks available on the table for anyone who may want to wear one but feels self-conscious about doing so. Make it fun and part of the theme.
6. Make a playlist of songs from 2020. They may trigger some strange memories and interesting stories!
7. If you and your guests feel uncomfortable inside, cozy-up your outdoor space by investing in a portable fire pit and some pretty throw blankets. Jenni Kayne and Naked Cashmere make great ones. Hot cider or your favorite liquor added to an espresso or latte is always nice around holiday time. And, there’s no more perfect food to serve by the fireplace than a cheese raclette.
8. Whether you’re inside or out, playing games is always a fun way to get the party started at home. One of my favorites is Heads Up but you can’t go wrong with a classic game of Charades.
9. Dress up! We haven’t been fancy in so long and now is the time to dress for the year you want! Putting on heels, a dress, jewelry and makeup always helps me feel festive. This year, I’ll be cozying up with champagne by the fire with my quarantine crew and dogs wearing my favorite Mara Hoffman dress.
10. Definitely have a dance party.