Story: Tiffany Adams | Photography: Rett Peek | Styling: Kevin Walsh |
For the last installment in his yearlong entertainment series, designer Kevin Walsh pairs whimsy with sophistication for a trendsetting toast to 2018. Here are his tips to make it a fun and festive gathering.
Rise to the Top
“Balloons aren’t just for birthday parties,” Kevin says. Here, the designer uses them to bring a hint of playfulness to the atmosphere and add visual interest to the ceiling. “I wanted it to be festive, and I used both clear and white balloons to mix it up.”
Serve Light Bites
To keep guests from getting too full (and fading before midnight!), Kevin suggests serving several small meals throughout the evening. “You might start with a cheese and fruit tray, move to something like the seafood grouping shown here, and then have a very light dinner.” For a round of heavy hors d’oeuvres, Kevin served roasted tomato bisque with fresh Gulf shrimp, smoked salmon on toast points, and blinis with salmon roe and crème fraîche.
Keep Sweets Simple
After several rounds of small bites, most guests will want a sweet treat before ringing in the new year. To save time, Kevin embellished a store-bought cake with fresh berries and a glittering 2018 topper. To keep with the theme of quick-bite foods, he also offered miniature Key lime pies—a favorite for a refreshing palate cleanse.
Set the Bar
Make it easy for guests to help themselves to bubbly or cocktails, and don’t forget to add a bit of fun to the scene. Here, sparkling gold stirrers liven up glasses, while a disco ball—a house staple that Kevin found at a Little Rock thrift store—shimmers on the floor.
Let the Good Times Flow
Set yourself up for a good time with a Gatsby-style champagne fountain. Arrange the glasses in a pyramid, pop the bubbly, and slowly pour into the top glass, allowing it to spill down until the champagne reaches all the glasses along the bottom row. Kevin filled his with a rosé favorite.
Kevin’s Countdown to Party Success
Two Weeks Beforehand
☑ Create your guest list
☑ Send out invitations (or call to invite friends for a less-formal gathering)
☑ Decide on décor and create a list of what you’ll need
One Week Beforehand
☑ Plan your menu
☑ Request any special ingredients or cuts of meat
☑ Order flowers
☑ Shop for any special décor
72-48 Hours Beforehand
☑ Decorate with any non-fresh décor you plan to use
☑ Purchase food, beverages, and paper goods
48-24 Hours Beforehand
☑ Arrange your flowers in vases to allow them to open and be at their peak for the party
☑ If you are using balloons, have these delivered or blow them up and allow them to settle into your space
24-12 Hours Beforehand
☑ Do as much food prep as possible
☑ Get out any serving pieces as well as plates, napkins, glasses, and silverware that you plan to use
☑ Lay the serving pieces out on your table; figure out the placement of each one so that all you have to do before the party is fill it with your fare
☑ Get a final headcount to make sure you have plenty of supplies, food, and drink
1-4 Hours Beforehand
☑ Complete food prep
☑ Plate the food
☑ Set up the bar
☑ Touch up any fresh décor
☑ Turn on a playlist
☑ Get dressed and ready to celebrate!
Event design Kevin Walsh, Bear Hill Interiors
Accessories Bear Hill Interiors
Balloons Balloon Town