What do you get when you put together an event planner that is unemployed during a pandemic and a great desire to celebrate the end of 2020? A New Year's Eve non-party party for the people already in the house!
The end of this year marks 8 months of unemployment- the longest I've been unemployed since I graduated high school. 2020 sure has been a unique year, and not working on events has started to take its toll on me and clearly prove that I was in the right field. So I decided to treat the coming of the new year like an event to give myself a project to focus on to fill my event planning void.
First, I decided on my color palette: black, silver, gold, and white. Second, I decided I wanted to go a bit classier in the look (but while not blowing my budget). And third, I decided that I wanted to make all the food, and I wanted the full spread to be entirely vegan and vegetarian recipes!
I then decided to focus the décor to one room, the living room, to create a more immersive area instead of spreading out the decorations through-out the house. The decorations fell into two different categories: purchase/thrifted and DIY'd.
Purchased & Thrifted Décor
"2021" golden balloons from a local dollar store
Helium tank and assorted balloons
Golden foil tassel banner we already owned
Short foil table skirt
Black and metallic gold crepe paper
Tradition NYE décor from Party City: top hat, noise maker, party hat
Re-used thrifted golden frames and mirrors (from my Alice in Wonderland-inspired Sweet 16)
White light strand
Spray painted wine bottle
'Happy New Year' Banner - Depending on the size and aesthetic of the banner you need, sometime making your banner is most cost effective. For this banner, I purchased a large plain gold pennant banner from Party City. You can always cut out the pennants yourself, but for the size I was looking for, I would have spent more on individual pieces of gold paper from the craft store to create it. From there you can either hand draw or print out (like I did) your individual letters. I then cut them out and simply attached one to each triangle. And ta-da!, you have celebratory banner!
Wall Stars - One of the cheapest decorations in the room was the collection of stars and circles taped to the walls. I found a star shape I liked online and printed it out in 3 different sizes on plain card stock to create my templates. I then purchased a few sheets of sparkly paper in my theme colors from Michaels, traced my templates, and cut out all the shapes. I was then able to attach them to wall with painters tape and easily fill larger blank areas. Yes, cutting out all the shapes is a time-consuming process, but sometimes these items are more expensive to purchase and you can't always find the style or color you're looking for. To achieve the best look, you want a variety of styles and sizes so everything on the wall doesn't look incredibly uniform.
2021 - There are dozen places that you can purchase letters and numbers from, but I decided to just print out my four numbers on card stock in a font I liked and cut them out. Once they were cut out I added sparkles I already owned and they were ready to be added to the wall.
I've been vegetarian for a little over 2 years at this point, but I like to test myself and see how many recipes I can make vegan instead- so that's what I decided to do for this entire party! I wanted to create a menu that offered everything from appetizers to dessert, looked elegant, but contained no meat-products. I crafted most items for the menu, but was gifts the mousse, spinach dip, and donuts to add to the buffet.
Caramelized Onion & Apple Tarts
Guacamole & Salsa
Antipasto Skewers with Tortellini, Cherry Tomatoes, and Basil*
Soup, Salad & Sides
Arugula Salad with a Ginger-Dijon Dressing, Pomegranate Seeds, and Red Onion
Garlic Red Bliss Mashed Potatoes
Veggie Burger Sliders with Fried Onion Straws
Vegan Chocolate Mousse with SoDelicious CocoWhip
Spiced Mini Donuts*
(The items denoted with a (*) are vegetarian and contain dairy, eggs, and/or cheese products.)
As for the presentation, I created my menu first and then decided what specialized dishes and serving utensils I needed to make everything on the table look elegant. Once I wrote down how I ideally wanted to set the buffer, I went to a local thrift store to find the items I needed. 95% of the dishes on that table were thrifted for a little over $20! In addition to finding the dishes the food would be in, I wanted to make sure I also had trays to place all the dishes on. By layering with trays, I was able to elevate the look of the buffet. I also decided to find dishes that were either glass, plain white, or silver to keep everything relatively uniform and in theme. By using real glassware instead of plastic, single-use items, you can easily make a simple spread look more put together and elegant.
For a time when gatherings weren't appropriate and we were coming off a year like none other, I loved having a little celebration that said, "Congrats, you and your family are healthy and you made it through a tough year!" Adding a little fun and elegance to a night that would have been like any other at home gave the end of our year a little sparkle. I highly recommend throwing your family a little elegant party every once in a while, because being alive is always something worth celebrating!
Cheers to 2021!