The Best Holiday Hosting Tips for Engaged and Newlywed Couples

Chestnuts roasting on the open fire and Christmas songs aren’t the only prerequisites for a first time hosting experience. Holiday hosting tips are often redundant (e.g. preparing gingham linens with pine cone centerpieces).

But that immaculate, new dutch oven is practically begging to be served with an equally-welcoming tablescape during Christmas brunch. Hosts can lean into the holiday spirit without being blatant about the festive theme. If it’s your first time gathering your loved ones with your partner, here are essential holiday hosting tips to keep in mind. 

Create a Warm and Welcoming Environment

“Hospitality is hospitality and hosting,” says Slowdance founder and FETE creative director Jung Lee, who specializes in memorable experiences. “You want to create a warm environment that is authentic to you. Do it where it feels easy.”

Build a Menu of Familiarity and Comfort

One rule of thumb with holiday hosting tips is serving dishes that you and your partner are already familiar with. If you plan to cook rather than cater the meal, perhaps avoid serving dishes that haven’t been done before. “If I’ve never made dumplings, don’t do it for the in-laws for the first time,” she says. 

This doesn’t mean the meal has to be extraordinary, by any means. “It can be simple and still be great,” she says. “For light bites, go to Trader Joes and get your cheese, spreads and nuts. Use your Slowdance bowl and make the entire design feel nice and special.”

Put Those Registry Items to Work

Speaking of which: you’ve registered pieces that were likely fulfilled by your family members and loved ones. If you’ve already received several items off your registry (Baccarat glasses, that LSA cake stand, beautiful Vista Alegre plates and chargers), show them off at the table. Your family members will be extra happy to see their gifts served beautifully at the brunch table. 

Be Thoughtful About Each Guest

Your invitation list was hand-selected and approved by you. Take the extra step to consider each guest’s needs. “You want it to be comfortable and for the in-laws,” advises Jung. “Have food that they’ll really enjoy. If they have allergies, be thoughtful and ask them about it.”

Add Special Touches to Each Space

Your home will be extra clean by the time your guests arrive, but take it even one step further by adding thoughtful touches to highly-trafficked areas like the hallway corridor and the lavatories. “Light scented candles in the bathroom. Your guests will feel special even in that space,” says Jung. “Make sure your place looks nice… You can add a little floral vase to a corner and prepare an ice bucket for the bar area. Designate an area where they can nosh and have wine or champagne. There are so many easy things to do.”

Think Logistics

Sometimes, hosting boils down to even the smallest of details like readying a coat check. “Have extra hangers and prepare soft lighting and must,” says Jung. “Every guest is also going to the bathroom, so stock it with extra tissues, hand towels, beautiful hand soap and lotion.”

Prepare a Seated Meal

Gatherings and meals are the essence of the holidays, so preparing a delicious meal is a must-do for every couple seeking holiday hosting tips. “A seated meal is so lovely to do. You don’t have to plate everything,” says Jung. “Get your favorite Italian dishes (whatever pastas and salads) and prepare big bowls. Having great dishes, glasses and quality wine matters. Then, the family can sit around the table, imbibe and share this time together. It should feel like it’s coming from the home or the heart.“

Here are products to consider below for all holiday hosts. Or—create your registry today to source unique pieces to dazzle your loved ones as you host.