We can almost hear those champagne bottles popping, but before we start the New Years celebrations (and hopefully a few weddings – as I did officially put “Attend a fab NYE Wedding” on my bucket list this year) we have a little advice from Tracy Taylor Ward Design on how to throw the ULTIMATE New Years Eve bash. And judging by these photos, shot by the talented Scott Andrew Studio – Tracy definitely knows what she’s talking about, and we are listening to every single word she has to say. Make sure to read up on the ins and outs of the Ball-Drop bash, and then click here to see more of this fantastic fête!



From Tracy Taylor Ward DesignHow to throw a New Years Eve Party

When it comes to hosting a party, planning can often become overwhelming, especially around holiday time. From ambiance to table settings, one of the most common questions we hear, particularly when it comes to throwing a festive dinner party, is, “How can I come up with a fresh design concept?”

Whether you are looking to host a classic New Year’s Eve party or “mix it up” with something that creates a particular mood (as we did), this step-by-step guide promises to not only help you plan that perfect night to ring in the New Year but to also help you resolve to never be overwhelmed by another dinner party again.

Step 1: Get inspired. Determining what excites you. Whether it’s art, an object you saw in a store window display, or a passage from a book that described a world you felt transfixed by, inspiration is all around you and can help you establish a theme for your party. For our “Glam Noir” dinner party we found our muses in the sophisticated and edgy image of the black lace-masked Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen on the cover of Vogue’s Guide To Ultimate Style.

Step 2: Choose a color scheme. Taking cues from the time of year your event will be held and then adding touches of your favorite colors is another easy way to create a color scheme that will feel personalized. For our New Years Eve party, we selected silver, gold, and red, colors that would be appropriate and obvious staples of the holiday season. Then, drawing inspiration from Tom Ford’s gorgeous new cosmetic colors and packaging, we opted to give our event a little edginess by adding black and eggplant tones to the mix.

Step 3: Build your tablescape. Here are the basics you will need for your dinner table: a tablecloth, napkins, plates (dinner and dessert plates are a must, charger plates and salad plates are optional but nice additions, based on your menu and the formality of the party), glassware (water, wine, and/or cocktail), flatware, and centerpieces. For our tablescape we took a fieldtrip to Mood to find the perfect black lace to use as a tablecloth (we were thrilled when we found one with gold shimmer!). We then opted for simple black linen napkins and sparkly gold charger plates from Gracious Home, paired with the Black Murano Glass dinner plates, Confetti Dessert Plates and Aero Flatware from Crate and Barrel. In lieu of traditional vases for our centerpieces, we used the clear glass Whirly Hanging Candle Holders from CB2. These festive pieces provided a unique alternative: we were able to place gold and silver tinsel within each candleholder and then encircle vibrant red orchids around every one.

Step 4: Select lighting. How you choose to illuminate your space will greatly affect the ambiance of your party. Although dinner will require subtle overhead lighting – since you’ll want everyone to be able to see what you are serving – there’s no question that some accent lighting will also help set the tone of the evening and establish a more intimate effect. In the case of our dinner party, we choose to make candles a focal point by lining our table with a group of hand blown glass candlesticks from CB2, in assorted shapes. (Note: Glass candlesticks are unobtrusive and enable you to chat with the person across the table, especially since they are usually at eye level.)

Step 5: Don’t forget the embellishments. Love is in the details and your guests will surely notice the thought you put into all the finishing touches. From custom designed invitations hinting at your color scheme (we also made “Resolution Reminder Cards,” the size of a credit card, that guests could keep in their wallets to help them follow through with their New Year’s resolutions!), to a special table runner (we created the look of a runner simply by overlapping Chilewich Gold Dahlia Placemats running down the length of the table), to specialty cocktails, oversize balloons and pretty homemade desserts, the smallest details will let your guests know that they are in for a special evening and, also, that you are excited to be ringing in the New Year with them!

Venue: Renaissance Hotel 57 / Event Design and Planning: Tracy Taylor Ward Design / Photography: Scott Andrew Studio / Invitations and Graphic Design: Paper With Benefits / Balloons: Geronimo Balloons / Tableware: Crate and Barrel, CB2, Mood, and Gracious Home / Hair: Stacy Pitt / Makeup: Sally Duvall