It never fails, whenever my husband and I plan a get together, 9 times out of 10, I’m running around like a madwoman an hour before guests arrive trying to pull everything together. Tips would certainly come in handy at that point. So believe you me, I’m bookmarking this post. It’s a little expert advice from Julie Couch Interiors. She’s laying out the recipe for a stunning holiday table. From lipstick to a bit of whimsy and a thoughtful takeaway, try these 10 ingredients at your next dinner party.

1. BLOOMS | Fresh flowers and greenery are the bedrock of a beautiful table. Keep it simple. Choose one type of flower for your arrangements or a few of your favorite blooms but all in the same color! More is more.

2. CONTAINERS | Elegant and classic brass, crystal, silver, glass, or porcelain for candles and greenery. Even the most beautiful blooms can’t look their best in plastic vases. And keep the finishes consistent. Gold and brass are very popular right now so we embraced it!

3. LOTS OF CANDLES | For me there is no place for a colored candle. Ivory or white only and absolutely nothing scented, especially if you’re serving dinner. From eclectic candlesticks for a bohemian vibe or cherished crystal for the most formal occasions, just go with wht makes you happy and fits the menu.

4. GREAT LINENS | Stripes or patterns can come into play beautifully here, and a monogram never hurts!

5. HANDWRITTEN PLACE CARDS ON LUXE CARD STOCK | Make your guests feel welcome and let them know they have a special place at the table.

6. TEXTURE | Here we chose velvet ribbon, linen napkins and leather placemats. On a side note, that combination of materials makes a fabulous room as well.

7. SOMETHING A LITTLE FUN AND UNEXPECTED | We chose to include a mask for each place setting. This is a great conversation starter and helps folks relax and enjoy.

8. A SIMPLE BUT SWEET TAKE AWAY | This could be part of the place setting, placed on a sideboard, or simply wrapped and waiting in each seat. Your take away could be a black and white framed family photo, a pretty christmas ornament, or even a small piece of art.

9. A SIGNATURE COCKTAIL & LOTS OF WINE | Consider serving a signature cocktail that is unique to your party. Choose a few of your favorite wines. I like to select a little something bubbly to serve as guests arrive, and have a nice red waiting in the decanter. It seems most ladies ask for a pinot noir, and men tend to request a bolder cabernet or bordeaux. Have both on hand as well as a very light pinot grigio and a fuller chardonnay.

10. MOST IMPORTANTLY | Keep lipstick in your pocket and a big smile on your face

Design: Julie Couch Interiors | Floral Design: 12 Table | Calligraphy: Jessica Foley | Black Luggage Rack : West Elm | Candle Sticks: Julie Couch Shop | Gold Flatware: West Elm | Leather Placemats: Moore And Giles | Photography : Alyssa Rosenheck Photography | Styling : Brittney Forrister