Holiday Party Planning Tips

It is almost that time of year again, the temperatures start to drop and everyone slips into holiday mode. You may be inclined to throw the perfect holiday bash for either your staff members or even your closest friends and family. However holiday season can be hectic, and you might feel very overwhelmed by all the different faucets of planning that perfect holiday soirée. Rest assured, here at Calluna Events we have you covered with some tips from the best of the best, our very own Heather Dwight. Take a glance at her tips, and if you still feel like you need that extra set of hands for your party be sure to reach out to us! We can guarantee a glitzy party of your dreams, stress free! What could be better? xx, Calluna

How far in advance should I begin working with an event planning service for my holiday party?

Ideally, as soon as possible!  Venues for holiday parties book up quickly, the closer we get to the holidays.  Some of our clients reach out in August and some in November, but I’d say early November is an ideal time to start planning!

What are some features of a holiday party that would make it memorable and stand out from all of the others (since there are so many events during that time of year)?

Incorporating some entertainment for your guests such as a show, casino night, mixologist, fun festive food or dessert stations.

kitchenstyleshoot_014$!x900Is it better to host my party in my home or a local venue?                                                                       That depends on a lot of factors, most importantly the size of your guest list and size of your home, as well as the type of party you’d like to throw.  Some hosts don’t like the idea of bringing people into their home (and what it means to get their home “party ready”), while others revel in the chance to show off their home and holiday decor during a festive time of year. Ultimately we’d work with the host to ensure their home was the best option, or if a venue or restaurant were an even better choice.

What are some of Boulder’s finest venues for hosting a holiday party?
Frasca, OAK, Blackbelly and Flagstaff House all offer either private dining room or full buyout options for holiday parties.  We’ve also worked with the Kitchen Upstairs for partial and full buyout, as well as the Kitchen and the Kitchen Next Door, and Mateo for full buyout options. We have recently pulled together some of our favorite venues in Boulder and Denver that would cater perfectly to your holiday party.

Your guest size will determine which of these options – the private dining room or full restaurant – would be the way to go. We’ve also worked with The Rembrandt Yard for clients wanting more of a gallery experience where you can bring in your own catering and vendors.  Of course, there are always the private residence options too!

Do you have any tips for creating a cost-effective party menu that would satisfy guests with varying dietary restrictions?

Offering more of a small-plate or fun interactive station menu with a lot of variety is a cost-effective alternative to a full plate meal. Guests can experience different smaller plates and bites, rather than a full meal.

Should alcohol be restricted at a holiday party?  What are some of the most common options for ensuring the safety of my guests?                               


A great new option for guests is to offer Uber or Lyft discounts to the guests attending a holiday party or for the host to offer taxis for guests to head home. The host could pick up the Uber, Lyft, or taxi tab or provide town cars to take guests home at the end of the night.

What are some creative options for entertainment during my party, aside from the usual DJ?

DJ’s are definitely still a fun option – especially some of the DJ’s we work with that spin vinyl.  DJ’s can set the mood of the party and create a festive atmosphere. However, for hosts looking outside the box, we have incorporated a casino night with blackjack and Texas Hold’em, cigar rollers, fun dessert bars, hot toddy stations or fun mixology of
festive cocktails. We also have planned wine-inspired tasting menus with guests for holiday parties that can work for small and large groups alike.

What is the most polite way to inform my guests that this is an adult-only event?

Mentioning directly on the invite or evite that guests should plan in advance to secure the services of a babysitter for any kiddos, as the event is “adults only” should be clear. The invite could say: “please let us know if you need assistance finding a sitter, as the evening will be for the adults only”

What can I do during the planning process to make clean up easier on myself once the event is over?

As I mentioned above – hosting your event in a venue or restaurant that offers clean-up is a plus.  If you do end up hosting the party at your house, we recommend hiring an event planner to ultimately ensure the decor is setup and cleaned up for you. We will also assist with the coordination of all the vendors such as florists, decor, lighting, catering and bartending services and their clean up.

ModernParty_Vandenoever2015_0099-313x470What other advice do you have to offer that would help me enjoy the party (as an attendee myself), rather than obsessing over the details as its host.

Definitely hire a professional event planner to assist you from the beginning.  We are experienced enough to know all of the details to think about and how to navigate the planning process and the day of your event so you are focused on enjoying not only the planning process, but also can relax and focus on being the host or hostess during the party itself. We can offer fun and creative options for outside-of-the-box party ideas, fun decor elements and assist with guest management, valet services and other ideas you might not think about. Leave all the details to us so you can enjoy and be a guest at your own party!

How do you get people to RSVP when it’s not common place to do so anymore?

Great question! Unfortunately, this is becoming more and more common, and we suggest hosts email or call the straggling guests to get a personal “yay” or “nay”!. …or better yet, hire us and have us do it for them!

:: Photo Credit ::

| Featured Photo: Taro Smith, Blackbelly Restaurant |

 | Top Photo: Megan Newton Photography, The Kitchen |

| Middle Photo: Connie Dai PhotographyCatering by Design|

| Bottom Photo: Julia Vandenoever Photography, 3 Chicks Bartending |


The Perfect Boulder Holiday Event Venues :: Part One

The Holidays are slowly approaching and we couldn’t be more excited. With that being said, it is never too early to start planning a holiday soiree! Whether you are having a large bash or intimate gathering, there is plenty of time to book us for your event!  We have compiled a list of some of our favorite Boulder venues for potential parties, so sit back and get inspired!

Enjoy! xx, Calluna

Oak at Fourteenth : 1400 Pearl Street, Boulder, CO


Frasca Food and Wine: 1738 Pearl Street, Boulder, CO


Brasserie Ten Ten: 1011 Walnut Street, Boulder, CO


Wild Standard1043 Pearl Street, Boulder, CO

Experience some seriously exciting cuisine at one of Boulders newest restaurants. Wild Standard offers a trendy and intimate private dining space called the Pearl Dive Cellar, ideal for groups up to 28 people. With their decadent raw bar and exotic flavors, your guests will be thoroughly pleased! For a look at their tasty menu click here!


SALT the Bistro: 1047 Pearl Street, Boulder, CO

The SALT cellar is the unique and cozy private dining space located inside of SALT bistro. With its own private bar, the cellar is a the ideal spot for an ultra-private event of any kind. SALT provides an intimate atmosphere along with quality farm to table cuisine and an extensive wine list. Check out their decadent menu here!

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The Kitchen: 1039 Pearl Street, Boulder, CO

The Kitchen is available for full buy out and get accommodate 65 people seated and 150 people cocktail style. The Kitchen Boulder is a community bistro located in the heart of Boulder that offers seasonal dishes prepared with quality ingredients. In addition to the Kitchen, The Kitchen Upstairs offers a trendy venue for any cocktail party, while The Kitchen Next Door provides a more casual atmosphere perfect for a gathering with family and friends. Check out some of their delicious cuisine here!



Photo via The Kitchen || Image Davis Tilly

Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar: 928 Pearl Street, Boulder, CO

Jax has some of the most delicious and fresh seafood Boulder has to offer. The restaurant is a cozy and charming space perfect for any intimate holiday or engagement party.  Jax has reservation space available for parties from 1 to 16 guests. Larger reservations for up to 30 guests may be available at multiple tables. Jax is also available for full restaurant rentals, where the entire space is YOURS for the evening. View their tasty menu here!


For more information on these amazing venues and pricing feel free to contact us at!

Featured Image: OAK at Fourteenth

Party Planning 101 :: Calluna’s Guide to Hosting

With the holiday season upon us, we’re welcoming in just as many parties as we are inches of snow. For those of you who are hosting be it a holiday work party, hot chocolate bar or full out NYE bash, we’ve put together a Party Planning 101 to help you make the most out of your fancy fete.



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Send out invitations far in advance. We’re nearing the 2014 countdown and if you haven’t gotten your invites out consider doing this sooner than later. Being a respectful host means being courteous of people’s busy lives outside of your gathering, regardless of how formal or informal your party may be.

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Politely inform guests if this is a ‘parents night out’ or if the whole family is welcome. Consider including “please let us know if you need assistance finding a sitter, as the evening will be for the adults only” directly on the invite.**The invitation is great place to state the dress code as well. Ugly sweater, anyone!?

Take advantage of fun venues around town. Who says every party needs to be in your living room? Not us! Try something new and rent out a fun restaurant or event space. Frasca, The Kitchen Upstairs or BMoCA (pictured below) are a few of our favorites.


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Try something new and unexpected.  It’s likely that lots of other hosts will incorporate festive holiday decor, buy why do that when you could give your guests an exciting, memorable experience? Bring in a mixologist, local band, cigar roller or a wine tasting class!


Consider hiring an event planner. We know you have a laundry list of things to do (including laundry) and this party is just one more item to stress over. We love navigating the planning process and can offer fun and creative options for outside-of-the-box party ideas, fun decor elements and assist with guest management, valet services and other ideas you might not think about. We’d love to start the conversation.


Leave your guests in a sticky situation. Holidays are a critical time to be extra cautious on the road. Provide nonalcoholic drinks for your guests, a designated driver, or even offer to cover the Uber ride home. Thinking about these details (sometimes even before your guest!) will show you are both prepared and compassionate to everyone’s needs.

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Get overwhelmed! The point of coming together is to celebrate and be in one another’s company. Don’t wait until the last hour to start enjoying yourself. Cheers!

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Photos compliments of Calluna Events staff, Allen Krugoff Photography, Rachel Gomez Photography and Tess Pace Photography.

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