A Luxury Estate: The Perfect Setting to Celebrate the Festive Season
This year, if you have decided to celebrate the festive season in style by renting a luxury estate, you will undoubtedly have some serious planning to do in the days and weeks that lead-up to the Christmas holiday. The time to start planning is now. Whether you are planning on entertaining a handful of close friends and family or hosting a full-blown gala, the more prepared you are in the early stages, the more flawless and memorable your event is likely to be. As with so many projects we take on in life, getting started can be the most difficult step of all. Let the following tips provide you with inspiration for your upcoming festivities, paving the way for a seamless and spectacular holiday getaway in your luxury estate rental.
Choose a Theme…and a Budget
If a theme sounds a bit pedestrian to you, don’t worry. A theme does not necessarily have to be something as literal as an ugly Christmas jumper party or a gift swap in which all of the guests are asked to don a costume and sing carols while swilling eggnog (although if you wanted to do that, there is a certain undeniable appeal to that as well). A theme simply gives your event a direction; it sets your creative juices flowing, enabling you to envision what it is you want to see in the rest of the details, from the menus to the décor. To effectively do this, you need to know exactly how much money you are working with for your party budget. Some themes might be highly budget-draining and require a lot of expensive details, while others are not. Know what your limits are at the beginning as to avoid disappointment later on.
Choose Your Menu…Wisely
Once you have selected your theme, you may instantly have a few ideas of what you might want your guests to eat. There is always a certain appeal in going with tradition and serving a roast ham, turkey or goose with all the trimmings. However, in choosing your menu it is important to be mindful of your guests. If you are entertaining a small group of close friends and family in your luxury estate, you may already be intimately familiar with what your guests might want to eat, and if any of them have any dietary restrictions that you should be mindful of. However, a larger gathering, a gala, of even a fundraiser calls for a slightly different approach. At larger events, in addition to there being a greater need for a wider variety of cuisine options, guests will likely be expecting the cuisine to be elevated to the level of fine dining for such a special occasion. If you are planning on cooking the menu yourself, start practicing now. Most hosts and hostesses however, will want to use a catering service. During the festive season, caterers are normally booked well in advance. If you do not already have something in place for the upcoming season, it is imperative that you secure a reputable caterer as soon as possible.
The Décor: Get Your Sartorial Groove On
The festive season is the perfect time to throw caution to the wind and really exercise your creativity (within your budget, of course). Whether you have decided to go big and lavish or small and austere (just not with the food though please), there is one ultimate concern that all types of festive gatherings have in common: comfort. If your guests are feeling relaxed and comfortable, the conversation will flow, and guests will ultimately be inspired to eat more, drink more, stay longer, and just generally make the most out of a wonderful evening. Therefore, no matter the type of gathering, be sure that there is adequate seating for your guests, in both the areas where there is food and drink served, and in lounge areas as well. Ensure that the temperature of the rooms will accommodate the size of your group, and if smoking is allowed on the estate, make sure that anyone who may wish to smoke has a place to do so in a location that is separate from the main public areas so that guests that are sensitive to smoke are not affected. If there are any fireplaces in your estate house, make sure that they are well-stocked, and that there is some way of protecting guests from any embers of ash that may emanate from the fireplace as the night progresses.
While hosts and hostesses having smaller gatherings may be content to spend their after dinner time by the fire, playing games, or just enjoying each other’s company with a glass of brandy, larger gatherings call for organised entertainment. Popular acts, whether they be musical or performance artists, book-up well ahead of the festive season, sometimes years in advance, so you must get in early if you have a particular performer or group in mind. If you are hosting a smaller or more informal gathering, live music is preferable to a single DJ or other type of pre-recorded music artist. At a large gala with multiple entertainers, the use of DJs can come in quite handy to provide variety when mixed-in with the live acts. However, at a smaller or more informal gathering, a DJ can quickly overtake a room, make guests feel uncomfortable, and seem just generally dated in their approach. Professional musicians have a greater ability to adapt to their surroundings at a moment’s notice (at least they should), and offer guests a richer overall experience. Whatever you choose for your entertainment, it is a good idea top be present early on in the day as the musicians or other acts arrive and set-up in the house. This gives you an opportunity to hear how the music or act will interact with the house; whether it is too loud, not loud enough, or reverberates unpleasantly throughout an old structure. This gives you time to troubleshoot if you identify any issues.
The final tip? Once you have painstakingly planned every last detail of your festive gathering at your luxury rental estate, relax, and enjoy the party!