Our friends over at Arhaus invited us to write a post sharing a few of our favorite tips for hostessing and decorating during the holiday season. Gathering people, whether small and intimate or large and wild, is one of my favorite things to do, so naturally, I jumped at the chance to share some of the things I have learned over the years.
With this being Bought Beautifully’s busiest season, I partnered with my go-to photographer friend, Jenae Neeson, and my co-host and friend, Jeriann to decorate a Christmas table. Jer and I have been working together for 4 plus years hosting a large holiday event (100+ plus people), on an extremely low decorating budget (<$200).
The most important thing we have learned is this:
decorating and hosting can be beautiful, impactful, and affordable.
Bought Beautifully’s mantra for gatherings is to minimize stress and expenditures, while maximizing impact. So, my goal for this post was to create “haute” holiday decor in about an hour using ethical items and items we had on hand.
Here are three hostessing tricks that we consistently use at our large events and at home.
1.) Know your purpose
What is your reason for gathering? Whether it is a 3 year-old Birthday party, Christmas Eve dinner, or New Year’s Day brunch, there is a deeper reason for bringing people together, knowing “the purpose” will guide your decisions, reduce your stress, and create the spirit for the event.
When you let the spirit of your event shine through something magical happens.
At Bought Beautifully, every thing we do centers around supporting our artisans and telling their stories. With that at the forefront, it makes our choices easier and it becomes less important if our green is exactly the right shade, if the name tags match perfectly, or if the bowls are the right size.
For this table setting, our vision was to create something wintery and beautiful but our purpose was to remember the story of God’s love and how it is being shared and experienced around the globe today. We wanted to incorporate as many items that told that story as possible. Each place setting is adorned with paper ornaments handmade by women in Kenya and name cards that share encouraging messages, while handmade Bought Beautifully products are sprinkled throughout the room.
This Christmas and every night we want to remember and celebrate all the hands that contribute to the beauty of our table and the warmth of our home. When we are serving our salad, we will remember the precious hands that carved the bowl and serving spoons. The napkin rings made from straw and thread in Honduras, remind us that great beauty can come from the simple and ordinary.
2.) Use your resources first
It is easy to feel overwhelmed looking at all the pinterest-inspired ideas and thinking that you have to spend a fortune to achieve them. BUT we have found that this doesn’t have to be the case at all! Before spending a dime ask yourself these questions:
What do you have that you can use in new & different ways?
Walk through your house and gather items that have the same feel or are in the same color scheme as the look you are trying to create. Bring them together and start playing!
For this scene, we started with a scarf for the table runner, then we grabbed a wreath from Jeriann’s laundry room door for the main center piece, brought in hand-made pillows from another room, and found the final touch with an ethically made utensil holder serving as a wine bottle holder!
Using your resources is definitely the best idea when it comes to affordability, but if you are looking for something new, we are loving Arhaus’ Dining section, particularly their artisan-made collection which features handcrafted items, recycled metal pieces, and my personal favorite, the live edge tables. These are simply gorgeous (and sustainably made in America!)
3.) Be flexible and have fun
Our initial vision for this table setting had been a more traditional red and green Christmas colored theme but once we gathered items, and saw how gorgeous my teal scarf was accenting her white tableware, we went a completely different direction.
To achieve the look we flipped her table cloth over to show a more muted side of the fabric, added a scarf, and then brought in other turquoise and white items from around her home. As soon as we changed directions, everything came together quickly and seamlessly…we even had time to celebrate with a glass of wine.
Cheers to a happy, haute, holiday of decorating and hostessing!
To shop this look:
Kuni Salad bowl
Pillows and at the Holiday Pop-up Shop in Sheridan, WY
Glasses available at the Holiday Pop-up Shop in Sheridan, WY
Don’t forget to check out Arhaus’ Dining section