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There’s something about a winter wonderland that is both timeless and endlessly magical. From snow-topped branches and sparkly icicles to the hot drinks and roaring fires we use to ward off that beautiful yet bone-chilling cold, wintery scenes inspire both a sense of awe and a healthy dose of nostalgia. For party planners, choosing a winter wonderland theme is a fairly safe bet, as it offers tons of inspiration and few true restrictions.

Throwing a winter wonderland soiree is also an opportunity to take a fairly neutral theme and color palette and customize it to your client’s expectations. You can insert branded elements, winterize a specific place or venue, or capture everyone’s imagination by running with a vintage look and feel (imagine recreating your town’s original main street in snow-dusted miniature). It’s a theme that can be casual and kid-friendly or extremely high-end with the black-tie dress code and caviar canapes to match.

Ultimately, the possibilities of a winter wonderland theme are limited only by the time you can put into it and the budget you have to adhere to. Whether small and intimate or large and meticulously planned, your winter wonderland soiree has definite potential.

Mood and Venue:

Stepping into a winter wonderland soiree should feel like you’ve wandered into a life-like recreation of the classic hit song. Lyrics like “sleigh bells ring, are you listening” and “later on, we’ll conspire, as we dream by the fire” should serve as your inspiration to create a party that blends all the glistening appeal of a vast snowy expanse with the fun and warmth (in more ways than one) of a holiday-time gathering filled with friends and family.

  • An office, with desks rearranged (if possible) and plenty of themed décor
  • A museum, especially one that tracks the history of your town or state
  • A bare-bones warehouse, ballroom, or event space

Invitations:

While online invitations are certainly convenient, there’s something about sending a handwritten invite (or one printed using a scripted font) that is more fitting with the idea of classic holiday fun. Even using snail mail invites, you can still minimize the financial output and effort by opting for a neutral holiday card – look for cards with lots of silver, blue, and white with snowflakes, wintery scenes, or abstract designs – and then toss in some tinsel or glittery “snow.”

Have a more forgiving budget? Custom snow globes (you can buy plastic versions and fill them yourself if you have the time) with the invite inside will leave quite an impression.

Effort Level: Medium to Hard

Decorations:

Decorating for your winter wonderland soiree is fairly easy. Start with the basic elements and then turn up the volume according to your budget and the target audience.

  • Colors and Textures:

White, ice and royal blues, and almost anything metallic (silver, in particular). For fabric, think shiny, sparkly, and even faux fur. Sequins work, but shimmery items are subtler and a bit more elevated, too.

  • Tablescapes:

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Cover tables in large swaths of satin or furry fabric. For place settings, use white plates on top of metallic chargers or splurge on rustic wooden slabs (like a cross-section of a tree stump) dusted in faux snow to really evoke the wintery theme. Create centerpieces by overlapping silver-tipped twigs and weaving silver ribbon through the branches. The finishing touch? Clear plastic Christmas ornaments filled with whatever sparkly elements you can find – branded items from your client are a major plus!

Use sparkly or mirrored-silver spray paint to transform everything from pebbles to plastic serving platters (glaze them with a food-safe sealant after) to tree branches and twigs.

Budget: $$

Level of Effort: Time-Consuming

Menu:

Designing the perfect menu for a winter wonderland soiree is all about putting a wintery twist on classic dishes using edible elements as well as the right serving utensils.

  • Stock the bar with dry ice and consider a champagne cocktail or spiked punch with on-theme paper straws on the side. Rim winter-ritas (a clear margarita mix) with edible glitter instead of salt. Offer warm drinks like mulled cider or wine to chase away the chill.
  • Anything roasted and carved to order
  • Winter vegetables with herbs
  • White chocolate-covered truffles rolled in edible snow
  • Shaved ice “snowballs” with an array of flavorful toppings
  • A croquembouche tower made with custard-stuffed profiteroles and dusted with powdered sugar

Entertainment:

Entertainment options for your winter wonderland soiree range from the classic to the truly inspired.

  • A soundtrack (piped through the built-in sound system) of holiday classics sung by Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, etc. ($, Family Friendly)
  • Hired “carolers” that go from group to group, singing classic songs ($$, Family Friendly)
  • Acrobats and contortionists in silver or white sparkly unitards ($$, Possible Family Friendly)