How to plan a royal-approved Christmas party
From the celebrity party and wedding planners, Peregrine Armstrong-Jones and his wife Caroline
Happy Monday, Royal Clubbers!
With Christmas fast approaching I have a little festive treat for you all. I'm sure you are all too familiar with the incredible royal weddings of Mike and Zara Tindall, Peter and Autumn Phillips, and Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank.
Well, I sat down with their fabulous wedding planners, Peregrine Armstrong-Jones and his "secret weapon" wife Caroline, who are not just the brains behind the aforementioned royal nuptials but also the big days of the likes of David and Victoria Beckham and Elizabeth Hurley.
Now I'm sure you will all be well into your Christmas party preparations, but if you need a bit of extra inspiration, or you're as last minute as me and still haven't started, you may be inspired by a bit of wisdom from whom we can all agree are the world’s best.
Where to draw inspiration
Peregrine started by explaining he finds the best inspiration to be the lavish department stores in London’s West End.
"If you get your inspiration from Harrods’ Christmas windows, their toy department and their foodhalls are always the benchmark of how stylish you can make Christmas decorations," he said. "It's easy to go in there and look and get inspiration. That is the traditional Dickensian Christmas look which I think is unbeatable.
"Those guys who work in their shops, the set dressers who do their shop windows are super talented. They are all incredible - Fortnum and Mason's, Harrods, and Liberty's.
"Think of candles, think about the lighting. You can't beat traditional décor at Christmas which is velvet, holly, mistletoe, and Christmas trees."
A fizz-fuelled entrance and fabulous canapés
As for the layout of your festive do, Peregrine revealed it's imperative that there is a bar area set up, to allow your guests to fetch a tipple as soon as they enter the room.
"Think about setting up a bar which looks beautiful and isn't difficult, because let's face it, we all like to walk in and have a drink straight away. Have plenty of glasses, ice, and bottles to serve the drinks.
"For Christmas food, I love Jamie Oliver. His recipes are simple and he's made party food so simple if you're doing it yourself.
"So look at Jamie Oliver's five-ingredient recipes, and you'll find, ‘Wow, they're amazing and I can do these myself.’ None of us want to go into a Christmas party thinking: 'This is too complicated, and I need to spend days and days doing this.' There are shortcuts. So make some simple cocktails, which are easy, and look at Jamie Oliver's recipes."
The Christmas table
When it comes to the Christmas table, Peregrine and Caroline drew from the decor they have in their Buckinghamshire farmhouse home.
Caroline explained: "My advice is, if it's a dinner or a lunch, I would think about your table and little touches that you can do to make it really pretty and create this magic. Funnily enough, this year I have found the most amazing big nightlight holders. They are furnished with gold inside. I bought ten of each, brass and silver, so when I put a nightlight in these, that's kind of my table looking amazing already. I'm always looking for things that are inexpensive.”
Caroline also said sourcing foliage from your garden is an easy way to impress guests: "The holly berries are fantastic this time of year, I always see what I can repurpose. Last year I put an amazing overhead foliage over my table and I put some little white fairy lights in between them and when people came in they said: 'Wow.' None of that costs any money, sourcing things from your garden."
We don’t know about you, but we’re feeling well and truly inspired! We’re off to hunt for some foliage now… Thanks for the tips, Peregrine and Caroline!
Don’t miss Emily Nash every Wednesday
Emily’s last newsletter of the year will be going out this Wednesday before she takes a well-deserved break over the holidays and returns in January.
Her posts are exclusively for our paid subscribers, so if you are currently a free subscriber, we would be honoured if you considered upgrading to paid where you will join thousands of likeminded royal fans in our ever-growing community. To give you a taster of what you can expect, last week her newsletter explored William and Kate’s royal traditions.