Lifestyle Holidays & Occasions Rebecca Taylor on How to Host a Stress-Free Holiday Party By Claire Stern Claire Stern Claire Stern is the Deputy Editor of ELLE.com. Previously, she served as Editor at Bergdorf Goodman and was the Associate Editor at InStyle. Her interests include fashion, food, travel, music, Peloton, and The Hills—not necessarily in that order. InStyle's editorial guidelines Updated on December 1, 2017 @ 09:00AM Pin Share Tweet Email Photo: Courtesy Seeing as Rebecca Taylor's dresses are ideal for the holiday party circuit, it makes sense that the New Zealand-born designer, known for her rich textures and romantic silhouettes, would know how to entertain a group herself. As anyone who's been tasked with throwing a seasonal get-together well knows, hosting is no easy feat, what with food shopping, cooking, and expertly mingling with everyone in attendance, without leaving anyone awkwardly standing in the corner. According to Taylor, the key is to keep the vibe as mellow as possible—and that applies to the guest list, too. "The most important ingredient for a great party is surrounding yourself with wonderful friends and family," she says. "I just love funny people. Anyone that makes me laugh is always welcome to my house." Here, Taylor shares more secrets for a successful night. 01 of 05 OPT FOR SIMPLE CENTERPIECES. Courtesy Buy Now "When decorating your table for a party, it's important to trust your taste and the things you love. A lot of the flowers I'm drawn to remind me of the palettes and botanicals of my home in New Zealand—roses and anemones and dahlias that are very feminine but not at all fussy. Taylor Patterson of Fox Fodder Farm taught me this great floral trick: To give your roses that lush, almost in-full-bloom look, you flip the down the outside edges of the petals. I like my arrangements to feel very natural and not overstyled—to me imperfection is beautiful. It sets the tone for a party too, that you don't take yourself too seriously!" 02 of 05 LIGHT UP THE ROOM. Courtesy Buy Now "I love shine always, but especially around the holidays. Candlelight is also such a wonderful way to set the mood. I always have lots of candles scattered around the table." 03 of 05 SERVE A FESTIVE COCKTAIL. Nerida McMurray Photography/Getty Images "My favorite drink around the holidays is a champagne cocktail. It has lovely festive fizz that's perfect for parties. I use a good Cremánt sparkling wine, a little cognac, a sugar cube, a touch of bitters, and a twist of lemon. Your guests will be very happy!" 5 Books on Entertaining Professional Event Planners Swear By 04 of 05 WEAR SOMETHING CHIC AND LOW-MAINTENANCE. Courtesy Buy Now "When I'm hosting a party, I love to wear a pretty gown and bare feet. Dressing up is lovely but it's important to be comfortable too." 05 of 05 END THE NIGHT WITH A NOSTALGIC SURPRISE. Courtesy Buy Now "I'll never host a party without sparklers. There's that little moment of surprise when I bring them out at the end of a dinner—you can't help but have fun."