By Arianna Friedman
Nov 04, 2016 @ 5:30 pm
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When throwing a get-together, it’s all too easy to get wrapped up in the unending details. We often forget that the goal is to “be a party-goer, not a party-thrower,” as interior design blogger Emily Henderson puts it. To help make holiday hosting as high-fun and low-stress as possible, Henderson stopped by the InStyle offices to chat with lifestyle editor Anne Vorrasi about the three things she does to prepare her home for any celebration.

1. Lay everything out ahead of time: Henderson prepares or buys all of the food and drink ahead of the event. To avoid playing bartender, she sets up multiple drink stations with curated ingredients so guests can fix their own cocktails.

2. Add a pop of color: The decorating pro recommends working within your color palette, but notes that there’s always room for festive accent hues. “A little bit goes a long way and you can bring it in with ornaments,” Henderson tells InStyle. “It instantly livens things up.”

3. Keep it curated: When it comes to tableware, Henderson loves playing with a mix of shapes, textures, sizes, and colors and has a secret tip to keeping it looking polished. Make sure your spread has at least one element in common, like the material or color.

Read on for her make-ahead cocktail recipe and check out the video above for more of Henderson’s entertaining tips.

Berry Merry Cocktail

Serves 2


6 oz IZZE Sparkling Blackberry ($21/12 bottles;
1 1/2 oz gin (Henderson recommends Hendricks, $30/750 ml; For a mocktail, replace with either sparkling water or grapefruit juice
Small handful of fresh blackberries
Fresh mint
Splash of lime juice


1. Muddle the blackberries, mint, and lime juice.
2. Stir in gin and IZZE.
3. Pour over ice and enjoy!