5 Party Trends on Their Way Out, According to Event Planners

published Dec 1, 2022
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Woman wearing apron serving turkey to group of friends at dinner table
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Those who love entertaining will find any excuse to throw a party. From their BFF’s birthday celebration to hosting holiday dinners, the excitement grows as the to-do list lengthens. If that sounds like you — or even if it doesn’t — the truth is that planning an event is a lot of effort. From coming up with a theme to finalizing the guest list, having folks over is a labor of love. And with all the time you’ll invest, it’s essential to get it right.

That’s why I consulted with four event planners who divulged the top five entertaining trends to avoid in 2023. Although none of these things is necessarily a faux pas (and if they work for you there’s no need to ditch them), experts say there are some fresh trends on the horizon. And don’t worry, the pros also revealed how to update these elements for your party. Here are five passé entertaining trends that will have you rethinking how you plan your next event.

Making All of the Food Yourself

Even if you love entertaining, as a host, doing it all yourself can cause an undo amount of stress. Event planner Nora Sheils confirms this fact.

“Party throwers are much more concerned about the overall party experience, including their own,” she says. As a result, hosts are ordering food or hiring catering services to cook, serve, and clean so they can sit back and relax at their own parties. “It’s a win for the host and guests who want to help or worry about the host being overwhelmed,” adds Sheils. If full catering isn’t in the cards (or budget), picking up some pre-made dishes from your local market or take-out spot and re-plating them is a simple way to save a lot of work. 

Event planner and designer Chanda Daniels has also noticed this trend, especially when entertaining for the holidays. “With all of the different restaurant delivery services, folks are now ordering more options from their favorite restaurants and spending more relaxed time with family,” she says. As a bonus, Daniels stresses that purchasing meals from locally-owned restaurants is a way to help businesses recover from the hardships of the past two years, which is a win for everyone.

Self-Service Drinks

One way to elevate your event quickly is to toss the ice bucket filled with craft beers and hire a drink service instead. Being able to order custom beverages is an experience that 2023 brings to everything from backyard barbeques to upscale dinners.

“Bartenders are becoming a hot commodity these days,” advises event planner Christina Lovelace. “Hosts are upping their game by bringing in a bartending company to serve custom drinks behind a fabulous bar.” Of course, a personal bartender may not be cost-effective for, say, a small dinner party. In that case, setting out the ingredients for a signature cocktail can make the drinking experience feel more special than popping open a beer. Another trend for 2023 is having mocktails — also known as zero-proof cocktails — for friends who may be abstaining from alcoholic beverages.

Credit: Photo: Christopher Broe; Stylist: Alix Winsby

Single-Use Serving Items

If you need a good excuse for thrifting, host an event. Skip the disposable serving platters, plastic silverware, and paper plates, and use longer-lasting items from thrifted shops and estate sales instead.

“People are starting to collect and use thrifted dishware, glassware, and flatware,” event planner Megan Lozano-Rodriguez offers. She also suggests looking for themed dishes or using family heirlooms, such as grandma’s favorite platter, to serve food. There’s also a high emphasis on having the proper glassware for your beverages, so consult your bartender to brush up on what you’ll need. “Make sure you aren’t serving an old fashioned in a martini glass,” Lozano-Rodriguez adds.

Bold Color Combinations

Before you think striking colors are out, think again. For 2023, it all comes down to how you use bold hues.

“Although using lots of color in design is beautiful, 2023 will bring lots of eye-catching monochromatic designs,” reveals Lovelace. If you like muted hues, stick with a tonal palette. But even if you gravitate toward a more noticeable color, such as red, build a monochromatic palette ranging from pastel pink to deep burgundy. Finally, for an element of fun, play with surfaces. “Using the same colors but playing with textures is one of my favorite ways to spice up a room,” adds Lovelace.

Credit: pavemadal/Shutterstock.com

Global Menus

If you love to try foods from different countries, or you want to honor your family’s heritage, don’t be afraid to incorporate this sentiment into your next event. “Branching out into global cuisine is popular,” explains Lozano-Rodriguez.

Lovelace also stresses that serving food family-style goes hand in hand with upgrading your party experience. “Many folks are leaning toward family-style instead of individual meals,” she says. “Sharing a meal and ‘passing the rolls’ has become something that means much more.” In addition, chatting with loved ones and neighbors while seated at the table signals a feeling of appreciation and gratitude.