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New Year's Eve cocktail party Etiquette tips

New Year 's Eve is an ideal time to host a Cocktail Party to celebrate the season with family and friends.

Send out your cocktail invitations three weeks in advance as it is a busy time of the year. These days, online invitations are perfectly acceptable, as long as they reflect the tone of your event!

Dressing up:

For this sparkling event, keep it dressy and elegant. Chic doesn't mean be too formal, please avoid the little black dress…Look your most glamourous best in gold or silver, in colourful silk, taffetas or satin. To add a glimmering touch to your skin put on Chanel Camelia de Plumes, poudre illuminatrice.

Drinks and eating:

New Eve party makes a perfect bubbling party! Champagne makes the party truly festive. The classic way to chill a Champagne is to place the bottle in an ice-bucket, half filled with water and half with ice, for twenty minutes. Serve in thin, tall and elegant champagne flutes which allow the bubbles to dance. For an extraordinary effect, select Champagne crystal flutes from Saint Louis, France's oldest glass manufactury and the first ever to produce crystal in France. Present the flutes on a glass or silver tray next to fresh white or red blooms. Remember to always hold the glass by the stem, not by the bowl, to prevent the hand from warming up the Champagne.

Serve a mix of both hot and cold party nibbles and canapes. Make them in advance or depending on your budget, use a caterer. Your cocktail party will not be complete without French patisserie! Even in Hong Kong, the choice is large: Pierre Hermé, Dalloyau, Ladurée, Island Gourmet at the Shangri-La )…


Decorate your home or the place you rent with beautiful party decorations to make your it warm and inviting. For an elegant decoration, avoid mixing too many colours. Set up a fragrant Christmas tree and string it with lights.

Dress up your buffet table with white linen tablecloths (the most elegant indeed!). Graceful floral arrangement will enhance the buffet. For a glowing display, scatter tiny gold or silver confetti. Create a winking ambiance with lit candles and a must -have item: a painted wood, plexiglass, silver or crystal chandelier!


Gift exchanges are very enjoyable. A great gift exchange idea is to have each guest buy a gift less than 100HK$ (soap, candle, booknote, kitchen gadgets,) that can go to either a man or a woman. Gifts should be nicely wrapped. Gather all the gifts under your Christmas tree. In the middle of your party, ask every guest to pick up a present or ask the kids to pick up the presents and give them to the person of their choice.

Mind your manners:

At a cocktail party, proper Etiquette needs to be followed :

  • Don't go on an empty stomach to a cocktail party. Cocktail parties never last too long, serving drinks and canapes only. It is not a dinner and it is simply rude to spend your whole time eating all the canapés you can find! So do not head directly to the buffet table as soon as you arrive, and avoid making many rounds of the buffet table.

  • Do not talk with your mouth full.

  • When toasting, never clink the delicate champagne flutes.

  • Do not drink too much, drink only that much alcohol which you can hold.

  • Be a gracious guest or host , mingle with people you don't know, be attentive to them and always maintain eye contact when you speak to them, avoid business and boring talks.

  • Leave at the right time and don't forget to thank the host and hostess.

  • Be as elegant as the cocktail party you enjoyed so much: The day after, sent a nice christmas card with a written note that reads: HAPPY NEW YEAR !!!

Le Savoir-Vivre and Oulala Flower offer exclusive personalized services. For more information, please contact

by Catherine Soulas Baron

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