5 questions with party planner extraordinaire Lauren Chitwood

Published: Dec. 8, 2016 at 11:40 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 9, 2016 at 12:05 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE)  'Tis the season for holiday parties.  And if thinking about hosting a party over the holiday season turns you as green as the Grinch, here's some advice from Party Planner Extraordinaire Lauren Chitwood.  She is the creative force behind Lauren Chitwood Events.  For the last ten years they've planned weddings, corporate events and parties for large and small groups.

She travels all over the United States to throw spectacular events including a party on a mountain top, a wedding with a suspended cake hanging upside down from a ceiling and a gathering for 1,000 people.

Hopefully, this holiday season you won't be doing anything quite that mind-blowing (or maybe you are!)  I thought this would be a good time to get some tips from Lauren.  Here are my five questions with Lauren Chitwood:

1) What's the key to a memorable holiday party? 
The holidays are a time to connect and share with family and friends. To make your holiday party memorable it should feel authentic, cozy, and filled with touches from your heart.

2) What are some rules to go by?  
I always remind clients that guests cannot drink longer than five hours. The best parties are short and sweet while parties that drag on and on lose their luster. I would plan for 1 hour of mingling and arrivals, followed by a couple hours to eat and drink. A good rule of thumb for a cocktail party is to keep it to 3-4 hours.

3) If you were hosting a party what would you serve?  And do you cook it yourself? 
I do not cook for myself when hosting a holiday gathering because I like to make sure that I have time to mingle and share with my guests. For the holidays, I love to serve a signature cocktail or spiked cider put together by Wiltshire Pantry, one of my favorite catering partners. For food, instead of a cumbersome, multi-bite appetizer, I would serve a soup in demitasse cups.

4) How will you celebrate the Holidays with your family? 
For me, the holidays are an interesting and challenging exercise in time management and celebration. Work is very busy and I am simultaneously balancing family with my three children. Our Christmas morning will be spent with close extended family, my three kids in matching pajamas, and an enormous breakfast featuring my own french toast casserole.

5) Can you give us a creative idea we can all try out with our family this Holiday season? 
Homemade marshmallows are an incredibly easy delicacy to make. My kids love this fun activity on Christmas Eve. Cut the marshmallows into fun shapes and serve in hot chocolate. I like to add Bailey's for the adults. Ina Garten has the perfect recipe here:
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