We’re completely and totally in love with most of the entertaining trends of 2017. Despite all of the turmoil in the world — or perhaps because of it, as a means of escape — entertaining and events in 2017 have been on point. Call us people of our own time, but all year we have been here for brushed metallic touches, doughnut walls, farm-to-table catering menus, and slushie cocktails.
But for every dessert waffle we encounter and rave over, there’s a party detail that’s just a little off-putting or overdone. Haven’t we seen enough avocado toast? Does every single party color palette have to include millennial pink? Do you really need to send off every guest with a succulent, which they will then be responsible for? We think not.
So we combed through our predicted party trends for the year to see what came true and then took note of the events around us to come out with the best and worst entertaining trends of 2017.
Why yes, we will make our own taco at your wedding! The customizable food station went way beyond the ice cream sundae bar this year. No event is complete without having guests put together their own s’more, ice cream soda, or guacamole. Make it custom and Instagram it, baby!
Honestly, this “worst” item almost made our best list, but sometimes food as décor goes too far. While we’re here for edible centerpieces, cakes at the front and center of a dessert table, and the aforementioned doughnut wall, sometimes food as décor goes too far. In 2017, we personally saw shelves filled with cheeseburgers and churros hanging from the ceiling like a chandelier. It’s time to tone it down.
Keeping food local continued to rule the catering world in 2017, and we wholeheartedly approve. High-quality meats and local, seasonal produce can help chefs to craft unique, high-class dishes while keeping the environmental impact low.
You know what’s great? Eating a lot of food at an event. You know what’s awkward? Sharing that same dish with a bunch of other people. Serving family style has been a huge trend for 2017, but we’re not a fan. There’s either too much food and it’s wasteful, or you don’t get your serving of chicken Alfredo. Either way, no thank you.
When greenery was first announced as Pantone’s color of the year, we were skeptical. But we grew to love it. It’s a simple color that can splash with bright oranges and pinks or be subdued with whites and creams. Greenery also plays in to rustic tablescapes and outdoor entertaining, both of which we love.
Shabby chic refuses to die. Chalkboard signage with cutesy sayings needs to go back to 2012 where it belongs. And while we’re at it, these wedding trends need to go away, too.
We love little personal touches. From planning a party menu that goes back to your family roots to adding personalized name tags to every seat at a dinner party, we’re loving it. The details make the party, and the more individualized the better.
But don’t confuse a detailed, personalized party (or wedding) with an over-the-top one. When we spoke to entertaining experts this spring, it seemed like every wedding needed an aerialist to perform during the reception or waiters shucking fresh oysters. Events can be understated and straightforward while still being amazing. Don’t let a “wow” moment take away from the meaning of your wedding.
Photo booths are not a new entertaining trend, but literally no party was complete in 2017 without one. And we see why! They’re fun, simple mementos of a great night, an alternative activity to drinking or dancing, and they’re so easy to DIY.
Gift bags with succulents, wine glasses, bottle openers, matchbooks, and customized T-shirts need to go away. Yes, it’s nice to have a token from your wedding or birthday parties, but how many Mason jar mugs does one person really need?
“The more the merrier” sort of faded into the background in 2017, but we’re OK with that. Having fewer people but higher-quality food and entertainment is not only more enjoyable for those in attendance, but it also leads to more intimate gatherings where hosts can actually talk to their guests.
Frosé dominated summer 2017, but that wasn’t the only frosty tipple on the patio at brunch. Mixologists took those childhood summertime delights and infused them with vodka, tequila, and rum. And every treat is better with booze, right?
Entertaining got a little more formal in 2017. Sit-down dinners with waitstaff and elegant affairs were in vogue. We love it when things are nice and high-quality, but we don’t need a party to be stuffy, which formal dinner parties often can be. Instead, for the new year, consider a more relaxed event with these cool theme ideas.