Dominic Phillips' Top Ten Tips for Budget-Friendly, Green Holiday Parties:
- Florals - Use what's seasonal and readily available from your garden, local farmers' market or park. Stay away from freshly cut flowers, which last only a few days and, instead, use succulents or orchids that you can take in and out of pots and reuse.
Fall leaves and bark are beautiful additions that add texture and warmth. Try using potted plants and natural design details such as grasses and reeds, bark, moss, and stones.
Make the vase and arrangement as interesting as the items they hold by using old-fashioned bottles or jars. Search amongst rows of both old and new reusable items at creative re-use centers such as SCRAP in San Francisco.
- Centerpieces - Instead of placing flowers at the table's center, try using consumable items such as a basket of delicious breads, a bowl of seasonal fruit and nuts, a tray of fresh oysters or flatbreads on raised pizza stands, or non-perishable objects of beauty such as antique bottles, ornaments or toys.
- Lighting - Lower the lights, and build up the sparkle with votive candles, especially in positions where the light can bounce off glass. Some gentle light on doorways, bars and food is always a lovely touch. Electrical votives can be used when open flame needs to be avoided.
- Music - If you're hiring live musicians, feature unamplified instruments such as a cello, fiddle or guitar, so that no audio-visual equipment is required. Also, try warming the room with Latin music or modern jazz to elicit a stylish and sophisticated ambiance.
- Linens - Use inexpensive natural linen, then place butcher or brown packing paper over the top as they do in chic restaurants. Have rubber stamps custom-made to decorate the paper with your company's branding symbol for corporate parties or a design you love for private events.
- Gifts - Think less commercial and more creative and original when giving gifts. Bake and decorate cookies, pot a bulb for holiday blooms, or print and frame a "memories" photograph. These gifts often have much more meaning than purchased products.
- Décor - Decorate for your party with the rest of the holiday season in mind so that your decorations can be enjoyed all season long instead of for just one evening.
- Food - Think simple and hearty. Ensure the food you serve is local, organic and sustainable. With plenty of fun farmers' markets to explore, and most good grocers now able to help guide you through the selection of the freshest produce and meats, buying local and organic is easier than ever.
- Transportation - Avoid hard-to-find or far-off locations that cause an extra effort for your guests to reach. Your guests and vendors will be grateful if you choose an accessible venue, and it will reduce the amount of energy used in getting to the event. If you must host an event in a remote location, consider an alternatively fueled shuttle service to reduce the use of individual cars.
- Avoid Wastefulness - Don't throw away leftovers. Instead provide to those less fortunate via local organizations such as Food Runners in San Francisco, who will come and collect leftover materials and deliver to those in need.
Three budget-conscious and festive options:
Holiday Cocktails: a mix-and-mingle cocktail party at SOMA's LIMN Art Gallery or Metreon's City View available Dec. 1 to 5 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. For parties of 200 to 350 is $148 per person Tuesday and Wednesday and $152 per person from Thursday to Saturday.
Seated Holiday Dinner: a cocktail hour followed by a sit-down dinner at Fort Mason Center available Dec. 8 to 12 from 6 to 9 p.m. Price per person for parties of 200 to 350 is $178 on Tuesday and Wednesday and $182 from Thursday to Saturday.
Custom Event Option: tailored to the client's dates and requirements, held on-campus, at an executive's home or in other specified locations.
This event may be adapted to a client's theme or for multiple departments within the same company. Each package is designed to support local businesses, cultural venues, food support charities and the environment. Menus focus on local, artisan and organic selections and integrate green and sustainable best practices including Zero Waste. DPEM and PLDFC designed each packages to support the client's needs and environmental goals while benefiting their community.
Dominic Phillips Events Marketing is a San Francisco event marketing, design and production company founded in 2004 by Dominic Phillips, who sees each new project as an adventure.
DPEM combines consistent innovation with a proven, methodical approach to conceiving and executing events, placing the highest value on creative leadership, new technologies, alternative marketing programs and effective cost control measures.
As global concern about our communal and natural environments increases, DPEM has become a pioneer in sustainable events, implementing Zero Waste policies, carbon offsets, and other sustainable best practices into its creative process. The company also has a unique ability to build personal relationships and become an integral player on its client's team, regardless of industry.
As such, DPEM's client list includes an impressive array of companies such as Google, Slow Food Nation, Nokia, Ghirardelli Square, Sun Microsystems, Meals on Wheels, San Francisco magazine, Scion and many more.
For more information, visit www.dominicphillips.com