It's only February, and yet we're noticing our social calendars for 2020 starting to fill up before our eyes. Between all the spring graduation parties, summer family get-togethers, and fall weddings coming in the year ahead, it's going to be a year full of entertaining. But just because there are a lot of parties and events to plan for, doesn't mean they have to become tired or rote. Event planner and HomeGoods style expert Marcy Blum has rounded up her favorite trends to be on the lookout for in 2020 entertaining, and they're just what we needed to hear to start thinking creatively about the next 11 months.
Scroll down to see her predictions and top tips ... then get to planning.
1. Green Thumb-Style Favors
It's no secret that plants have been a major trend both in home decor and in entertaining over the past few years. However, according to Blum, 2020 will see more plants acting as party favors, rather than just as atmospheric decorations. "I love the idea of giving a small potted plant as a favor at an event, or as the escort card at a wedding," she tells us. Real or fake, the effect of a little greenery with a guest's name on it is a chic and thoughtful element we can't wait to see more of in the coming year.
2. Bright Lights, Big Party
"Large-scale decorative lighting is a growing trend at events, like chandeliers or basket pendants above a sweetheart table for the bride and groom," Blum says. Not planning a wedding anytime soon? You can still incorporate this trend into your own festive fêtes with statement lamps that highlight a specific area, like the buffet at your next brunch.
Get the look: TJMaxx Trident Crystal Light, $50
3. Add an Activity to the Agenda
Sometimes a low-key at-home hang is just what the doctor ordered ... and other times, it's best to go all out with a venue that gets guests energized and involved from the minute they walk in the door. "Consider booking your next event at a venue with a built-in activity, like a piano bar or a karaoke lounge," suggests Blum. "This trend is all about the guest experience. Add-on activities like a cooking class, wine tasting, tarot card reading, or even karaoke can make for a more intimate vibe and also add to the theme."
Get the look: The Wild Unknown Tarot Deck and Guidebook, $40
4. Come Together in the Kitchen
Some of the best parties happen at home — and ALL of the best parties happen around food, so it's no surprise that hosting in the kitchen is taking the place of other, most historically popular at-home party styles. "The kitchen is the center of most gatherings, and serving food 'family style' is increasing in popularity," Blum says. Set up a serve-yourself food station for stress-free entertaining that leaves you more able to circulate, chat with guests, and enjoy a cocktail or two.
Get the look: Mosser Glassware Footed Cake Plate, $75
5. Get out of Town
"Destination celebrations are not just for weddings," says Blum. If you're searching for a way to celebrate a milestone age or just an exciting life event, going away with a few close BFFs can be a great alternative to traditional "hosting," and one that takes a lot of the pressure off the individual, too. "I'm seeing a trend amongst birthday parties, anniversaries, vow renewals, and more. People are opting for destinations because you get to spend more than just a few hours celebrating with your guests, and [you can] host a more personal experience." Not quite in the budget? Turning your home into an exotic oasis is the next best thing. Opt for destination-themed decor to give your guests an out-of-town feel.
Get the look: TJMaxx Handcrafted In India Patchwork Pouf, $60
Emily Bihl is a freelance writer and sometimes-songwriter who can invariably be found rearranging furniture in a domicile somewhere along the Mississippi River. She lives with her black labrador Selkie and a small army of homemade ceramics, and has not willingly closed a browser tab since 2011.