Guide to Holiday Party Planning

Putting together a holiday party takes strategy, time and a touch of creativity. More than just thinking about your guests, a holiday host has to consider size, style, budget and resources.

Lucky for us, San Diego is overflowing with options when considering food and venue, as well as a handful of imaginative minds who can help take care of those extra details. With a wide variety of options for holiday festivities to commence, we have the resources to turn anyone into the hostess with the mostess.


For your catering options, private companies and popular restaurants alike are coming up with ways to help out with the holiday fanfare. Campine Catering fuses the culinary brilliance of Chefs Antonio Friscia of Gaijin Noodle + Sake House and Brian Malarkey of Searsucker, Gingham, Burlap and more, plus the cocktail expertise of Lucien Connor, Ian Ward and Jen Queen. Their swanky and engaging style of dining allows guests to indulge in stylish culinary trends while using sustainable ingredients, serving hand-crafted cocktails, and staying dedicated to their client’s requests. For more information, visit  

The French Gourmet catering company and restaurant has been a part of San Diego’s dining scene since 1979. As one of the leading professionals in wedding receptions, corporate catering and more, this versatile caterer is also an expert in serving holiday soirees. Working with each customer closely to create a menu, owner Michel Malecot creates a signature meal to complement your event and budget. Using special holiday catering menus, as well as French holiday specialties, The French Gourmet is a holiday party breath of fresh air. For more information, visit

Waters Fine Catering has been serving San Diego for more than 21 years, building a solid reputation in producing distinctive events and high quality foods. The creative designs match the tastes, and call heavily upon local, sustainable options. From gourmet soups, salads and sandwiches to assorted hot entrees, affordable and well-made options are made possible by Mary Kay Waters and her team. Meal choices include hors d’oeurves, appetizers, salads and desserts. For more information, visit

Wild Thyme Catering prides itself on their strong seasonal menu selections and devoted service. The company offers intimate luncheons, themed parties, twilight passed hors d’oevres, and themes spanning Mediterranean Tapas, Asian Buffets, Holiday Buffets, and Christmas Cocktails. Whether your gathering is intimate, inspired, formal, or festive, they'll help you set the mood for a memorable occasion.  Services can also include staging, lighting, flowers, transportation, ice art, photographers and interactive entertainment. For more information, visit

For a fresh and outside-of-the-box way to cater your holiday party, look to a meal on wheels with Miho Gastrotruck. Their catering menu reflects the overall food philosophy of the Gastrotruck, featuring hand-crafted dishes made from scratch with high-quality, locally-sourced ingredients. From smaller appetizers to entrees, sides and vegetarian options, the brains behind the truck can do it all. Guests can order from the actual Gastrotruck or enjoy the selections from a buffet table. The only requirement is approximately 10 x 25 feet of space to park the vehicle. For more information, please visit


Choosing the right venue to hold in all of your holiday fun takes careful selection out of the vast pool of San Diego restaurants and nightlife. Size and vibe are two major deciding factors, especially when considering the tone of the party. For a more casual and entertaining venue, take the party to the music-filled Anthology or to the high-energy Shout! House. Other spirited spots perfect for large groups and casual vibes include East Village Tavern & BowlHouse of Blues and Tilted Kilt East Village.

If you’re looking for a classy space to set the mood of the party, Burlap in Del Mar’s outdoor patio can host medium party-sizes. Other upscale options include George’s California ModernBICE, and JRDN at Tower23 Hotel.

Large parties looking to impress will fit elegantly in Balboa Park, setting up in one of the many museums or inside of The Prado. Or, for a completely different take on the party venue concept, bring your guests aboard a Flagship Cruise. Their wide selection of holiday cruises feature such luxuries as champagne, buffets, live entertainment, and unbeatable sights of San Diego.  

On the outskirts of San Diego, Ponte Winery in Temecula Wine Country is a picturesque place to host a private holiday gathering. Their dedicated in-house event planners will work through each detail, including designing the menu and choosing the décor. With their private planning packages come a custom catered menu, fine linens, and the beautiful wine country setting. For more information, visit


For a more personal touch than another e-vite, local San Diego companies can help in designing creative cards for guests. Delphine Press of San Diego incorporates beautiful designs at affordable prices in hand made invitations by Erika Firm. Inspired by Mother Nature, Delphine’s designs range from formal and traditional to classic, vintage and retro. Customers can choose their own colors, as well as customize their final selections online. For more information, visit Simply Posh Design of San Diego can also help with your invitation needs. Jennifer Dailard brings her eye for advertising and design to the full-service paper production company offering custom invitations and personalized stationary. For more information, visit

Photo Fun

To make a lasting impression at your event, Recorded Memories offers full or stand-alone photo and video booths as a unique and fun way to make sure guests remember the evening. Recorded Memories will customize, design, and deliver a photo booth so guests will be able to take unlimited, fun photos. Each package includes delivery, set up, breakdown, and an on-site attendant. Photos are of professional quality and each photo booth is customizable and easy to use. Photos are stored in an online secure gallery where guests can download them for free or purchase a T-shirt, stickers, postcards, or other keepsake that will keep them remembering what a great host you were.  For more information, visit

Discover more planning ideas in Top Ten Holiday Party Venues.



Be relevant, respectful, honest, discreet and responsible. Commenting Rules