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A Rosetree Guide to Hosting Your First Holiday Gathering

Caitlin Crees

Are you recently married, engaged, moved in together or just a couple looking to host your first big holiday gathering? There are so many details to consider, from the perfect festive table setting to delicious dishes and custom cocktails. With limitless possibilities and so many different available sources for inspiration (hello, holiday pinterest board) it can be difficult to narrow down a vision for your big shindig. With this little guide it's Rosetree to the rescue! If the options have you overwhelmed, take a look at these killer tips from seasoned event experts Rosetree Weddings and Events, along with some other talented folks, to help you finish up your planning with time to spare. Check below for recipes and a few notes on the inspiration behind the shoot.


White Russian ​Recipe

A White Russian is a cocktail made with vodka, coffee liqueur, and cream served with ice in an Old Fashioned glass. Often milk will be used as an alternative to cream.

Main alcohol: Vodka, Coffee liqueur

Ingredients: 2/3 oz (2 parts) Coffee liqueur, 1 2/3 oz (5 parts) Vodka, 1 oz (3 parts) Fresh cream

Preparation: Pour coffee liqueur and vodka into an Old Fashioned glass filled with ice. Float fresh cream on top and stir slowly.

Served: On the rocks; poured over ice

Drinkware: Old Fashioned glass


Spinach Artichoke Dip (from

2 cups parmesan cheese

1 (10 ounce) box frozen chopped spinach, thawed

1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

2⁄3 cup sour cream

1 cup cream cheese

1⁄3 cup mayonnaise

2 teaspoons garlic, minced

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Mix together Parmesan cheese, spinach, and artichoke hearts. Combine remaining ingredients and mix with spinach mixture.

Bake for 20-30 minutes.

Serve with crackers or toasted bread.


Honey Mustard Glazed Ham with Fried Apples (from

1 (10-pound) smoked, bone-in ham

1 cup honey

1/4 cup whole-grain mustard

1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick)


Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the lower third. Remove any plastic packaging or netting from the ham. Trim away any excess fat, leaving about a 1/4-inch layer all over. Set the ham aside to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Line a baking sheet with several sheets of aluminum foil (it will make cleanup a lot easier). Place the ham, cut side down, on the baking sheet and cover it with a piece of parchment paper. Tightly cover the ham and parchment paper with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the remaining ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter melts and the brown sugar has completely dissolved, about 3 minutes. Set aside and let cool to lukewarm (the glaze should be the consistency of room-temperature honey).

When the ham is ready, remove it from the oven and increase the oven temperature to 425°F. Discard the foil and parchment paper and, using a sharp knife, score a 1-inch-wide diamond pattern (don’t cut more than 1/4 inch deep) over the entire ham.

Brush the ham with a quarter of the glaze (about a generous 1/3 cup), return it to the oven, and bake uncovered for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, brush with another quarter of the glaze, and repeat every 15 minutes until all of the glaze has been used and a dark golden-brown crust has formed, about 55 to 60 minutes total. Let the ham rest 20 to 30 minutes before slicing.

Roasted Rosemary and Parmesan Potatoes (from


1 1/2 pounds small red or white-skinned potatoes (or a mixture)

1/8 cup good olive oil

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoons minced garlic (3 cloves)

2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary leaves

Notes from Janea Mitcheltree of Rosetree Weddings & Events:

For floral, we did a color block look with all of one color floral in each vase (using Alstroemeria and doubled tulips in vibrant red and peonies and spray roses in hot pink accented with fresh green boxwood in etched gold vases). This is easy to do at home and still gives a luxurious look for a tablescape, and as an added bonus it can cut costs.

Notes from Molly Yee of Studio Emme:

We stayed away from the traditional style of garlands or low centric centerpieces and instead created a cluster of medium and small arrangements in blocks of color that are easier to do on your own and in a pinch - the cluster style also allows flexibility in styling your table while working around other elements such as candle light, place settings and the meal you will be serving (if served family style).

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