Tara Guérard is known as one of the country’s top event maestros
LIGHT IT UP: A Christmas tree with lights and presents more than suffices for décor this time of year, says Tara. She added simple metallic balls and her children’s homemade ornaments to the mix. TIP: Tara’s go-to for “thick, gorgeous foil wrapping paper” is T.J. Maxx.
WELCOME HOME: Tara and her English springer spaniel, Georgia, greet guests as they arrive to their Tradd Street home.
QUINTESSENTIAL SIP: “There’s nothing better in the world than homemade eggnog,” Tara says. “It’s not Christmas without it—dessert and bourbon in a cup!”
SHOP AT HOME: Georgia sports a posh collar made from choice Christmas scraps: ribbon from wrapping presents, a few “borrowed” ornaments, and sprigs from the tree.
Smart Cart: Tara found her vintage 1950s glass-and-brass bar cart at an antiques shop here in town. (Her favorite local spots are Antiques of South Windermere and Antiques Market in Mount Pleasant.) For glassware, she loves to mix vintage stemware—even if it’s a partial set—with newer pieces, like the Marta collection from CB2 ($1.50-$2.50). “I don’t usually put out my William Yeoward, other than at smaller dinner parties, because if a guest or I broke a $150 glass, I’d get depressed!” laughs Tara. “But a $1.50 one? No problem.”
STYLE & SUBSTANCE: While Tara leaves plating garnishes to her cheesemongers (she loves the sprigs of rosemary and colorful pickled vegetables and dried fruits Goat.Sheep.Cow. adds), she has a few handy accents herself. Pomegranates, she says, are long-lasting holiday décor that you can pick up inexpensively at the grocery store. Another grocery find? Saga blue cheese from Harris Teeter. “It’s inexpensive, delicious, and one of my favorites,” she notes. As for toasting bread, she only crisps day-old fare. “When it’s fresh, enjoy it fresh,” she suggests.
DRESS FOR SUCCESS: If your gathering is casual festive, pass that on to guests to avoid what-to-wear anxiety.
HANG WITH CARE: Simply weaving garlands amid mantel decorations works for Tara, as does lighting candles. “Just don’t burn scented candles around food,” she says.
ATTENTION TO DETAIL: The right serving pieces make desserts as much a feast for the eyes as they are otherwise. Here, a home-style caramel cake from Halls Chophouse is elevated when showcased on a tall cake stand
Serving chocolate pots de crème in vintage china cups makes them extra special.