Every year around this time, our calendars seem to explode. The cocktail party invitations begin to roll in by the handful, speckled with family dinners and offices parties — all tightly scheduled back to back, right next to busy work schedules (due to the rush to tie things up before the New Year) and a holiday shopping list that demands much more than a couple of hours spent online shopping. And so, as is only to be expected in the face of such an agenda, when it comes time for us to plan our own holiday soirée, it’s tempting to just make it a themeless potluck or your run-of-the-mill “ugly sweater party,” with invites sent (or more, invite posted) via Facebook.

Not if Little Miss Party Planner, a.k.a. Seri Kertzner and business parter, Michelle Cassera Bachman, have anything to do with it. New York City’s reigning queens of transforming small events — wedding parties, birthdays, festive dinners — into big sensations, Kertzner and Bachman are quick becoming the go-to gals for well-heeled New Yorkers in the market for a unique event, as well as those that just want to brush up on their host/hostess skills — take note, they offer classes!

Ever the fashionable hosts, Kertzner’s and Bachman’s respective former careers in fashion made for an easy transition into creating  beautiful one-of-a-kind events, especially considering their mutual knack for all things creative, whether cooking in the kitchen or sat at the arts and crafts table.


And so, to help relieve some of your holiday headaches, we’ve asked the ladies of Little Miss Party Planner to share tips on putting together a hot holiday ticket that won’t break the bank, or stretch your patience with DIY time for that matter. The theme? Mad for Plaid!

Get out the glue gun and pop the champagne, it’s time to throw a fashionable festive fête! But first, Seri Kertzner shares the origin story of Little Miss Party Planner and the secret to the perfect holiday party.



What inspired you to get into event planning? Little Miss Party Planner’s themes are always so beautifully executed, did it have to do with a love of design at all? You’ve got an evident knack for it!

We both worked in the fashion industry for 10+ years.  We happened to be on the production end of the business, but worked very closely with our designers and loved that world.  Living in New York City for so many years, we spent countless nights throwing parties in our Manhattan apartments and going all out with the decor, food and desserts. Our friends never wanted to leave. After getting married in 2007, I realized, “Wow!  I loved planning my wedding…and I love planning parties, so maybe I should do something with this!”

And that was the beginning of Little Miss Party Planner?

My mom thought of the name Little Miss Party Planner and the company was born. But it wasn’t until my first son came along two years later that I actually made the move to leave the fashion world and give party planning a try. At the time Michelle was ready to leave the corporate world and follow her dream and love of entertaining with me, so we teamed up to bring Little Miss Party Planner to life.  We live for the little details and are always striving to find fresh and creative ways to make our parties unique and special.



On that note, what’s the key element to hosting the perfect holiday get together?

Preparation! The more you can get done ahead of time, the better.  Get organized.  We suggest a “day of” timeline.  This will help you stay on track and use your time most efficiently throughout the day. The key is to prep as much as you can in advance so that you can actually enjoy your own party once guests start to arrive. Oh, and of course good food, a festive playlist and plenty of booze.

Good tips! Why should readers try to move away from the “ugly sweater” tradition and try a new theme for this year’s holiday party?

We love a good ugly sweater party…in fact, I used to host one every year back in my early 20s.  Ah, the good ol’ days…always a good time.  But, it is a theme that has been done a million times before…why not mix it up a bit?  This year, we are planning a “Mad for Plaid” holiday party for a client.  Guests are asked to wear their best holiday tartans.  We love how broad this theme is.  It allows the guests to really get creative with their attire, as opposed to simply buying an ugly sweater from Kmart. (Or borrowing one from Grandma!)




When planning smaller events like a holiday party, are evites the way to go, or would you still recommend sending a hard invite via snail mail?

We absolutely love hard invitations and work with several incredibly talented designers, as well as our very own assistant Ali, who does all of our customized designs in house. There’s something so wonderful about receiving an invitation in the mail — never gets old.  However, today people are so busy and dependent on technology that it’s nice to be able to sit at your desk and just click a button to add a party to your calendar electronically, as well as RSVP.  It’s also the easiest way to track your guest list which is key to planning a party.  We absolutely love the new line of invites that Gwyneth Paltrow brand GOOP just designed for Paperless Post.




Have to check that out, I’m a big fan of Paperless Post. What’s been the most memorable holiday party you’ve attended?

The most memorable holiday party I ever attended was at a friends apartment several years back.  The hosts asked each guest to bring a Christmas ornament for their tree.  This was one of the best ideas I had ever heard!  Not only was it fun to see what each person brought, and how the ornament reflected their personality and style, but now she and her husband have a wonderful collection of ornaments that will forever remind them of a fabulous evening with friends.

 Published Saturday November 30, 2013