Light Up Your Night

Decorating cocktail partyThe warmest, most welcoming way we know to decorate for a cocktail party is with candles, and—good news for the overwhelmed host—it's also the easiest: no staple gun to struggle with, no flower arrangements to mangle.

But the key to creating the kind of twinkly goodness that truly transforms a room is quantity: You must have scads of the lovely, flickery little flames—10, 15, 20 or more—not just a few lonely little beacons on the breakfront.

Decorating cocktail partyLuckily, our favorite votive holders, called oyster cups, are both elegant and affordable. We've found them for around a buck apiece at chain home stores such as Pier 1 or Linens 'n Things, Decorating cocktail partyor, if you've got some lead time, go to the cheapest mail-order source we've found, (type "oyster cup" into the search bar), which sells them for 78 cents each. Fill the oyster cups with tealights so that the tip of each flame just peeks out over the rim.

One candle caution: Though each little light looks innocent enough, when they gang up they can hijack the room's temperature and raise it by several degrees. Adjust your A/C accordingly!

Lauren and Anne
The Purcell Sisters

The Purcell Sisters