Prince William & Kate Party with Pippa for New Year's
01/01/2012 AT 12:00 PM EST
Despite buzz that Prince William and Catherine would ring in the New Year at his father's sprawling Aberdeen, Scotland, estate, when it came time to celebrate, the couple chose a more low-key locale: a tent pitched in the back garden of the Middleton family home in Berkshire, England.
According to the U.K.'s Mail on Sunday, Pippa, who's in the party-planning business, played host.
And the stylish sister has expensive taste: The tent, a teepee-style kata made of animal hides, cost nearly $5,000 (3,000 British pounds).
Described by an onlooker as a "canvas palace," the tent enclosed a dance floor and seating for more than 100 partygoers.
Notably missing: Prince Harry, who rang in the New Year in Switzerland, where he was spotted at the ski resort Verbier.
"[Catherine] looked full of the joys of the season," a local said of the royal, 29, who laughed and joked with her husband, also 29.
The celebration in her hometown comes nearly a week after the duchess's first Christmas as a royal in Sandringham, Norfolk.