INTERIORS

GET THE PARTY STARTED; HOW TO BE THE PERFECT HOST

How to set the scene.

December 18, 2019

SET THE SCENE

Anything goes at this time of year, so create an eclectic feel with a blend of styles and references. Experiment by mixing classical motifs with ceramics, vintage style glassware and the odd playful pieces.

GOLD THINGS

Go festive without the kitsch, simplify the bling, by sticking with burnished gold and coppers rather than full-on metallic. Pure white highlights keep your decorations crisp and modern. Into its component parts and it’s hard not to come to the conclusion

WHAT’S THE GOLDEN RULE FOR A GREAT PARTY?

Make sure you aren’t so tied up with your hosting duties you forget to spend time with your guests. It’s essential to have time with everyone at your party since they’ve made the effort to spend the evening with you. If you’re worried about tearing yourself away from the party prep, this can still come in the form of greeting guests at the door, passing around canapés, or refilling drinks. While it’s your job as a host to ensure guests enjoy themselves, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t too.

The other thing you absolutely cannot do is skimp on alcohol or food.

But you shouldn’t feel you have to buy bottles and bottles of expensive wine. The later it gets, the cheaper the grog you’re serving can be. As the night wears on, people really don’t care what they’re drinking as long as their glass is full.

WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO PLAN?

If you’re entertaining at home, you’ve already overcome a big hosting hurdle since selecting a venue is step one. Your guest list should come next as that will drive everything else. You can’t host a seated dinner if there’s no room at the table. From there, think of your theme: it will inspire the menu, which will lead to drinks and so on and so on. The secret is that no matter how excellent the end result, there will always be an epic fail or two (or three or four) along the way. There’s often an 11th hour crisis but our motto is that it’s never too late to make it perfect.

Image via Tatler

SEATING PLANS: YES OR NO?

Seating can play a key make or break role in the success of your night. For a meal, we prefer a seating plan as spreading the most interesting guests around the room creates multiple anchors for the social energy that is the nectar of a great night.

With the stroke on a place card, you can frame an entire evening.

Most people are either great talkers or listeners (only the rarest individual is both, and they get invited everywhere), so by interspersing the socially facile with the less so, the shyer guests often drop their reserve.

HOW CAN YOU MAKE A BIG IMPACT ON A BUDGET?

Hospitality means making people feel good, and everyone feels better when they look their best. Lighting is everything, the easiest, least expensive thing you can do is turn down the lights and use candles. Instant drama. Instant romance. You can never have too many, so atleast quadruple the number you think you’ll need. For a warm flattering glow, aim for a mix of tapers and votives scattered the length of all your tables.

People are sometimes afraid to misbehave under bright lights but they’re turned down low you never know what the night might do.

We love electronic invitations because they are efficient and affordable, and by affordable we don’t mean low quality. A great invitation does much more than announce the event: it’s the stage for your vision, and it’s your opportunity to put that vision into your guest’s minds early on.

DON’T BE AFRAID TO USE PLENTY OF LAYERS

The tablesetting should be about discovery for your guests, so using multiple design elements in your setting is unexpected and adventurous. Pairing tall candlesticks with low florals adds depth while mixing textures like glass vases and brass flatware adds complexity and warmth to the table.

ANY IDEAS FOR UNUSUAL PARTY DECORATIONS? 

We always think there is nothing more interesting than what you already own. Interweaving treasured objects and heirlooms into tablescapes is the recipe for a look that’s meaningful to you.

WHAT’S THE EASIEST WAY TO CREATE A PARTY ATMSOPHERE?

Music, hands down. It sets the tone and puts guests in your desired mindset from the get-go.

related stories

Living By Design

MP

Don’t miss the style set’s fave newsletter

Get Melissa's weekly rundown of where top interior designers source their things and find inspiration - that will instantly transform your pad.

Close and please don't show again