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The Art of Hosting

Hosting is an art form. It is a curated mix of meticulously chosen tastes, scents, decor and guests. We offer our treasured ideas and approaches on making an event distinct and gracious. Keep your mood inspirited and your guests will follow suit.

FLEURS

Employ vases of different heights and shapes with monochromatic blooms in each. The most striking siting of this can be found at the Ritz Paris where designer Djordje Varda steals your breath upon entering the foyer. If fresh flowers are out of season, use a grouping of succulents to call back to the warm desert.

LIGHT

The exact shade and level of light changes every shadow and mood. At Gemma restaurant in Manhattan they have endless silver candlesticks with white wax that has been dripping over and over to create a sculptural effect, adding to the cadence of the light.

ELIXIRS

A magnificent punch has hints of antiquity and recipes can be complex and adventurous. It also allows you to prepare specified quantities beforehand and have a refill at the ready. Guests can serve themselves and have a Great Expectations momentwhen dipping into your potion.

Another beautiful option is serving a signature cocktail. We asked our friend Nandini Khaund, Spirit Guide, at the stunningly renovated Chicago Athletic Association rooftop bar, Cindy's, to share one of her sublime recipes.

Western Cape—
fields of france rooibos-infused absolut elyx, créme de pêche, rare tea cellar’s demerara-ginger syrup, lemon soda


ICE

Freeze edible flowers in an ice ring for your punch bowl or in individual cubes for glasses. Frozen fruit can be a perfect ice substitute, lending a hint of color and taste.

LABELS

Creating delicate notes indicating the ingredients in canapés, cheeses or confections is a gracious way to inform guests of what they are partaking in and to avoid questions. A crudité or fruit plate is always a good staple as anyone can participate without feeling left out by dietary limitations.

SEATING

A traditional way of seating formal dinners in Mexico City is to employ open seating. At a beautiful jewel-themed dinner, guests were assigned to the Ruby or Emerald table and then allowed to sit as they wished. This eases seating pressure and makes missing guests unnoticed. For casual home affairs, group furniture in sets of three or four.

DECOR

Fresh vegetables, fruits and blooms can be an exquisite centerpiece. Choose interesting colors and shapes and cut open a few for variation. For an added whisper of scent you can layer in fresh herbs. Potted plants can serve in the place of a traditional centerpiece, a hibiscus or small lemon tree will surprise.

SECRET TRICKS

  1. To cool warm wine quickly, put it in a bucket of ice water and add salt.
  2. Add club soda to floral arrangements to add bubbles to the water and stems.
  3. Mixing and matching dishes makes it easy to account for extra guests without missing an aesthetic beat. The same works for linens so you can use what you have on hand.
  4. Choose food for visual appeal as much as taste, a balance is ideal.
  5. Bubbles solve all. Always have a secret stash of champagne, it can soothe and amend any party woe. You will be the host with the golden charm.

“She comes here sometimes, she’s the Girl with the Golden Eyes.” - Honoré Balzac

Words by Brit Parks

 

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