If you’re still planning your next holiday dinner, or any event at all there is no one better at entertaining than party planing legend Bronson van Wyck. This season he joined socialite and founder of luxury homeware brand, Hill House Home, Nell Diamond; and iconic champagne house Moët & Chandon sharing with us tips on holiday entertaining.
See below Bronson and Nell’s tips and his signature cocktail sure to be a hit.
Curate your seating chart with purpose. When hosting dinner, your first focus should be seating. Although it’s easiest to just have guests pick their own place at the table, I try to seat people next to those they don’t know to forge new friendships. The biggest thing to remember is place talkers next to listeners. This encourages conversation to flow. I’m always experimenting with different custom place settings. Instead of traditional place cards, I’ve recently used both monogrammed napkins and personalized Moët Minis. Bonus: both can double as a party favor and be given to guests at the end of the night.
Don’t overthink your décor. The secret to a great table is that perfection is boring. Don’t be afraid to use multiple brands and patterns and always mix the old with the new. There’s no better time than the holidays to break out some heirlooms. This ensures a one-of-a-kind look that’s especially meaningful to you. In terms of greenery, I like to have magnolia or eucalyptus garlands on the table and a mixture of blooms in a singular color. You can never go wrong with white or red flowers. If guests are almost at your door but something still doesn’t look quite right, dim the lights and pull out some candles. Everything and everyone looks amazing by firelight.
Toast to the season with champagne! Tis the season to celebrate so it’s the perfect time of year to pop some champagne. It’s a drink that never fails to feel festive. If you don’t want to play bartender all evening, I recommend creating a corner bar cart loaded down with bowls of seasonal garnish- thyme, cinnamon sticks, pomegranate, rosemary, cranberries- and bottles of bubbly. Guests will have fun creating their own signature drinks all night long.
Practical hostess gifts go a long way. I’ve found that something useful is always appreciated. One of my favorite current items is a high-quality umbrella from a store called Plain Goods. Drinkable gifts that can be enjoyed throughout the holiday season are also a safe bet whether you choose to gift a limited edition holiday bottle of Moët or your favorite drink recipe packaged at home in a bottle with a handmade label. My family is famous for their Bloody Mary mix so that’s been my go to year after year.
Be present. One of the most important but most forgotten tips is to make sure you aren’t so tied up with your hosting duties that you forget to make time for your guests. It’s essential to have face time with everyone attending your party since they’ve made the effort to come spend their evening with you! If you’re worried about tearing yourself away from party prep, this can still come in the form of greeting guests at the door, passing out canapés or making the rounds to refill drinks. While it’s your job as host to ensure guests enjoy themselves, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t, too!
This year, I teamed up with Moët & Chandon to design a signature cocktail that pairs perfectly with the chilly holiday weather. Cloves are one of my favorite holiday spices since their scent always reminds me holidays past.
Bronson van Wyck’s Moët ‘Champagne O’Clock’
3.5 oz Moët & Chandon Impérial Brut
1 oz Hennessy Cognac
Dash of bitters
Garnish with an orange twist and a spritz of clove atomizer
Nell’s Cocktail Moët J’Adore Le Pop
4.5 oz Moët & Chandon Impérial Brut
2 – 3 drops of pomegranate juice
Garnish with fresh raspberries and a strawberry Pop Rocks candy rim