The Art of Entertaining: How to Plan the Perfect Holiday Party

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Source: The Study

Tree lightings, caroling, gift giving. This time of year brings a lot of time-honored traditions with it, but none so treasured as the holiday get-together.

Still, as any seasoned party host will attest, planning the perfect holiday celebration — with decor that looks like it could have been ripped from an issue of Architectural Digest, and a menu that rivals something concocted by Thomas Keller — isn’t a walk in the park, and living up to expectations set by the ghosts of parties past can be daunting.

Looking for some tips and tricks on how to elevate the annual at-home holiday party, we asked some of our friends (each an expert entertainer) for advice on everything from decor to flowers to menus to music. Consider this your guide to making your holiday party the coveted invite of the season.

Set the Scene

Bronson Van Wyck has planned bashes for the likes of Chanel and the White House, and, no surprise here, an invite to one of his personal holiday soirees is about as coveted as it comes. His key piece of advice for setting the right tone in terms of holiday party decor? “There are seven colors in the rainbow, so don’t feel limited to red, green, or white when it comes to Christmas lights,” he says. “I love to use deep blues, ambers, and golds to really give your tree a unique glow.”

Texture is also a key component. “If you’re hosting a holiday party at your home, use natural textures to dress up the living area,” Van Wyck advises. “Organic elements like wreaths and garlands are also a good way to add a festive and fragrant touch. Juniper smells divine!”

Don’t be afraid to add a personal touch, too. “Whether it’s a tartan from your clan or a family collection of bells that come out each season, incorporate your memories into your decorations,” he says.

Last, but not least, don’t forget to make room for fun. “Always make room for the impromptu late-night dance party,” he says. “Your favorite chairs might take up too much space, so try to move out any cumbersome furniture beforehand.

New York City-based interiors stylist Carlos Mota is trusted by Architectural Digest to make spaces look just right. And, according to Mota, flowers are essential. “I love using amaryllis, peonies, carnations in deep colors like red, purple or even white,” he says. “I [also] love using moss and different types of foliage, like lemon and magnolia leaves, mixed with different types of pines.”

Once you’ve selected your flowers, Mota says, “Use black glass containers to add a touch of glamour and drama. I also like silver metal containers, and copper is a great addition, too.”

As for how this interior design guru dresses up his tree, the key he says is to think organic. “Real and dry flowers and fruits,” are a mainstay, Mota says. “I also use vintage ribbons in one or two colors like lavender and green.”

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