When it comes to hosting, there are five crucial pillars that must be on point to make sure your affair is sufficiently elevated: food, fashion, culture, design, and beauty. Get all five just right and you’re sure to host the most elegant, stylish, and sparkling event of the season.
To all but guarantee your party is perfect, we spoke with five different women, each an expert in one of these five vocations and the embodiment of grace and hospitality, to get their tips and recommendations for flawless holiday hosting.
For award-winning sommelier Belinda Chang, a dinner party is the ultimate gesture of love towards family and friends. As a child, Belinda got a taste for hosting by way of her parents’ weekly dinner parties. “It is no surprise that in college, I hosted all of my friends every Monday at my off-campus apartment in Houston,” she says. In the decades since, she’s learned much about hosting an elevated affair. For starters, you can’t beat the classics. She believes that every successful dinner party should start with a glass of sparkling wine, followed by bottles that are paired with each specific dish. “You will never see any liquid nitrogen or molecular gastronomy of cocktail marshmallows on my table,” she says.
As far as food prep goes, Belinda’s most important consideration is timing, and what she can execute beautifully. “If it is not going to be gorgeous, I won’t do it,” she says. Which means there’s nothing wrong with relying on store-bought ingredients. “I love to spend days cooking for a single dinner party, but I might also make a quick lobster bisque made with lobster stock from my grocery store and serve it with caviar!” she says. “So long as you get glasses of prosecco into all of your guests hands the minute they cross your threshold, no one will notice nor care. Oh! And a cheese course. Always a cheese course!”
Sometimes, the pressure of serving a delicious meal can distract from a crucial question any holiday hostess will ask herself: “What should I wear?” But for influencer and infinitely fashionable content creator Alyssa Amoroso, her outfit when hosting is never an afterthought. She encourages holiday hosts to be the best-dressed at their own party and not worry about being overdressed. “The host is always allowed to stand out a bit,” she says. “I love to opt for a classic LBD when I'm hosting a holiday gathering because it's no-fuss, flattering, and versatile.”
Find an outfit you feel amazing in that matches the vibe of the evening and the time of year. This will help get you and your guests into the spirit of the evening. Just be sure to give yourself enough time. “I usually start getting ready three hours before because it helps calm me to be ready early,” says Amoroso. “Plus, I like to spend extra time on everything to ensure I feel special.” A little pre-party self-care will ensure you have as much fun as your guests.
Something no holiday hostess can phone in is the culture of the party. What kind of vibe are you putting out there and what do you hope to get in return? Founder of Beaumont Etiquette, Myka Meier’s advice for a memorable night involves concentrating on the little details that bring guests together and sets the tone of the party. “My goal of hosting is that people wake up the next day smiling while they remember the evening,” she says.
The first thing Meier does as a host is make sure everyone at the party is introduced. “There is nothing more awkward than standing alone at a party,” she says. As she greets guests, her husband takes everyone’s coats and offers them a festive beverage. Assignments like this limit opportunities for things to go awry—the secret to a lovely evening is a stress-free host. To that end, Meier also recommends setting up the bar, decorating, making a playlist, and picking out your outfit all in advance.
One of the most important parts of the dinner party however, happens at the very end as guests leave. “My favorite thing is to have a little take away for my guests when they leave,” Meier says. She suggests a festive little box of macaroons with a “Thank you for coming” note attached. Pair that with a bottle of Chloe Prosecco with a personalized label, and your guests are sure to leave extra content.
Interior designer Kesha Franklin’s strength is in modern design, a sensibility she applies to all areas of her life, especially the fabulous parties she hosts at her home in New Jersey. Franklin approaches events in the same way she approaches interior design. “I like to look at it as a story,” she says. First, you need to decide on your base color, and then bring in different pops of color, texture, and statement pieces (but absolutely no tchotchkes). Everything should be minimalist, clean, and bold. “When you’re dining you can’t forget about the food experience. When you have a setting that’s too busy, it will distract from the food experience,” Franklin says.
For a holiday party, Franklin recommends going outside the normal scope of Christmas colors, focusing instead on monochromatics with gold, chrome, or brass accents for contrast and allowing the food itself to act as a pop of color. Even the floral arrangements should abide by the color scheme. Think classic roses or orchids. Absolutely do not use paper goods at any step in the process—proper flatware and glass stemware is essential.
Finally, the ambiance design is just as important as your tablescape. Appropriate mood lighting dictates how comfortable people are, so lean into candles to create a more intimate feel. “Those environments are the ones that you stay in for hours because it’s so comforting,” Franklin says.
If anyone knows about effortless beauty it’s Vicky Tsai, founder of Japanese skincare product line Tatcha. She also understands entertaining, as one of her favorite things to do is host intimate gatherings with her husband out on their water-front deck in California. The trick to looking your best at an elevated party? Stress management.
“I like to go for a run beforehand,” she says. She applies this unflustered philosophy to all aspects of her beauty routine and suggests a simple makeup look that won’t need a ton of maintenance throughout the night. She also avoids strong perfumes for dinner because “a big part of taste is the smell and when someone wears strong perfume it can actually alter how things taste.”
Grace is also integral to hosting: “In Japan, one way to show your hospitality to people is by choosing what you wear and how you accessorize a meal experience based on the people that you are receiving,” she says. “For example, if someone attending has given you a gift, like a bracelet or wine glasses, I use them that day. The way of thinking is very different—it’s not about how you want yourself to appear to your guests, but about how you want to make your guests feel.” How beautiful is that?
The holiday season is the perfect time to toast the year’s successes at a holiday soiree. Start planning your party with Chloe Wine Collection here.