By Alexandra Phanor-Faury

Hosting Tips From The Woman Behind Anna Wintour and President Obama's Events

The end of summer is officially weeks away and it’s only right we go out with a bang or better yet go out throwing a fabulous dinner party to make the most of the last days of summer with friends and family. Hosting a memorable fête doesn’t have to be stressful or expensive. Kelly Abraham of Pollen Nation Events, the premier event design and breath-taking floral arrangement company based in Harlem that has a laundry list of five-star clients that include Gwyneth Paltrow, Beyonce (they were in charge of styling the flowers at her wedding), Anna Wintour, Madonna and President Obama, has been responsible for setting the ambiance for some exclusive extravagant events. Abraham took some time out from her busy schedule traveling the world planning soirées to share with us some quick and easy tips on how to keep your dinner guests happy and your evening running smoothly. From great lighting suggestions to seating arrangements, Abraham believes it’s the overlooked small details that determine just how successful your dinner party will be. “It’s those little things that can trump all the prior planning.” But when all the planning is done, it’s important to remember to have fun. “You set the tone for your event and guests will notice this and feel relax as well.” Want more home décor suggestions from Pollen Nation for your end of summer hoorah? Head over to their artfully decorated store to find beautiful vases, art work and fresh cut flowers to elevate your event.

What should every host have on hand for a great dinner party?

A well-rounded variety of food is always needed. If you did not tell guests what you are serving, it’s a great idea to have some alternatives. Welcome drinks and snacks as guests arrive is a good idea. I like to have some activity guests can do while they wait for dinner. This can be watching a movie or playing a board game. It’s always important to have extra seating in case of extra invitees.

What are the top rules to follow when throwing a great dinner party?

It’s always nice to have a theme for your event. Try creating a signature cocktail, this tells your guests that you put some real thought into your event. Sit couples apart, this makes for interesting conversations throughout the night. Don’t be tied down in the kitchen, get adequate help from friends or family so you can give your guests 100% of your attention.

What are some great and affordable decorating tips to create an elegant ambiance?

Lighting is an integral part of any event. Lots of candlelight, they set the perfect ambiance as the sun sets. If you cannot afford to have extensive lighting, candlelight works great. Turn the lights down and use inexpensive votive candles. Floor Lanterns are great in the courtyard, driveway or around the pool. If you have outdoor space, globe lanterns placed in backyard trees are very dramatic. Filling vases with flowers is a very simple touch but looks great. The deep color and look of sunflowers are striking. Hydrangeas are very voluminous so it takes few to create an abundant look. Cymbidium Orchids are simply an amazing choice. Flowers are economical and add a touch of elegance to your event.

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-Alexandra Phanor-Faury

Images via pollennation


Alexandra Phanor-Faury
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