Ask the Expert: Party Tips with Chris Hessney

Chris is the founder, president, and creative director of Hessney & Co., an international event production and design agency based out of New York City. With a strong background in event management and design as well as a commitment to a personalized approach, Chris has worked with such notable NYC entertainment giants as restaurateur Stephen Starr, Chef Morimoto, and Andrew Balazs, and he was an integral part of the opening team at The Standard Highline. After serving as the Corporate Style director of EMM Group, Chris extended his brand collaborations to include Armani, Goop, Netflix, and Martha Stewart Weddings, and in 2020 he was recognized by Harper’s Bazaar Magazine as one of the top wedding florists in the world. Chris’ impeccable eye for design and attention to detail put him in a class by himself, making Hessney & Co. synonymous with excellence on the event planning stage. Visit https://hessneyandco.com/ for more information about Chris’s work. 

Von Gern Home: How are you celebrating July Fourth?
Chris Hessney: My husband, our dog, and I are going up to Vermont to visit my sister and her kids.

VGH: What is your ideal summer dinner party setting?
Chris: Ideally, I would be dining al fresco every night in the Italian countryside surrounded by candlelight.

VGH: What is on your table?
Chris: On my table right now are Paravicini plates, Sabre flatware, Baccarat glasses, Sferra linens, and Von Gern Home placemats.

VGH: What is on your summer dinner menu?
Chris: Summer for me is Italian and all about what’s in season. Heirloom tomatoes, fruits, an array of meats or cheeses. Cook what’s fresh and good.

VGH: Describe your aesthetic in five words or less.
Chris: Priceless and timeless.

VGH: Give us three tips for setting the perfect table.
Chris: Have fun with it, embrace the space you’re working with, and make it make sense.
Extra tip, a good tablescape is all about layering.

VGH: What is on your dinner party playlist ?
Chris: For a bigger dinner party, I prefer a more upbeat vibe. Artists like Balearic Beats or Hôtel Costes are always on my cocktail hour playlist. I’m also really into Lil Nas X right now.

VGH: What tabletop element should one never go without?
Chris: A table can never have too many flowers.

VGH: What is your signature dinner party cocktail?
Chris: My favorite go-to is batching a great margarita with Casa Dragones. Nothing like tequila to get the party started.

VGH: Name three ingredients of a successful party.
Chris: Good lighting, good music, and a tantalizing tablescape.

VGH: Dream dinner party venue?
Chris: Villa Astor on the Amalfi Coast in Italy.

VGH: Go-to hostess gift?
Chris: Von Gern Home lacquer tray set with your favorite bottle of alcohol.

VGH: What is one item you would never entertain without?
Chris: Never go without candle light.

VGH: What projects are you currently working on?
Chris: We’re working on some very exciting things but unfortunately we can’t say.

VGH: Who would you invite to your dream dinner – dead or alive?
Chris: Salvador Dali.