Ask the Expert: Party Tips with Chris Hessney

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.

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Summer in Style

Summer in Style

Tips for setting a memorable summer table

Memorial Day is just around the corner, and with it the start of summer entertaining. For some chic and festive frills, we’re breaking out our favorite new tableware in patriotic hues of red, white, and blue. Use the colors individually for easy, summery evenings, or combine them all for a serious Memorial Day splash. But don’t stop there – this decor will keep your table effortlessly celebratory all the way through Labor Day and beyond. So, fire up the grill, stir up some sangria, and start setting up for a summer of soirees!

American Dream

For a table that is equal parts peppy and patriotic, start with a neutral tablecloth in an unassuming pattern—think ticking stripe, petite polka dots, or monochromatic embroidery—and layer these beaded Splatter Placemats on top. Alternate between blue and red for added visual interest and top with sleek, white plates.

Napkins with spunky blue and white fringe look their best rolled up inside these gorgeous Wood & Stripes napkin rings. Complement them with bamboo flatware for added texture and finish off the look with simple glassware. Inject a bit of whimsy with these brilliantly lacquered Starfish and Turtles in red, white, and blue, then pop some flowers along the table for a few easy centerpieces.

With a tablescape like this we’re thinking burgers, barbeque, grilled veggies, and raspberry sorbet, topped with fresh berries and a sprig of mint. The overall effect, from setting the table right through to dessert, is festive without a hint of fussiness—just how we like our Memorial Day celebrations!

Classic Combinations

You simply can’t go wrong with blue and white for entertaining in the summer months, but our tableware offers a few surprises to update and enliven this classic combo.

Set each place with a blue and white Splatter Placemat and round, white dinner plates. For a nautical twist, anchor your napkin in an elegantly knotted Rope Napkin Ring a little off the center of the plate. Add clear or blue glasses and use a handy white Lacquer Tray on one corner to hold drinks and table extras.

Create a layered centerpiece of flowers and decorative objects for a unifying focal point. Some bright Starfish accessories and a few blooms in coordinating colors, like these stunning Anemones we chose, finish off this tablescape with fun and flair.

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