A celebrity party planner lays out the dos and don’ts for ringing in 2017.
Imagine being the person Drake hires to plan his parties. That’s part of the job for Melissa Andre, who most recently organized the 6 God’s 30th birthday dinner at Bent restaurant in Toronto. “Drake has great taste,” she says. "He appreciates cool design, so we made these OVO bento boxes for him. He loved them so much he took them home.”
Drake isn't the only A-lister on her client roster – and of course we had to ask about all of them. “We did NHL player Mikhail Grabovski's wedding, an American Music Awards party for Future recently as well as numerous parties for The Weeknd," said Andre. She is currently busy planning a summer wedding for a “well-known DJ," although she couldn’t tell us who.
Naturally, Andre also throws a lot of New Year’s Eve parties. The most memorable? “We did a New Year’s Eve wedding one year,” she told me “it was in Hawaii, the kiss was at midnight, and we had a whole ceiling installation that rained white rose petals.” **Sigh**
In anticipation of our own New Year’s Eve parties, we asked the entertaining expert, who teamed up with Stella Artois this holiday season, how to throw a celeb-style fête to welcome 2017 that Drizzy himself would surely approve of.
Set the vibe.
"I like to start setting the vibe outside the party, even down the sidewalk. I love balloons; they are something I would for sure use for a New Year’s party. Mix the sizes of balloons, you can fill them up different amounts to achieve different sizes, and cluster them together in a formation. For that American Music Awards party for Future we had a tunnel that guests walked through to get into the house. It had a beautiful S-shaped light installation and we had beautiful models body painted that handed out champagne."
Add a little sparkle.
"It’s so easy to decorate for New Year's – just take something you already own and just add a little metallic to it. Sprinkle in a few gold-trimmed glasses to the glasses you would already use, or flip in black candles to your normal candle bases. Making minor adjustments to colour or adding small details elevates the experience. We added frozen cranberries to all of our ice buckets, or you could add frozen fruit or frozen petals."
Spread out the drinks.
"The most important thing for a successful party is flow. You don't want to have everything that people want in one area – otherwise everyone is going to be in the kitchen waiting for a drink where there is no seating. I like to set up a satellite bar, or a welcome bar, so that right when guests enter the party they are immediately handed a drink. This sets the vibe, so that are like ‘okay I am at a party!’"
Surprise guests with unique cocktails.
"Champagne is fairly expected on New Years so having something on hand for guests like the Stella Artois Sharing Bottle is perfect. It also makes an amazing hostess gift. Drake makes all kinds of cocktails with different ingredients like pineapple and pomegranate…I never make drinks when I am around him! So I get to be treated. Something warm is also nice, like a mulled wine."
Stella Artois was originally crafted to be enjoyed over the holidays, and like me, hosting over the holidays is my absolute favorite. Leading up to the holidays, I’ll be sharing my tips on how you can host one to remember and leave your mark with family and friends. Tip 1: I host a lot of events and put passion into making any occasion truly memorable. Like Stella Artois, the smallest details can leave a lasting impression. Consider having a welcome tray at-the-ready with seasonal-flavoured cocktails, ice cold Stella Artois and decorative glassware. Add a selection of fresh appetizers - all surrounded by greenery, blooms, and your favorite ornaments for an added holiday touch. #StellaArtois @stellaartois #MelissaAndreHoliday #MelissaAndreEvents #StellaArtoisMasq #HostBeautifully
Appeal to all tastes when prepping appies.
"I love miniature appetizers. The most important thing is to have a mix, often when I am picking menus with clients they only pick food that they like. When you are planning a menu you have to remember to appeal to all kinds of palates."
Tunes are key.
"Pick one of your musical friends to be responsible for the music for the night, or choose a playlist! I just did a party for Ronda Rousey and we used a Spotify playlist the entire time and everyone loved it."
Goodie bags are a must.
"I love sending people home with flowers from the party. I will get craft paper and twine and on people’s way out I will slowly start dismantling them and making little bouquets. I also love packing something for the next morning, I might buy 24 little scones and orange juices and send guests home with that the following day."
Always be a people pleaser.
"A fun idea is to have everyone bring a guest that no one knows, so everyone will have someone new to talk to. I love that because sometimes you go to a party and it’s all inside jokes and there will be two people who don't know anyone and are like this is the worst. When I host I am always introducing people. That stuff is very important and the hostess is in charge of that."