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How to Host the Perfect Holiday Dinner Party

BY Ryan Korban | Fri. December 23, 2011 | Culture Club
Deck the halls with fresh cut flowers, gold trimmed plates, and flickering candles! NYC interior designer Ryan Korban (credited with decorating the stunning, not-so-humble abodes of Alexander Wang, James Franco, and Jessica Stam) shows us how to create a festive table setting.

I love the holiday feel. For my dinner party this year, the focus was white and gold. The silverware, plates, and even glass trim were in gold. Candlelight was the most important part of this dinner, so I bought candles in bulk on 28th Street. This is where most of the New York-based party planners go to buy cheap, in-bulk anything you can imagine. To add a festive touch, I put white Christmas ornaments into the flower arrangements. They're the perfect touch for those who don't like going too crazy with holiday decorations.

You can have a dinner party with a small kitchen, and you can also have a dinner party if you cannot really cook. It's a little secret called Sterno gel. For this event, I ordered from Mr. K's, my favorite Chinese restaurant. You place the food in silver chafing dishes, and the Sterno fuel gel helps keep the food heated for up to two hours. It's the secret to turning take-out into a catered event.

Keeping with the party's color theme, I chose to emphasize the white and allow the gold to be more of an accent. (Other great color combinations that can work the same way are white and silver, white and blush, and white and red.) The key is to make things feel warm and of the season. I always like white flowers, but they may not be the most festive choice during the holidays, so I'm cautious of using flowers that feel like winter. I tend to lean towards petals that remind me of snow, like hydrangeas, peonies, and baby's breath, which are round and full. Adding things like Christmas bobbles, white branches, or even a ribbon around the vase helps make things feel seasonal in a good way.

It's important that your table sparkles during this time of year. Of course candlelight helps, but using glass and mirror help even more. It's good to put out extra glasses and shine the silverware––they give the light something to bounce off of. I even use little round pieces of mirror on the table and place things on top, like flowers and candlesticks. The extra reflection helps the occasion feel special!

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