Three members’ tips for festive hosting like a pro

Three members’ tips for festive hosting like a pro | Soho House

From welcoming your guests to mastering the art of tablescaping, they explain how to refine your holiday celebrations

Tuesday 14 November 2023 By Chloe Lawrance

The holiday season is about spending time with your nearest and dearest, welcoming family and friends for festive-themed dinners and celebrations. In addition to providing an opportunity to catch up and share gifts, it also offers you a chance to show off your hosting prowess. 

If the whole prospect feels a little intimidating, don’t worry. We’ve turned to our talented members for their expert tips – read on to discover how a chef, a creative consultant and an event planner bring Soho House-approved hospitality to the table. 

Three members’ tips for festive hosting like a pro | Soho House

Camilla Marcus 
Chef and food entrepreneur 

Dedicated to a sustainable way of eating and entertaining, Camilla Marcus is the brains behind west~bourne, a mission-driven, zero-waste and plant-based provisions brand. She has also hosted events for Vogue, Revolve and GOOP, with the likes of Cameron Diaz calling on her catering services.

‘When it comes to tablescaping, I recommend finding one focal point to build the rest of the table around, so that there’s a clear point of view. Use what you already have; a mix of contemporary and antique glassware, plates and decor adds so much dimension. Forage the rest; I’ll take clippings from my garden or around the neighbourhood. The spontaneity of those organic elements adds a special touch. Oh, and of course, always add candles to a table in the evening.

‘I like to do pre-dinner apéro time, with flowing drinks and lots of snacks already out on arrival. Try a “choose your own adventure” drinks bar: set up lots of different fruits, herbs and flavoured seltzers alongside various spirits. This helps to get guests engaged and talking from the outset.’

Three members’ tips for festive hosting like a pro | Soho House
Three members’ tips for festive hosting like a pro | Soho House

Kirthanaa Naidu 
Stylist, cook and creative consultant 

Kirthanaa Naidu built a loyal following by posting exquisite tablescapes and delicious meals – including her signature Pandan Cheesecake – on Instagram. She’s since curated tablescapes for Dishoom, Diptyque and Ottolenghi, and even hosted a supper club for Dua Lipa.

‘I’m a firm believer in a relaxed approach to hosting. Guests should feel at ease; like they can enjoy themselves without worrying about making a mess. I never cause a fuss over red wine spillages – it’s all part of the experience. The same thing applies to the food: everything should be served family style in the middle of the table for people to dig into. This also makes it easier to prepare dishes ahead of time, rather than having to serve up individual plates once guests have arrived. Personally, I think dessert should be the showstopper of the meal – go for something exciting, and serve it with its own drink.

‘When hosting during the festive season, add something extra special to your table. I tend to avoid pre-made crackers, as they’re often filled with unwanted trinkets and are not very sustainable. Homemade ones are more memorable, and they can be tailored to your guests’ tastes.’

Three members’ tips for festive hosting like a pro | Soho House
Three members’ tips for festive hosting like a pro | Soho House

Liz Linkleter
Event planner

As the director of events agency, Liz Linkleter Events, she knows a thing or two about putting on a good party. Prioritising creative flair and originality in all her events, Linkleter has hosted for some of fashion’s biggest names, including Harper’s Bazaar. She was also behind the weddings of Erdem Moralıoğlu, Jefferson Hack, and Clara Paget.

‘I do think it’s important to make an effort – people will feel special, and it’s a lot more fun and celebratory. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to spend hours preparing; just give it a bit of thought. 

‘One of the most important things when hosting a party is the correct lighting: quite dark, with lots of flattering candle light. The right drinks are also essential – delicious, and strong. If your cocktail-making skills are not up to much, you can buy brilliant pre-made cocktails now – my go-to for this is Cock & Tail. All you have to do is pour them into a nice glass.

‘During the festive period, keep tablescaping traditional: tartan, lots of reds, and plenty of foliage. I bring out the same decorations and dinnerware every year. They’re familiar and bring back so many good memories.’

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