Special event creative and entrepreneur Andre Wells is principal owner of Events by Andre Wells (EAW). Outfitted with a consistently packed schedule of celebrity, corporate and social affairs, this seasoned event planner has certainly made a name for himself. The DC/L.A.-based guru is on the A-list of the event industry. From major television networks to social and political glitterati, oftentimes your hottest tickets also provide you with an Andre Wells experience.
However, most of us find enjoyment in much more humble settings - for less than $1000 a ticket and outside exclusive lists. Although seemingly unattainable, this same elegance and harmony can be experienced at your next gathering with just a touch of preparation. What Andre brings to each event - big or small - is his uniquely personal touch and special attention to detail.
In the spirit of the EAW tagline, "When style and glamour are the only option," Andre shares secrets that transform large venue flair to living room excitement. Whether your next shindig is intimate or buzzing, Andre guides you through hosting your fabulous fete with the same flair as those magnificent big-budget balls. Cheers!!
Andre stresses the importance of the social aspect of any event. When it comes to hosting friends and associates, atmosphere is arguably the most important facet of your intended ambience. Although "nothing beats a great group of fun people," says Andre, he also notes that "you are in control."
It is very important not to impede on your own enjoyment with stress that will flow over to your guests, so preparation is key. Per the master himself, here are a few ways to stimulate interaction amongst guests and execute a memorable affair:
1. Never be a "Ghost Guest." This is when you get so wrapped up in execution that you forget to enjoy your own party! Not cool.
2. Have good tunes. "There is no reason for anyone to have bad music these days," says Andre, so prep the iPod. He suggests more upbeat tunes as guests arrive, ending with smooth grooves over dessert.
3. Have accessible cocktails. If there is no bartender, make sure you batch mixed drinks or have wine at just the right temperature ready to pour. Lets face it: Nobody likes to wait for a drink!
4. Prep the reception area. Set the tone for the evening as everyone gathers for cocktails before dinner. Small bites, cool coffee table books and beautiful flowers should get it started.
5. Keep it dim. Bright lighting over dinner is a no-no!
Table settings are the centerpiece of any dinner party, no matter how grand. Another Andre tip to avoid being a "Ghost Guest" at your own special event is to set the table one to two days early. Says Andre, "Monochromatic color schemes always work." Because spring is upon us, go with "bright, cheery" colors and combinations.
Here are Andre's tips to make dinner extra special.
1. Invest in nice napkins. It's one of those things that you notice only when it's marvelous.
Easter Bunny Jacquard Napkins, $54, williams-sonoma.com
Round Acrylic Green Charger Plates, $2 each, lionsdeal.com
Tulips, $39.99 for 20, proflowers.com
4. Candles, candles, candles! "You can never go wrong with candles," even if your dinner isn't a romantic one.
5. No messy desserts. When it comes to dessert, passing the pie can be a little messy. Individual desserts make for spectacular presentations.
1. For the bathroom: Scented candles and monogrammed hand towels
Monogrammed Hand Towels, $15.99, target.com
3. Allergy sensitivity: Be sure to consider guests' food allergies during food preparation. It's also helpful to inform guests of miscellaneous logistics such as parking.
Try leafing through a cookbook full of delectable, no-hassle choices, like Make It Super Simple with G. Garvin, that will make the evening a breeze. "If you must cook an elaborate feast, perhaps a kitchen dinner party is in order," says Andre. We all know how everyone enjoys congregating in the kitchen. Pair wine with tastings and assign special individual courses to couples for a splendidly interactive evening.
How do you make your dinner parties extra special?