• By: Ali Matthews

Celebrity Party Planner Melissa Andre Shares Holiday Hosting Tips

Images provided by Jessie Robertson |  Veritas Communications.

decal12Welcome to Day 12 of our
25 Day Ottawa Life
Christmas Calendar

We’ll be updating with a
new treat daily so be sure
to keep checking under the
OLM Tree to see what’s new.
And don’t forget our big Light
Up Your Ottawa Life Contest

No sooner is your Christmas shopping finished that you remember another major project of the season: Christmas dinner.

Between seating logistics, complex dietary preferences, unexpected plus-ones, and the debate of fresh or frozen, being the host or hostess with the mostest has only gotten more complicated.

With international recognition and a portfolio that includes luxurious celebrations for Canadian superstars like Drake and The Weeknd, Canada’s resident celebrity event planning pro Melissa Andre definitely knows how to not only take the stress out of holiday entertaining, but to make your dinner something everyone will be talking about.


Melissa recently took the time to share some of these tips and tricks for holiday hosting with Ottawa Life. 

Ottawa Life: Congratulations on an amazing year! One look at your new website and social media accounts, it is clear to see you have been busy. I am pretty sure we even saw your work from The Weeknd’s birthday party first-hand through DJ Khaled’s Snapchat! With the holidays just around the corner, we are so happy you took the time to share your top entertaining tips with us. 

You suggest gold accents for some extra holiday glamour. Does a Stella Artois chalice count in a pinch?

Melissa Andre: Absolutely! One of the reasons I partnered with Stella Artois this holiday season is that we want to encourage people to create memorable moments that leave their mark, without the fuss. Hosting is a big part of the holidays for everyone and at times it can be stressful, so I’ve put together some really beautiful ways to host during the holidays that can be done by any host.

holiday-tips-serving-trayGold is my go-to this season. I find that using gold more than any other colour, really elevates a tablescape. Nothing is more eye-catching than holiday décor that glows and illuminates a room all on its own. From bronzed candle holders and cutlery, to, yes, the gold-trimmed Stella Artois glassware– a touch of gold, mixed with black accents will really complete the look and add that extra holiday glamour.

You can even use the Stella Artois chalice as that touch of gold and glamour on a bar cart to welcome your guests – keeps them busy while you do final prep and provides a really great first impression.

You not only allow, but also encourage using store-bought food to save time. At an event for the Weeknd and XO Group you used chic black take-out containers as part of your table setting. What other ways can you elevate a store-bought main dish?

Yes those take-out containers were really fun, and do save a lot of time! Hosting during the holidays doesn’t mean spending your night in the kitchen – I’m all about being as practical as possible when entertaining. I always incorporate a mix of homemade with store-bought items during my holiday festivities. For example, there is no shame in buying a store-made cake and adding fresh berries, or making a holiday inspired topping for baked cheese with seasonal flavours like rosemary and cranberries.

holiday-tips-one-placesetting-with-stellaI would also recommend displaying your drinks beautifully – use a festive or gold ice bucket. It’ll make everything look that much more planned and prepared. These small tricks will not only help you save on time, but give you more time with your guests, which is really what the holidays are all about!

You use a lot of natural elements in your event design, including grasses and flowers. What is your favourite flower or plant to incorporate over the holidays?

The holidays have such a rich colour palette associated with them and I love using flowers to really accentuate that. Forest green pine, rich red peonies, and white accent flowers are amazing because they really encapsulate the holiday spirit, and give a room that festive touch.

Canada’s 150th birthday is just around the corner and all eyes will be on Ottawa. Will you be organizing any events in Ottawa in the coming year?

I hope to! The history, the colours, the occasion – there are so many opportunities to get creative and throw an incredible event. Stay tuned for those tips later this year.


Here is Melissa’s complete list of tips for this holiday season.

Tip 1:
Glamourize your dining table by incorporating seasonal trends like metallic and gold accents. From your candle holders and your glassware to personalized place cards and menus – a touch of gold will leave a lasting impression on your guests. For added sophistication, include black accents to complete the look.

Tip 2:
Make store-bought feel like homemade
by infusing personal touches throughout your holiday festivities . Try adding fresh berries to a store-bought cake or displaying your beverages in a stylish ice bucket – these will not only help you save on time, but give you more time with your guests. 

Tip 3:
Create an inviting atmosphere right from the moment guests arrive
by having a welcome bar cart at-the-ready. Consider setting up pre-mixed cocktails and your favourite cold lagers with appropriate glassware and fresh snacks. You’ll set the bar high and leave a great first impression.

Bonus Tip:
If you’re a guest at a party, bring a hostess gift that can be enjoyed by all the guests.
Edible treats or a bottle of alcohol, like the Stella Artois 750ml seasonal sharing bottle, will not only help the hostess add to her already beautiful spread, but is a gift that will truly give!