Host with the most: Bronson van Wyck, 44, is an event producer to the stars
When it comes to an unforgettable bash, celebrities know exactly who to call.
Arkansas-native Bronson van Wyck, a descendant of one of New York’s founding Dutch families, is the quintessential party planner to the stars. The lavish events thrown by his firm, which he runs with his mom and sister, have long since earned him A-list fans such as Beyonce, Michelle and Barack Obama, Madonna and P Diddy.
Yet, just by following some of his tried-and-tested tips, any one of us can party like the stars – even in a studio-sized apartment – with some of his hosting hacks.
Speaking to the New York Post as his book, Born to Party, Forced to Work: 21st Century Hospitality, is released, the event producer shared his fool proof methods for keeping the party alive.
Friends: Socialite Paris Hilton flew to Mykonos to celebrate her friend Bronson’s ancient Greece-themed 43rd birthday
Music man: Bronson and friends pictured with performer Lionel Richie, center, in Radio City Hall, New York City
Party like the A-listers: Bronson van Wyck shares his event essentials
- A great guest list.
- Stiff drinks (always served fast).
- Lighting, especially lots of candles.
- Keep your guests cocooned. In the summer, this means ice, shade, and bug spray! In the winter it might be cozy throws, a fireplace, and a strong drink.
- A relaxed host. Remember that your friends are there to see you have fun.
- A surprise: This is a great ally for a host.
- Ice. Good hosts think about food. Great hosts think about refrigeration.
Source: Galerie Magazine
First off, he told prospective hosts to never get so busy with the hosting duties that they actually forget to speak to all of their guests.
‘It’s essential to have face time with everyone attending your party. This can come in the form of greeting guests at the door, passing out canapes or refilling drinks,’ he said.
Party: Bronson at an event with (L-R) publicist Susan Magrino, Architectural Digest Editor-in-Chief Amy Astley and Martha Stewart
When it comes to welcoming guests, he has found that ‘nothing gets the party going’ like a shot of tequila.
If he’s going all out, he organizes a ‘specialty tasting bar’ to keep things interesting.
‘Libation with a side of education,’ he explained. ‘The food truck phenomenon has come and gone – so think about a specialty tasting bar.
‘Serve flights of different mezcals so guests can learn which they like, for example, or ice-cold vodka infused with a variety of fruits and vegetables.’
To keep guests satiated, he’ll stock ‘salty snacks’ around the room.
‘A few of my favorites are candied bacon, homemade kettle chips and spiced nuts. Salt makes you thirsty.
Client: Bronson said client Beyonce, pictured in 2011 at her perfume launch which Bronson planned, is ‘fantastic’ and ‘insanely professional’ to work with
Birthday girl: Madonna, pictured with daughter Lourdes, enlisted Bronson to plan her raucous gypsy-themed party in 2015, pictured
That’s how to throw a party: Bronson, left, takes to the stage with Duran Duran frontman Simon Le Bon, pictured, who played at his 43rd birthday bash last year
‘If you’re thirsty, you drink more, and when you drink more … you never know where the night could go!’
While the parties he throws through his firm often have chart topping musicians around to entertain guests – Duran Duran and Flo Rida played at his own now-infamous 43rd birthday party in a ruined Greek temple – Bronson advised people to use a streaming service.
‘Have a library in Spotify or Pandora of play-lists for a variety of moods. Music sets the tone for the night.
‘Then keep the surprises coming! I try to have something new happen every 20 minutes.
‘This could be as simple as changing the playlist or circulating a new round of appetizers, or as exciting as arranging a special musical performance.
‘Guests should always be kept guessing.’
Other trends he’s noticing right now include florals inspired by 16th and 17th century Dutch still life paintings and ‘high-low food combos’.
Fashion: Bronson pictured with Robert Hammond and designer Diane Von Furstenberg at an event in New York City
‘Offer up proteins straight from the cutting board, serve fried chicken on silver platters and sliced steak on beautiful china, and hand out hot frites seasoned with sea salt right out of the oil,’ he advised.
And when it comes to lighting? There simply must be more, more, more.
‘The best way to light people is through a simple Rule of Three: three sources from three directions in three colors. Light from above, light from below, light from the side.
‘Overhead lighting, such as that from a chandelier; gentle side lighting, such as light from sconces; and light from below to lift and firm.
‘Votive candles are the simplest way to get this final effect, and they’re practically free, so I always light more than I need and then take some away.’
Bronson previously opened up about the moment when rapper P Diddy asked for fake snow – less than an hour before his 40th birthday bash was due to start back in 2009.
He recalled: ‘It was 45 minutes till the party started, but we found a guy in New Jersey who had the key to the tech closet at the Metropolitan Opera and we got that snow machine.
Demands: P Diddy told Bronson he wanted to have fake snow just 45 minutes before the doors to his 40th birthday party, pictured, opened back in 2009 – and Bronson managed to find it!
Fans: Bronson said that client Gwyneth Paltrow, left, had an ‘easy elegance’ while Michelle Obama, right, always ‘wanted to have fun’
‘Puffy came to the party at midnight and we waited till he was in the middle of the room before we pushed the button and the snow started coming down. The look on his face was like a child on Christmas morning.’
Revealing all about his favorite clients, he said that Beyonce is ‘fantastic’ and ‘insanely professional’ to work with, while describing Gwyneth Paltrow as having an ‘easy elegance’.
While he has enjoyed working for the past three US presidents and their wives during their time in the White House, he said he would not work for President Donald Trump if asked.
He said Bill Clinton was ‘always very curious about what was going to come out of the kitchen’, Laura Bush could make someone ‘feel like they were the only person in the room’, while Michelle Obama ‘had dynamism’ and ‘wanted to have fun’.
The party planner was also behind Madonna’s gypsy-themed party for her 57th birthday in the Hamptons.
When he’s not tending to celebrities and presidents, his day-to-day duties are no less impressive, having produced events for the Whitney museum in New York City and the San Francisco Opera.