Chris Harold is Head of Events Operations at The Ned, which means he oversees hundreds of functions, ensuring every single one goes without a hitch. He also likes nothing more than having friends to dinner and applies the same attention to detail to a mid-week supper as to a banquet for 140 at The Ned. There's no-one better to ask for advice on making sure your own festive event runs smoothly.

'I love to throw a party! I thoroughly enjoy it when a plan comes together and a seamless event is executed. It’s one of the reasons I adore my job. Months and in some cases years of planning go into most events before the day itself. I think that taking each one personally is what sets us apart from our competition and every event we deliver is bespoke. At this level there is no grey area. It has to be perfect!'

'Whether it’s a sit down banquet for 140 guests or three close friends visiting my home for a Christmas catch up, there are some essential steps that I take to help execute a great event. I love when the word ‘seamless’ is used in hospitality and when a Ned guest uses it to describe one of our events it’s high-five’s all round. Yes an event takes effort, but my number one rule is that your guest should never know it.'

'I throw a lot of dinner parties for friends and I love to catch up over great food and wine. I believe that nothing is more precious than time so I like to pull out all the stops for my guests and go a little over the top. When you think about it, your guests are choosing to spend their evening with you when they could attend countless other events so it’s important to treat them like royalty. I like to use linen tablecloths and sometimes spend up to an hour at home ironing every crease out but it’s worth it. I enjoy using silver and crystal to really dress the dining room table and love using items like my grandmother’s silver.'


Dressing for dinner

'The Ned is a fabulous 1920’s building but our service style isn’t stuffy or old fashioned. We sometimes dress our tables with linen and use silver candelabras to add a little sparkle. Our tables are solid wood so they look beautiful with or without linen but linen just adds something, I think.

Silver candelabras are a wonderful centrepiece if you choose not to use flowers. If you have flowers don’t go too big and definitely don’t go too small. Consult a good florist if you are unsure because if you get it wrong you can get it very wrong.'

Smile and relax

'Matching glassware and silverware looks fantastic on a dining room table, however it’s not the end of the world if your items don’t match. In The Ned we use 100-foot rolls of string to ensure that every chair, glass and item of cutlery are perfectly in line but then we are famous for our long dining tables.

Remember that it’s your party too so don’t get caught up in minor details and try to enjoy your night. Your vibe will set the tone of the evening so smile and relax!'

Highlights to date

‘Since May we have overseen over 600 events and my role is to ensure that each one is executed efficiently and with precision. Our largest event so far was a Halloween party for 500 members and it was a roaring success. The theme was Gatsby with a brass band, DJ and unlimited cocktails. Feedback has been fantastic and my team look forward to running the next one.

My favourite event since we opened was with the British Fashion Council when Tom Ford addressed young designers. Tom has been a hero of mine for over 20 years and it was phenomenal to run this event.’

Planning your menu

'The planning of any dining event revolves around your guests so the number attending will determine what food can be served and the complexity of the menu. It’s imperative that the person or team that will cook the food is capable of catering for the final guest count so make sure that you have a realistic idea of how many will arrive on the day.

It’s essential to understand if any of your guests have allergies. I ask my guests to communicate their dietary preferences with their RSVP. The last thing you need is to try and whip up a risotto in the middle of cooking a steak dinner.'


'When planning an event establish the maximum budget and the date when the event will take place. If you don’t factor in all of the potential costs of the event you will be forced to cut corners and that will cost you in one way or another. Know your ceiling price for everything! When I run an event I choose a date that will suit most of my guests to ensure as many seats at the table are filled. If your event date is flexible then ask your guests when they are free before you send out invitations.'

'Once you understand the number of guests attending and their dietary requirements, a suitable menu can be drafted. The one element that I will not compromise on is quality so I source only the freshest of ingredients for my events. It’s important to ensure that all ingredients are in season to create the finest offering for your guests. My advice is to keep it simple! To avoid cancellations choose an appropriate venue that suits your guest count and the occasion. All guests will need to enter and exit the venue with ease so make sure that it's easily accessible and somewhere that they actually wish to attend.'

'It is essential to manage your time and the timeline of your suppliers. From food to furniture to decorations, if you don’t plan well you can ruin an event. Manage every aspect of your event to be ready long before the time printed on the invite. Guests always show up early so a back up plan is essential. Planning to cater for delayed guests is also a must as guests are often late and they will need more than a salmon canapé to get them through the evening if they miss dinner. Always have something simple to prepare for delayed guests especially during Christmas as you may be their second or even third stop in an evening.'

'Above all it’s essential to place your guest in the centre of all planning and event execution. Choose a date, venue, menu and entertainment that suit them and not just you. Select entertainment that fits the occasion. I find that a great playlist is more than adequate for any event. Gosh I can’t wait for Christmas.'

The Ned

Our hotel and members' club in the City of London has nine restaurants, indoor and rooftop pools, a gym, spa and hamam.