How A Vogue Editor Does Dinner Parties

By Alison Engstrom
Summer Salad

Alexandra Macon and Andee Olson met in 2010 while working at and became fast friends — after all they were both Southern girls living and working in New York City. Fast forward six years, and while the two no longer work together officially (Andee went on to become the Site Director for The Coveteur), last summer they reunited to launch a collaborative labor of love, Over the Moon. Both Alexandra and Andee attend a lot of weddings — many worth documenting — so naturally, they created a site where they could share imagery of unforgettable nuptials. The goal? Showcase weddings that offer attainable yet inspiring ideas for the big day. I caught up with the duo at Alexandra‘s home in SoHo, where they whipped-up signature Southern dishes like pimento cheese and a colorful corn salad. Click through for their effortless entertaining style, plus their most valuable tips for brides to be.

Your must-have entertaining tool:

Alexandra: I have a weakness for cute cocktail napkins and I love Pierre Frey. The company makes the most beautiful fabrics and I love that you can very affordably get the prints in your home on a small scale with their napkins. Plus, they’re for sale on Amazon, which is so convenient.  

Andee: Alcohol! It makes everyone happier. I always have wine on hand, no matter what time of year, and depending on who I have over, bourbon, vodka, and definitely tequila.

The entertaining rule you rarely break:

Alexandra: I never forget the flowers. I love hydrangeas – although I definitely have a difficult time keeping them alive for long periods of time. I’ve read all of the tips online and still have trouble with it!

Andee: Prep as much as possible ahead of time. There’s nothing worse than being stuck in the kitchen while your guests are having fun socializing.

Your signature entertaining dish:

Alexandra: I’m southern so I grew up eating pimento cheese dip and still love it to this day. I like serving it at parties I throw in New York because not everyone knows what it is. The recipe I’m serving today is the one used at the Master’s golf tournament in Augusta, Georgia.

Also, I’m a huge fan of Callie’s Biscuits. Carrie Morey founded the company in Charleston, SC in 2005 and through her website sells and ships her buttery, handmade biscuits nationwide. There’s not a lot of prep involved with these — they arrive frozen and all you have to do is wrap them in tin foil and heat them up in the oven — but I do serve them at every party I throw. They’re a southern staple, and they’re that good.

Click here to get the recipe for Alexandra’s Pimento Cheese!

What scares you about entertaining?

Alexandra: The proverbial “what if no one actually shows up?” The five minutes before a party are always a little painful for me, not going to lie.  This has never happened IRL, but I feel like there’s always that moment of panic right after the official start time of a party. Then, five minutes later the doorbell rings with your first fashionably late guests, and everything falls into place.

Andee: That everyone will hate my food!  I picture a Bridget Jones Diary blue soup debacle, but luckily, other than forgetting to make more vegetarian options, I haven’t had anything like that happen… yet.

The taste you’re always craving:

Alexandra: Sugar — I have a pretty serious sweet tooth for anything and everything, but the Butterscotch Praline Parfait at Pearl’s Oyster Bar – one of my favorite restaurants in NYC – is hands down the best dessert in the city in my book.

Andee: Ditto! When I go out to dinner I almost always have to order dessert, especially if there is cheesecake or tiramisu on the menu—cannot say no!

Click here to get the recipe for the Watermelon Mint Cocktails

The perfect dinner party playlist includes:

Alexandra: I typically outsource and put my husband in charge of choosing the Pandora station.  My taste really runs the gamut – I like everything from the obvious choices like Beyonce, Rihanna, Kanye, and Jay-Z to more mellow music like Allison Krauss and Gillian Welch (I went to college and grew up in South Carolina, so I have a soft spot for bluegrass).  When putting together a playlist, I try to really mix it up.

Andee: I usually go to Spotify and pick one of their dinner party playlists. Something simple enough to not distract from conversation but well known enough to carry through any awkward silences (just in case!). The type of music I play usually depends on who I have over and what time of year, but this playlist is a definite go to, it has a little something for everyone.

The restaurant meal you’ll never forget:

Alexandra: The lobster roll at Pearl’s Oyster Bar in NYC. Like Tony Soprano, it’s what I’d order as my last meal if I were on my deathbed.  My favorite restaurant in NYC is Blue Ribbon on Sullivan Street. My husband and I used to live across the street from it so it’s always been our go to. I also love the fact that it stays open later than every other place in town so where everyone who works in the restaurant industry inevitably ends up after their shift ends

Andee: At the risk of sounding cliché, dinner at Blue Hill at Stone Barns will always be at the top of my list. Each course was SO good.  My go to in the city is definitely Malatesta. It is a authentic, cash only, Italian spot—good for date night, lots of wine with girlfriends, or a parent dinner. The first time I went there I also saw Lynn Yaeger and Eddie Borgo, so knew I was in good company.

Secret to a great dinner party:

Alexandra: Strategic, well-planned seating placements.  I try to avoid seating people next to their significant others and hate it when people are left to their own devices and suddenly a table is divided up based on gender. There’s nothing worse than men at one end and women at the other.

Andee: Making sure everyone has a drink in hand within a few minutes of walking in the door.

What’s your current favorite color palette for a party?

Alexandra: Vibrant pinks, purples, and greens for summer. During the winter, I’m a big fan of green and white.  Some might say white roses are boring, but I love their simplicity.

Andee:   No matter what time of year, my style is generally blues, grays, and light neutral colors. I just inherited a great set of plates and dishwear from my grandmother in a off-white, classic, pattern and luckily they go with just about anything!

My standard host / hostess outfit:

Alexandra: A colorful, comfortable, feminine dress. I have a Dolce & Gabbana problem – which is not good because they’re expensive.  I also like dresses by Self-Portrait, Alexis and Zimmerman.

Andee: Same as Alex, comfort is key! Breezy, easy, and simple. I think my favorite designers depending on whichever dress or item I am coveting at that moment. I just bought a few dresses from Zimmerman and Anna October  for vacation, that I will definitely repurpose as hostess dresses! 

Tell us what you’re eating:

Andee: This is my go-to salad, no matter what time of year. It always tastes fresh and can be paired with any main dish — from pasta, to chicken, to steak, to burgers, or even just by itself! The best part is it takes no time to make and is always a crowd favorite!

Click here to get recipe for Andee’s Kale Avocado Salad

From Alexandra:

My mom always serves these hors d’oeuvres at cocktail parties. They’re easy to pre-assemble that I now carry on the tradition.

Place a dollop of sour cream on a Melba toast cracker. Next, add a slice of cucumber and a piece of salmon. Garnish with a tiny bit of dill for a bite size snack you can serve at the start of a dinner party.

My entertaining style in 5 words or less:

Alexandra: Southern hospitality meets city living.

Andee: Simple, casual, relaxing, fun, and (hopefully) delicious!

What is the most important advise that you can offer a future bride?
Choose the right photographer and encourage them to take more candid shots. Also, stay true to yourself about what you really want.