Skip the hours spent slaving away in the kitchen and focus your attention on decor and details where guests spend the most time during the event, says Crowned Events’ Jessica Williams.
“I don’t think expectations are that hosts and hostesses will prepare everything themselves, and not knowing how to cook a turkey shouldn’t keep you from hosting an incredible gathering. The era of catering is in and hours in the kitchen is out. This allows the focus of the host to be centered [on] creating an ambiance with decor and lighting rather than dwelling on how perfectly the onions are diced,” says Jessica Williams of Crowned Events. She and co-founder Camille Stout have created a modern events company with the ethos that each event should be an expression of individuality. “Focus the majority of your attention on areas guests interact with the most. Incorporate mood lighting with beautiful candles, and create texture and movement by featuring your favorite seasonal blooms in your centerpieces,” says Stout. And whether you are the host or the guest, she adds, good old-fashioned manners never go out of style. “Handwritten notes are a lost art, and whether you’re thanking guests for coming or expressing gratitude to the host, this simple gesture can go a long way.”
Samantha Goble, owner of Hostess Haven, recommends creating a vision board to build inspiration for your event and make the entire process less daunting.
One of the hardest parts of planning a holiday get-together is knowing where to start. Samantha Goble, owner and head designer at Hostess Haven, recommends “focusing on what you want the wow factor to be and go[ing] from there. Create a Pinterest board, or if you like something more tactile, cut and paste magazine clippings to form a vision board. Slowly, you’ll start building your concept. It can seem daunting at first, but starting with one small detail will lead to everything else falling into place.” Goble, who has worked with celebs like Whitney Port, Ally Hilfiger and Vanessa Hudgens, and whose designs have graced the pages of Martha Stewart Weddings and Domino, acquired Hostess Haven last year at 23 years old, and she has since become one of the go-to event planners in San Diego. Another top tip for creating an event people won’t soon forget, according to Goble, is to send out the invitation well in advance of your celebration date. “Chances are, most of your guests don’t often get invitations in the mail, and they will appreciate the nostalgia of a beautifully designed paper invite,” she says.
Catalog Atelier co-founder Hannah Towery recommends investing in luxury linens and napkins for events. The added attention to detail sets you apart and is guaranteed to be noticed by guests.
Down To Details
“There is a difference between designing and decorating. We believe it’s essential to understand all the elements of the room, table and food because they all contribute to the experience of your guests,” says Hannah Towery, co-founder of San Diego-based events and rental company Catalog Atelier. Along with her husband and business partner, Dustin—who is a seasoned brand executive behind local luxury wellness brands like Beaming and Yoga Six—Hannah has brought her modern, architecture-inspired design aesthetic to events across the county. Top designers know that when it comes to entertaining, the devil is in the details. So when you’re planning an at-home get-together, Hannah suggests adding little luxuries where you can, even if you are going for a pared-down style. “Linens are often the most sensual experience your guest will have. They are touching, feeling and experiencing them more than any other piece on the table. Invest in top-of-the-line cloth napkins—your guests will definitely notice,” she says.
Photography by: Photo one by My Sun and Stars Co; stationery by Pirouette Paper Company; florals by Idlewild Floral; rentals by Hostess Haven | Folklore Rentals; venue: Hotel Joaquin. Photo two by Cavin Elizabeth Photography; florals by Cafe Au Love; tabletop rentals by Hostess Haven. Photo three by Jenny Siegwart; design and rentals by Catalog Atelier; florals by Isari Flower Studio