Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Lydia Pursell
The art of hosting — meticulously planning a menu, shopping for ingredients, wrangling guests, and making it all look (and, most importantly, feel) enjoyable — has evolved dramatically over the last decade thanks to Instagram, a global pandemic, and delivery booze. Despite the pandemic, a 2020 Mintel report found that 177 million U.S. adults hosted at home in 2019, with an average of seven events hosted per household per year. Even still, many of us might be feeling a little rusty after a couple of years of social distancing. Don't worry though; a new breed of party service has got your back, whether you need help to pull together a sit-down dinner party for six, or extend an open invitation for drinks and graze-as-you-may snacks.
Anyone who's hosted a gathering can agree: the fewer moving pieces before your guests arrive, the better. "Between coordinating one-off vendors, Etsy purchases, and opening a million Amazon candles in shrink-wrapped plastic, I was tired of how expensive and time consuming it was to throw an event if you don't have the resources of a global event planner behind you," says Brenna Gilbert, who launched Feste, a new kind of party planning company, earlier this year. "We want to bring the joy, ease, and je ne sais quoi of great hosting to all our guests, because getting together should be fun." Gilbert saw a huge gap in the party planning space, with hosts having to choose between an inexpensive and uncurated "peck and find" approach via online retailers, or shelling out for a full-service party planner.
Feste takes its goal of serving as a one-stop shop for party planning seriously, offering visual consultations to help bring your dream event to life with mood boards and design advice, floral curation, as well as show-stopping Scene kits that include everything from glassware to garlands for a well-appointed soiree. The company even handles selecting wine via a thoughtful partnership with sommelier-favorite wine delivery service Parcelle, so you don't have to run out to the bottle shop in the middle of cooking.
Sisters Sarah Pecaut and Amy Burstyn Fritz know that in the year 2022, eye candy is everything. Misette burst onto the hosting scene with several tablescape collections that feature tablecloths, placemats, hand-painted candlesticks, cutlery, and more. Misette also features servingware such as bowls, cups and pitchers from artisans like Nashville-based ceramist Sarah Cihat and Sophie Lou Jacobsen, whose ripple glassware in amber, smoke, pink, and lilac add a burst of warmth to any spread.
Tight on space and want to keep your tablescape feeling fresh with every event? Try renting: Anchor & Fade offers tablescape styling and rentals that feature products from makers big (like Scandinavian design darling HAY) and small, while Social Studies rents out stunning themed 'Looks' in the form of individual place settings (think china, candles, linens, and more in tons of colors and themes), which you can customize based on the size of your event.
If you find yourself planning a party in New York City, you'll want to stop by Big Night, an impeccably curated dinner party essentials shop from former Infatuation editor Katherine Lewin. Here, you'll find some of our favorite goodies for hosting or being the most welcome guest on the list, like cocktail napkins from Atelier Saucier ($28), Rodolphe Le Meunier butter ($15) and stunning glitter Lurex sponges (yes, you read that right!) from Hawkins New York ($6) to make cleaning up feel like a continuation of the party, even at the end of the night.
Can't make it to NYC? LA-based Flask and Field ships many of its party-friendly gifts and goodies nationwide, and we're partial to the Martini Picnic set complete with gin, vermouth, a stainless-steel Japanese jigger, and pickled green tomatoes for outdoor events ($225), as well as the Negroni Explorer Kit ($125).