Party-Planning Tips from a “Real Housewife of NYC”


Jennifer Gilbert‘Tis the season to throw a party, but that’s never as easy as it should look. “When it comes to event logistics, practical is beautiful,” says Jennifer Gilbert, founder of Save the Date, an event-planning company based on Harrison Street. “You can have the best caterer, the most gorgeous flowers, or the coolest venue—but if people can’t get a drink or they leave starving, then the party will be remembered that way.” Gilbert, who is also co-owner of baby-carrier company Portamee and a married mother of three, has somehow found time to take on a recurring role on the upcoming third season of Bravo’s Real Housewives of New York City. Here are her 10 tips for making your holiday party fabulous.

1. Make a cheat sheet of the cell-phone numbers of all companies and staff you’re using. If there’s an issue or someone is running late, you have the right contact info in front of you (instead of looking through a contract for a cell-phone number that probably isn’t on there anyway).

2. Station the bar as far back into the space as possible, to draw the crowd away from the front door and avoid a bottleneck getting in or out. I like to put the bar near a dance floor; that way the toe-tappers will be more likely to start dancing after a drink or two.

3. Who likes lines? The first experience your guests will have is checking their coat.  Prepare for it. Have an attendant (or two) with coat racks, so people can check coats quickly and start enjoying the party. If the line backs up, pull someone to grab the guests’ coats and give them a number.

4. When waiters pass wine and soda or water upon arrival, it takes the pressure off the bar, and people feel more comfortable entering if they have a drink in their hand.

5. Hors d’oeuvres should be cute, perfectly mouth-size portions of food, and not—and this is my pet peeve—so big that after you take one bite the other half lands on your dress. Passing is also a great way to serve dessert. (I say calories don’t count if they’re consumed standing up.)

6. P.S. If you’re serving food on skewers, have a half a lemon placed on the tray so that guests can stick their dirty skewers in it.

7. Don’t position candles directly under floral centerpieces. I have put out more than my fair share of fires!

8. Invest in a few people to bus the tables.

9. As the host/hostess, you have to listen to your senses. If the music sounds too loud, it probably is (or if you’re screaming, everyone else is probably screaming, too). If you’re hot, chances are everyone else is, too.

10. The most important piece of advice: Breathe, relax, and have fun. Events take on a life of their own, and they have their own energy. Sometimes they don’t go according to plan, and all you can do is roll with it. If you raise your glass and laugh it off, your guests will, too.


1 Comment

  1. I have been to events planned and run by Save the Date , and they have been incredible. Elegant, creative, smooth, relaxed, fun. A+++