The Party Planning Guide
Parties are best when they can actually be enjoyed: Whether it’s a kids birthday, a landmark anniversary, or a wedding, there’s no reason it has to involve blood, sweat, and a fat rolodex. Here, a comprehensive list of trusted vendors for everything from vintage tableware rentals to organic-only catering to gourmet cotton candy carts. And if all else fails, a slew of skilled event planners.
Cloud Catering's Michelin-trained chefs spend the same amount of time and effort on presentation—the dishes seriously look like edible works of art—as they do on crafting insanely delicious recipes, which is precisely why we love them (and had them do the food for both our Diane von Furstenberg collaboration dinner and our Net-a-Porter celebration).
Putnam & Putnam160 Fifth Ave., Flatiron | 917.671.6847
Operated by husband-and-husband team Michael and Darroch, these gorgeous, otherworldy arrangements grace the tabletops of some of the city's most exquisite events (weddings included). They also deliver smaller-scale arrangements and—better yet—they also host classes and workshops.
Denise Fasanello Flowers203 Columbia St., Carroll Gardens | 718.791.1561
Denise Fasanello is a fine artist by trade, so it makes sense that her arrangements have a museum-worthy quality. She's particularly skilled in trimming arrangements with wildflowers and rustic elements, which creates a texture and volume that's as unexpected as it it beautiful.
Fleurs NYC120 W. 28th St., Chelsea | 646.436.6420
Fleurs NYC supplied the incredible hydrangea centerpieces for our Net-a-Porter garden party. Their aesthetic is clean and approachable, so nothing feels overdone.
Sonnier & Castle554 W. 48th St., Hell's Kitchen | 212.957.6481
This is fancy, white-glove catering at its best. Sonnier & Castle is famous for hiring experienced chefs from the finest NYC restaurants, which in turn translates to sophisticated finger foods, plated dinners, and buffets. What's great is that they can take care of all the details—waiter uniforms and wine pairings included.
It's thanks to Elan Artists that we were lucky enough to have the accordion-wielding Carte Blanche Band perform at our Net-a-Porter dinner. Their roster of entertainers is as deep as it is broad, with acts that run the gamut from cabaret-style burlesque dancers to string quartets to a Jersey Boys tribute band.
Ramblin’ Dan| 860.933.0197
Ramblin' Dan (aka Dan Griffith) and sometimes his wife Julie Dicterow are hands down our number one pick when it comes to kid's party entertainment. Their focus is on getting little ones to express themselves through music, so naturally, audience participation is a big part of the experience.
Jennifer Sosa Photographyhello@jennifersosa.com
While her portfolio is dedicated predominantly to weddings, Jennifer Sosa's detail-centric style would lend itself nicely to any special occasion. She's also a born-and-bred New Yorker, so her knowledge of the city comes in handy when it comes to location-scouting.
Small Masterpiece| 213.229.8800
Jason Murakawa is the guy you contact if you want your tables set with Havilland porcelain, antique sterling silver flatware, and circa 1860 crystal goblets. Small Masterpiece can also provide table settings for your party in Los Angeles. Photo credit: Styled by Bellafare, shot by Heather Waraksa
Corrin Arasa's collection of vintage couches, chairs, rugs, and tables is so vast that it lives in a 5,000-square-foot warehouse in Brooklyn (open to visitors by appointment only). And it's not all large-scale furniture either—take a peek at the miles-long roster of smaller rentable props like lamps, baskets, floor pillows, and surfboards.
Flower Girl NYC245 Eldridge St., Lower East Side | 212.777.0050
With two adorable shops and a decade's worth of experience crafting extraordinary, seasonal bouquets, Denise Porcaro kind of spearheaded the boutique floral movement in NYC. She's also responsible for the recent resurgence of flower crowns, which make for sweet bridal shower and birthday party additions.
Though Mr. Boddigton's one-of-a-kind creations are the stuff of legend, they've put custom services on hold for a while. Luckily, the collection of pre-designed invitations, place cards, thank you notes, and more is plenty to tide you over.
Venamour Wedding Ephemerainfo@venamour.com
Run by art director and designer Lisa Hedge, Venamour's dreamy wedding stationery suites are broken down into three floral-themed collections: botanical, wildflower, and viridian. Each one is even more beautiful than the last.
Hannah Thomson Photographymail@hannahthomson.com
Hannah Thomson isn't so much an event photographer as a portrait master. Her expertise is really in capturing people—candid, posed, and everything in between.
The Fashion Chef Cakes220 36th St., Industry City Food Hall, Brooklyn | 718.369.3003
The reason why Charlotte Neuville is dubbed the Fashion Chef is because she spent close to three decades in the biz (she was pretty high up at Gap Inc.) before leaving it all behind to bake couture cakes full-time. But it seems the industry refuses to let her go; she's been asked to design cakes for everyone from Alber Elbaz to Barneys.
People’s Pops & Shaved Ice347.850.2388
You've probably seen People's Pops all over the city (they regularly set up shop at the High Line and Brooklyn Flea), and if you haven't tried their real-fruit pops or shave ice, you really should. For special events, they do custom flavors and fancy champagne-popsicle cocktails.
Luminous Designs Lighting141 Central Ave., Farmingdale | 866.678.5444
These guys specialize in the kind of techy stuff (lighting and audio visual design) that would make the average person's head spin. Coincidentally, it's the behind-the-scenes stuff that has the power to make or break a special event, and they nail it every time.
Stefanie Cove51 W. 81 St., Upper East Side | 917.601.3630
Stefanie Cove is the mastermind behind some of the most memorable goop events (our dinner with Net-a-Porter and last year’s celebration with Diane von Furstenberg), not to mention a goop staffer's wedding. Not only is she the managing partner at Yifat Oren & Associates—one of the most respected companies in the space—but she really is the very best planner around, with a deep rolodex of amazing vendors.
Mimi Brown Studio Flowers917.428.7813
Mimi Brown's background is in fashion (she had a stint at Zac Posen before transitioning back to her floral business), and it shows. Her bouquets are discerningly elegant—never over-designed or fussy, kind of like you did the floral arrangements yourself...but better.
Jacqueline Suskin’s Poem Store
Sure you can have a fantastic gathering without the services of Jacqueline Suskin and her old-timey typewriter, but why would you want to? She can set up her Poem Store virtually anywhere and will tap out beautiful, one-of-a-kind poems for guests right on the spot.
Magbooth502.930.0043 | email@example.com
Magbooth is kind of like the people's photo booth: Take your pick of prop and custom logos and never worry about going over some preset picture limit. The best part, though, is that ever rental includes an attendant, which significantly minimizes mid-party technical difficulties.
Robert Pesany245 W. 29th St., Chelsea | 212.686.6502
Why we love Robert's floral services: You tell him what kind of flowers you like, and what your color scheme is; he comes along and personally makes beautiful flower arrangements in your space.
Mary Giuliani135 W. 20th St., Chelsea | 212.725.1658
For events that require not only meticulous attention to detail when it comes to the décor and organization, but also pitch-perfect food, Mary Giuliani and her team are the go-to. Everything from flowers to mixology to décor (and more) comes as a part of her service. She intertwines the latest in the food and entertaining worlds, exemplified in her recent collaboration with Chef Mario Batali. If you’re looking to bring the flavors of your favorite Batali restaurant to your next party, Mario by Mary catering offers seasonally inspired Italian menus that will surely create a memorable culinary experience. For a quick taste of the collaboration, check out Mario by Mary's new Italian fast casual concept at The Pennsy.
Emily Thompson Flowers142 Beekman St., South Street Seaport | 212.882.1384
Vermont native Emily Thompson earned an MFA in sculpture from UCLA, a fact that’s evident in all of her floral centerpieces—yes, she uses flowers (which tend to be as wild and fecund as possible), but she builds them into boutiques that look like they might have sprung from a Renaissance painting. There are brambles, and sticks, and over-ripe pieces of fruit, all done up to pretty stunning effect.
Florisity1 W. 19th St., Flatiron | 212.366.0891
Legendary florist Katsuya Nishimori first made a name for himself as the chief floral designer at the floral shop inside the Japanese department store Takashimaya. When Takashimaya shuttered in 2010, Nishimori and his team opened up their own place in Flatiron. They're known for daring, architectural arrangements with a distinctly Japanese aesthetic. Most of the flowers come from their organic farm in upstate New York, about 80 miles north of the city.
L’Olivier Floral Atelier19 E. 76th St., Upper East Side | 212.774.7676
L'Olivier Floral Atelier consistently produces some of the most remarkable floral arrangements in New York: You can find Olivier Giugni's work in monumental arrangements in hotels and restaurants all over the city, but you can also have smaller arrangements tailored to your home. He's a great resource if you’re planning a wedding or a party.