The 2019 Salonniere 100: America’s Best Party Hosts

2019 Salonniere 100

We’ll have such wonderful times together.

It’s time to pop open and pour the bubbles, party lovers. After six months of querying social authorities and local in-the-know experts—including journalists, philanthropists, not-for-profit fundraisers, social luminaries, event planners, and cultural and business leaders—from coast to coast, we’re ready to reveal the 2019 Salonniere 100, our list of America’s 100 best party hosts.

The fourth annual installment of the Salonniere 100, this year’s list includes honorees from 33 U.S. cities and represents a diverse and brilliantly creative group of people who share one common trait: an exceptional ability to leverage the power of parties to enhance the lives of others.

“Social gatherings play a vital role in our lives and communities, whether to connect people, advance ideas, support causes, or promote joyfulness, and those who host them well provide a great gift to humanity,” said Carla McDonald, The Salonniere’s founder and editor in chief. “The Salonniere 100 is our way of honoring those who are extraordinary at hosting events with passion and purpose and using the power of parties to unite, enhance, and improve the lives of others.”

Among those making their debut on the Salonniere 100 this year are:

  • Jennifer Aniston (Los Angeles). Known for her deep-rooted love of entertaining, Aniston is regarded as the “social glue” that holds together the mover-and-shaker crowd in Hollywood. She recently threw herself a headline-grabbing 50th birthday party that underscored her exemplary hosting skills: among the attendees were Aniston’s ex-husband Brad Pitt and his ex-girlfriend Gwyneth Paltrow, along with Aniston’s ex-beau John Mayer, his ex-girlfriend Katy Perry and her current beau Orlando Bloom.

2019 Salonniere 100

Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union at Union’s 46th birthday party. Photo via E! News

  • Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade (Miami). The Miami Heat basketball player and his actress-activist wife are well-known in Miami for their über-creative, lively, and elaborate theme parties. Last October, to celebrate Union’s 46th birthday party, they hosted a 90s-themed birthday bash that featured a surprise performance by Lil’ Kim. No wonder E! News recently said: “Nobody throws a party like Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade.”
  • Jill Kargman (New York). Author and former Odd Mom Out writer and actress, Kargman is known for throwing high-spirited soirées that combine style with wicked sophistication. Her wit, irreverence, and attention to detail—even down to themed toilet paper—are legendary, making her parties fun and full of surprises.

2019 Salonniere 100

Sara Blakely celebrated her recent birthday in Turks and Caicos. Photo via @sarablakely

  • Sara Blakely (Atlanta), the founder and chief executive officer of Spanx. Blakely hosts parties to build relationships among women and promote girl power. She regularly hosts fundraisers for charities that empower women and uses her birthday as an opportunity to invite a group of women on a surprise adventure that will help them connect, bond, and grow.
  • Mike Meldman (Los Angeles), the billionaire real estate developer and partner—along with George Clooney and Rande Gerber—in Meldman was recently labeled “Real Estate’s Party Boy” by the Wall Street Journal and for good reason. His parties are sexy, fun, and filled with tequila and interesting people; his annual Halloween bash is one of the hottest party invitations in the country to score.

Derek Blasberg and Victoria Beckham

  • Derek Blasberg (New York), a fashion journalist and international bon vivant. Most recently, Blasberg, who has been called the “BFF of seemingly every celebrity ever,” hosted a party during London Fashion Week to celebrate Victoria Beckham’s new YouTube Channel. The chic fête attracted everyone from Chris Rock and Joel Edgerton to Alexa Chung and Olivia Palermo and included a performance by drag troupe, The Spice Gurrls.

Among those making a return appearance on the Salonniere 100 are:

  • Patricia Barnstable Brown and Priscilla Barnstable (Louisville). The former Doublemint twins host an annual Kentucky Derby party that raises more than $10 million each year for diabetes research and draws a fascinating mix of guests—from actors Blair Underwood and Ty Burrell and musicians Kid Rock and Boyz II Men to athletes Tony Romo, Tara Lipinski, and Johnny Weir.

2019 Salonniere 100

Ambassador al-Sabah and Sheikha Rima al-Sabah with Lea Berman and Jeremy Barnard at a party celebrating their book, Treating People Well. Photo via @rimaalsabah2

  • Sheikha Rima al-Sabah, the wife of Kuwait’s Ambassador to the United States (Washington, D.C.). Al-Sabah is known for hosting purpose-driven fundraisers that are bridge-builders, attracting politicos from both sides of the aisle as well as Hollywood luminaries. In 2018, her parties raised millions of dollars to support refugees and displaced women. Marie Claire once noted that she has “single-handedly strengthened ties between the U.S. and Kuwait and changed our view of Arab women.”  
  • Oprah Winfrey (Santa Barbara). The media mogul and philanthropist uses parties to raise awareness for important issues and connect and empower others. Guests called her “Girls Getaway” 65th birthday party last month “inspiring, uplifting, and empowering.” In a story on The Salonniere, event-designer-to-the-stars Colin Cowie said Oprah is the one person in his mind who stands out as a great party host.

2019 Salonniere 100

Stephanie Nass. Photo via @chefanienass

  • Stephanie Nass (New York). The culinary influencer hosts a modern supper club that brings together friends—and friends of friends—twice a month for dinners inspired by the culinary and visual arts.
  • Alessandra Branca (Chicago). The Rome-born interior designer brings her extraordinary design skills to her dinner parties by creating tabletop environments that are so beautiful they read like art installations.

2019 Salonniere 100

The list is alphabetical by city and by first name within each city. Only cities with a sufficient number of nominees are included. The nominees most frequently mentioned were reviewed by The Salonniere team to compile the final list. Honorees are listed as they were nominated most frequently, i.e., as an individual or couple. Event professionals are not eligible. 

Aspen, Colorado

  • Amy and John Phelan

Atlanta, Georgia           

Austin, Texas

  • Kirstin and Joe Ross
  • Mary Herr Tally

Bergen County, New Jersey

  • Herb Karlitz

Boston, Massachusetts

  • Christy Cashman

Charleston, South Carolina

Charlotte, North Carolina

  • Chandra Johnson
  • Laura Vinroot Poole

Chicago, Illinois

  • Alessandra Branca
  • Cynthia Chereskin
  • Irene Michaels

Corpus Christi, Texas         

  • Ronda Carman

Dallas, Texas

Denver, Colorado            

  • Christine Vazquez
  • Laura Moretz

Detroit, Michigan            

  • Grace Montero and Jay Rayford

Fort Worth, Texas

  • Cami Goff
  • Mercedes Bass

The Hamptons, New York           

  • Audrey Gruss
  • Kelli Delaney Kot
  • Tony Ingrao and Randy Kemper

Houston, Texas

Lexington, Kentucky

Little Rock, Arkansas

  • Shayla Copas

Louisville, Kentucky

  • Priscilla Barnstable and Patricia Barnstable-Brown
  • Tammy York Day and Tonya York Dees

Los Angeles, California

  • Cheryl Saban
  • Crystal Lourd
  • Hutton Wilkinson
  • Irena Medavoy
  • Jamie Tisch
  • Jennifer Aniston
  • Liane Weintraub
  • Mike Meldman
  • Nadine and Fred Rosen
  • Renvy Pittman
  • Stephanie Booth Shafran
  • Suzanne Rheinstein
  • Timothy Corrigan

Miami, Florida

  • Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade
  • Stephanie Sayfie Aagaard
  • Swanee DiMare
  • Yolanda and Jeff Berkowitz

Nashville, Tennessee

  • Ellen Martin
  • Keith Meacham

New Orleans, Louisiana

New York, New York

Newport, Rhode Island

Palm Beach, Florida

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Phoenix, Arizona          

  • Carolyn Jackson

Provincetown, Massachusetts

  • John Dowd and Dan Minahan

San Diego, California

  • Bridget McKenna
  • Rebecca and David Vigil

San Francisco, California

  • Anne Hearst McInerney and Jay McInerney
  • Aubrey Brewster
  • Ken Fulk
  • Monelle Totah and Gary McNatton
  • Sloan Barnett

Santa Barbara, California          

  • Frances Schultz
  • Oprah Winfrey

Savannah, Georgia

  • Alexandra Trujillo de Taylor

Washington, D.C.         

  • Ambassador Gerard Araud
  • Buffy Cafritz
  • Hilary and Wilbur Ross
  • Juleanna Glover
  • Katherine and David Bradley
  • Sheikha Rima Al-Sabah

The 2019 Salonniere 100

Welcome Photo and Quote Mashup

Welcome Photo: Lucille Ball, circa 1950
Welcome Quote: A Place in the Sun, 1951

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