Darcy Miller does it all. Martha Stewart “bestie,” founding editor of Martha Stewart Weddings, illustrator extraordinaire, fête planner for celebs including Drew Barrymore and Blake Lively, and self-proclaimed “confetti connoisseur,” Darcy is among the first people we consult when planning a chic and personalized soirée. To commemorate her book, Celebrate Everything! Fun Ideas to Bring Your Parties to Life (Harper Collins), we invited her to The Salonniere’s virtual cocktail party and asked her our favorite questions. Here, top tips from the woman who illustrates party favors for Preston Bailey and Dylan Lauren, who invented Gummy Bear cake (yes, it’s as cute and delicious as it sounds), and whose Limoncello-Tini is our latest cocktail crush.
What three words would you use to describe your entertaining style?
Creative, personal, and fun.
What is your preferred way to entertain? Large parties? Small parties? Cocktail parties? Dinner parties?
I like to plan all types of parties, but my favorites are always at home and with close family and friends. I like cocktail parties too because you can include more people.
What party do you wish you could go back in time to attend?
My parents’ wedding.
What do you consider your greatest party victory?
I gave a surprise 50th birthday dinner party for my husband, and he was really surprised!
What is the best party you’ve ever been to and why?
My favorite parties are my kids’ birthday parties and, lucky for me, I have three daughters. We’re always in planning mode! I love to work with a theme that relates to what their interests are at each age – and the best part is planning it with them. In my house, it’s all about “D.I.T” – doing it together.
Tell us about your dream party. In whose honor would it be, what would be the theme, where would it take place, and who would be in attendance?
My dream party is not so far from one that I actually threw. I had a ton of fun hosting a celebration for my parents’ 50th anniversary. It was a small dinner party with my sister and our respective families. I filled the table with lots and lots of photos from our lives, and we spent the night telling stories and toasting them. Each and every grandchild took part! It was intimate, personal, and memorable.
We love all the things that you list as possible reasons for throwing a party in Celebrate Everything!, like quitting your job, getting a new haircut, et al. What’s the craziest reason you’ve thrown a party?
For me, celebrations don’t always have to mean a party. Sometimes the smallest acknowledgment of a milestone is what counts, even if it’s just putting a candle in a morning croissant or a waffle. In my house, our favorite birthday tradition is to make a prettily decorated breakfast table…and we do it for half-birthdays too!
Who are the caterers, florists, and event planners with whom you most enjoy collaborating?
I’ve been fortunate to establish some very special relationships over the years with many experts, so it’s hard to choose a favorite. But in the back of Celebrate Everything! there’s a resource guide, and I feature a few people from my “dream team.” They include caterer Peter Callahan, event designer David Stark, stationer Cheree Berry, and photographer Donna Newman. I always say that if you’re throwing a bigger party, hiring a planner is an invaluable investment. Recently, Jennifer Zabinski (JZ Events) helped coordinate the details of my book launch, and I didn’t have to worry about anything; everything was taken care of beautifully.
What are your three best party-hosting tips?
The 3 Ps: Plan ahead, pick a color palette, and make it personal.
What are your three party must-haves?
The 3 Cs: Confetti, Champagne, and candy.
What are your favorite online party resources?
Oh Happy Day, Etsy, Oriental Trading, For Your Party, and Minted.
What are your three biggest party pet peeves?
Music that’s too loud, outdoor parties that are held in too-cold or too-hot weather, and parties held in inconvenient locations.
In your view, what’s the most overlooked party detail?
Being a relaxed hostess is key. We forget that, but it makes the biggest difference.
If you had a budget of just $100 for party décor, what would you buy?
Scores of votive candles, flowers from a local market, confetti, and candy in the color scheme—to scatter on the table!
What’s one entertaining trend that has overstayed its welcome? We nominate Mason jars.
Ha! Yes, Mason jars are done.
And hot trends?
You should always do what you love instead of focusing on trends. However, silent discos happen to be big these days. I was just at the Engage wedding conference, and Élan Artists set one up for an event; it was a huge hit.
Playing Favorites with Darcy Miller
Calvin Klein Basso with gold trim or Richard Ginori’s Impero Fiesole
Anything Juliska or Food 52’s Etched Star glassware
West Elm gold flatware
The domed cake-stand from Martha Stewart Collection
Brand of table linens?
Powder room soap?
Powder room candle?
Hostess present to give?
Why, of course, my book: Celebrate Everything!
And, finally, fill in the blank: It’s a Darcy Miller party when…
It’s filled with thoughtful surprises, and you leave with a personalized favor.
Click here to read more of our interviews with outstanding party hosts and here for interviews with the best event professionals.