Sydney Carver: From the candles to the flowers to the food and drink, each piece of the puzzle can make or break the night.
My first stop is on the North Shore at Cardello Electric Supply & Lighting.
The perfect nude shoe is Jimmy Choo's Esme Pump. This will take you from running errands to a dinner party at home!
Comfort and style with dark wash skinny jeans, cashmere cable knit sweater, ballet flats and a big tote bag to bring home all of your dinner party preparations!
By Sydney Carver
There’s an iconic photo of Jacqueline Kennedy that I have loved forever. She is in the White House, draped in a stunning strapless gown, and her signature triple strand of pearls hangs delicately around her neck as she lights the taper candles at a small, but formal dining table. The photo is ages old, but I still look to it for inspiration.
There is something so elegant and intimate when hosting your own dinner party. From the candles to the flowers to the food and drink, each piece of the puzzle can make or break the night.
I am headed out to prep for my own dinner party, so I’ll take you along to illustrate how I prepare. First thing’s first: When running all over Pittsburgh, comfort is key. I opt for dark-wash skinny jeans, a cashmere cable knit sweater, Chanel flats, and a Barbour jacket. I always make sure to bring some extra canvas L.L. Bean totes so that everything makes it home in one piece!
My first stop is on the North Shore at Cardello Electric Supply & Lighting. Lighting is one of the most important aspects of hosting a dinner party—or really any party for that matter. The lighting sets the tone as to what the night will bring.
One of the easiest ways to escalate your space as well as add some dim, romantic lighting to any room is by opting for a gorgeous chandelier, and Cardello has many different options for all different tastes and budgets. I opt for a classic crystal chandelier that is sure to set the tone for the night: romantic elegance! Besides overhead lighting, Cardello has many other products and services, so I make sure to browse their lamps and furniture.
I’ve got my chandelier, but there’s still more to be done in terms of lighting. As I make my way from the North Shore to Shadyside, I work on adding to my Spotify dinner party playlist, which has all of the greats from Frank Sinatra to Wynton Marsalis. I arrive at Toadflax in Shadyside where I pick up several diptyque figuier candles. Scent is one of the easiest ways to change a person’s mood, so if you light the same scent every time your guests are in your home, they’ll remember it as your signature scent! I also spot some great accents for my blue-and-white-themed tablescape that I grab before I check out.
Next up on my list is to snag a new pair of shoes! Hosting a dinner party is a great excuse to walk into Choices on Walnut Street, which has a delightful selection of all of my favorite high-end shoe brands. I eye a gorgeous pair of Jimmy Choo’s and know that I’ve found the one. A classic, neutral heel will be sure to elongate my legs and pair well with any dress I decide to wear.
The next stop is right down the street at Prantl’s Bakery. Want to guess what I pick up? Named the “Greatest Cake in America” by The Huffington Post, the burnt almond torte is a delicious crowd-pleaser and makes for the perfect dinner party dessert. I try hard to resist getting a treat for myself!
I then head over to Regent Square to pick up the gorgeous arrangement I ordered from Hepatica. No dinner party is complete without fresh blooms! Flowers are always the centerpiece of any table, and white roses and hydrangeas are my signature arrangement. The scent of fresh flowers is intoxicating, so I always ask for a few extra roses to place in bud vases for the bathrooms. I plan to place the floral arrangement in blue-and-white Chinoiserie ginger jars of varying sizes down the middle of the table. Usually when choosing a color scheme, I pick one or two colors and then an accent color; in this case, my primary colors are blue and white with gold as an accent.
Next up? Time to choose the china, silver and glassware at All Occasions Party Rental. I choose the Kingston dishware collection—a gorgeous deep navy and gold-rimmed china set. The Kingston setting pairs nicely with a gold beaded charger, and I complete my table setting with the Schott Zwiesel Pure stemware glassware collection. The juxtaposition of the classic china against the more modern stemware is fantastic and adds dimension to the table. And the best part about renting china and glasses? You don’t have to fill up your dishwasher with the china—they take care of the cleaning for you!
We’re checking things off the list left and right, but I could use a little caffeine, so I pop into Espresso A Mano in Lawrenceville to grab a cappuccino, as well as some beans to brew to pair with the burnt almond torte. Once I am fully caffeinated, I stroll down the street to No. 14 Boutique, which may be the chicest boutique in Pittsburgh. After previewing a few of the amazing pieces that they have in stock on Snapchat (No_14lville), I knew they would have the perfect hostess dress for me! The store is light and bright and filled with ensembles for a multitude of occasions. The boutique is carefully curated and each piece is unique.
Last, but most certainly not least, it’s time to stock up on libations. No dinner party is complete without a well-stocked bar. An important part of playing hostess is catering to your guests’ needs, so make sure you know what your guests like to drink, and have it on hand. I stop into the local Fine Wine and Good Spirits store and grab several bottles of my favorite bubbly, Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label. Finally, our adventure has ended … is there time for a quick nap before the guests arrive?
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