As the holiday season winds down and the last ornaments are put away, most people are happy to take a break from entertaining. But spending time indoors with family and friends can add some spice to the otherwise dreary months ahead.
For hosts who want to entertain in style but don’t have the time or talent to fuss over tabletop designs, flower arrangements and the like, help is at hand. Manvi Drona-Hidalgo, a Takoma Park stylist and blogger (mochatini.net), is an authority on creating chic tablescapes for any occasion. When she’s not staging vignettes for HGTV, she helps clients create one-of-a-kind looks at home—without breaking the budget.
First, she meets with the client to discuss the scope of the party. “We talk about what’s on the menu and the flow of the event,” Drona-Hidalgo explains. “I see what they have at home and if we can buy one or two more elements.”
Drona-Hidalgo recommends that homeowners purchase a set of white dinner plates, which can be dressed up with colorful but less expensive dessert and salad plates as accents. “I might run to a thrift store and see if there’s anything in a color scheme we can play with,” she says. One of her favorite sources for unexpected finds is the Salvation Army. “You’d be amazed at what people in the Washington area give away—without knowing what they’re actually giving away.”
Drona-Hidalgo’s novel schemes may involve repurposing wallpaper as a table runner, creating napkins out of vibrant fabrics, and crafting fabulous centerpieces using unexpected materials—from ornamental oregano to hollow birch bark. She also helps clients fashion easy floral arrangements.
Another business, H.Bloom (hbloom.com), is generating local buzz for its flower subscription service. The startup, which also operates in New York, delivers fresh flowers to consumers’ doorsteps at an affordable price point, starting at $29 per delivery. “The last thing you want to worry about the day of a party is trying to find the right flowers to put the finishing touch on your space,” says Sean Wainwright, manager of H.Bloom in DC. “We’re completely open to rescheduling your delivery and getting you a fresh bouquet right before your event.”
Another new company, Host a Toast (hostatoast.com) puts a spin on the typical dinner party with special wine and spirits pairings led by wine experts or mixologists. “We bring an educational aspect to the typical party,” says founder Jacqueline Geyfman. “We focus on engaging guests and giving them a memorable experience so they walk away gaining something new.”