Plan a Stylish Soirée

By Shayna Mace | Image credit: Libby Penner via Unsplash

Throwing a small friend or family gathering this year? There are easy ways to pull it all together. We talked to Renee Tantillo — team and design manager at Elevate Events, an event planning and design firm — for her best tips.


Utilizing color is key to creating a mood for a party or a tablescape. Tantillo likes to start with a neutral palette and then pepper in color as an accent. In general, she says warm colors and nature-inspired elements, such as stoneware and natural fabrics, are trending right now.

“[At the holidays] I try to stay away from cliché color palettes. For example, using orange and mustard at Thanksgiving. Christmas is always very green, so I like to start with a good base of neutral tones and infuse a pop or color or two … from there,” Tantillo explains.

For a recent event shoot she styled, Tantillo built the look around neutral-colored stoneware dishes and added warmth with a monochromatic palette of rose, berry and deep aubergine.


Forget about always buying brand-new table decor — you can source natural items from outside. That’s what Tantillo did here — the foliage in the centerpiece was sourced from her backyard.

“We didn’t use any florals, which I think is unique in itself. We stuck with deeper- colored leaves that were literally cut off of a tree in my backyard. So, you could utilize whatever is growing around you for a tablescape.”


Tantillo loves finding thrifted glassware (shown in the photos) for her smaller

events, and she’ll mix in different glasses for a mismatched, unique look. She also shops at World Market for affordable plates, bowls and flatware. And she likes Crate & Barrel and Pottery Barn for specialty items, like candlesticks and vases.

“Those upscale specialty items mixed with thrifted pieces can work really well together — without going crazy on your budget,” says Tantillo.

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