Dust off your entertainment skills with the help of these 5 party professionals

Chef Dane Hiett offers a range of decadent dishes, including charcuterie boards that are sure to please everyone. Photo by Aaron Colussi


The easiest, most efficient way to have a fabulous home gathering this season? Call on the experts.

Psst! The recipe for having a fabulous get-together at home doesn’t stop with a delicious menu, an inviting setting, and a kick-ass playlist. Most importantly, it requires a happy, stress-free host. The best and most efficient way to do this? Enlist the pros. We spoke with five local party planning professionals who will help you brush up on your hosting skills and wow your guests this fun season.

Photo by Aaron Colussi

1. Food

Who: “It was this cliché dishwasher story that rose through the ranks,” said Dane Hiett of his 16-year professional journey in the restaurant industry, which led him to open the restaurant company. luxury Chef Dane’s Kitchen in 2017. The list of dishes he has cooked up ready for recent events reads like the menu of a Michelin-starred restaurant; highlights include miso roasted butternut squash soup with celeriac cream and thyme oil, and charred octopus with smoked pistachio romesco, fried artichoke and basil chimichurri.
What he brings to the party: “We want to compete with some of the best restaurants in Denver, but we bring it to your house,” says Hiett, adding that her team will come up with everything they need for their three- to five-course dinners, including equipment. , dishes, and food 60% already prepared offsite, whether you’re throwing a party for six or 60.

Hiett’s tips for a high-end party

1. “Try not to overcomplicate it. A lot of people who read cooking magazines think you need to add 14 ingredients to a dish, and they miss the important aspects of cooking, like searing a steak properly or not opening the dish. oven door every two minutes to look inside.
2. “You don’t need four or five different dishes, let three be the stars, treat them right and let them sing.”
3. “In the fall, it’s about earthy tones, more root vegetables, more herbs – you want more convenience in your food than in the summer. Our Braised Short Rib Agnolotti are perfect for cooler fall weather.

The cost: Chef Dane’s private dinners start at $ 85 per person; tickets start at $ 35 per person.

2. The decor

Photo by Aaron Colussi

Who: Jenni and Andrew Lietz met and fell in love at events held at the Ritz-Carlton, Denver. They realized that helping create megawatt experiences was their true calling – “I always showed up early to events to make things prettier,” Jenni recalls – and in 2017 they founded Wallflower Rentals. Now, the Lietzes help hosts spruce up their own evenings with a wide choice of furniture and decor rentals, and they offer a full event design service for guests who prefer a more manual approach.
What they bring to the party: In their 4,000 square foot warehouse in Longmont and on their website, you’ll find notable pieces ranging from living room furniture (think: dusty blue wingback chairs; kilim-wrapped ottomans) to tableware (including silverware and the trendy rose gold blush – pink goblets) to textiles (cowhide rugs; boho cushions), all with no minimum rental if you do the pickup and drop-off (a minimum of $ 500 applies for the service Delivery). Coming soon: Themed party boxes featuring crockery, linens and glassware, so you can wow your friends with a Great Gatsby-inspired dinner or set the stage for an al fresco picnic in a garden in the blink of an eye.

Jenni’s tips for an upscale party

1. “Everything about a table setting doesn’t have to be the same. I love to mix different metals and finishes.
2. “Source event style ideas from your personal life. For a recent wedding, we had a local chalk artist make a specialty drink sign with a portrait of the couple’s dog – and the drink was named after the dog as well.

The cost: Wallflower Rentals offers unique decorative pieces for as little as $ 5 a day.

3. The music

Photo by Aaron Colussi

Who: Simone Pier, 31 from Denver and behind DJ Simone Says, has been a house DJ for famous rap and pop artists including Kendrick Lamar and Willow Smith, a career she had dreamed of since she was a teenager. “When I was 12, I attended a summer day camp where we did a workshop with a DJ. I came home that day and begged my mom for some turntables, ”Pier says. She attributes this early obsession to her booming business. “It was really a passion for me – I didn’t start trying to monetize it, that’s why I succeeded. “
What she brings to the party: “I don’t care if it’s 10 people or 50,000 people, I’m able to connect with the audience and give them that really personal experience,” says Pier, who has performed his genre mixes at various venues in Denver. from Empower Field in Mile High to Family Jones Spirit House in LoHi to private residences.

Pier tips for an upscale party

1. “I usually start with older, classic, upbeat songs that almost everyone will know, like ‘Pretty Young Thing’ by Michael Jackson. People really appreciate nostalgic music. I’m going to throw in testers for the first 15 minutes to see which crowd catches, then from there I plan the rest of the night.
2. “For sound levels, I usually start at the bottom, especially if it’s a social event where people are going to be talking and the music isn’t the main reason they’re there – it’s for. lighten the mood or provide background noise. As people drink or loosen up, I’ll turn up the sound and bass as they want to dance.

The cost: You can hire DJ Simone Says to shoot at your private event for around $ 150 an hour.

Photo by Aaron Colussi

4. Drinks

Who: “I was probably 29 when I thought, ‘What am I doing with my life? I thought I was getting too old to be a bartender, ”explains Crystal Sagan, who founded Cocktail Caravan in 2016. So, after a stint in publishing, she launched a craft beverage service for events of all sizes, with Bandit. the bike bar and a 15ft long 1960s caravan bar named Lolita. It kicked off with a particularly delicious drink: “I threw a 300-person wedding and made some hand-mixed cucumber margaritas, and they were a huge hit – the phone never stopped going. ring from there, ”says Sagan.
What she brings to the party: Expertly crafted cocktails to suit all tastes, whether you’re looking for a classic negroni or a signature cocktail made with locally distilled Breckenridge bourbon and ingredients freshly picked from Longmont Farms. But this mixologist knows that it is not (only) about quality drinks. “We recognize that no one really needs our help to get a little drunk – it’s something people are very capable of doing on their own! Sagan said. “But we make it more fun and easier [for hosts], too. ”(And for the abstainers, she happily shakes up mocktails, a specialty she perfected during her pregnancy this year.)

Sagan’s tips for an upscale party

1. “Prep, prep, prep. Anything you can do ahead of time, like make lemon juice or make simple syrup, do it to get things ready.
2. “Use fresh ingredients and don’t skimp on citrus. It’s tempting to buy Whole Foods brand lemon juice, but if it comes off a shelf it has been pasteurized meaning it has been heated and has lost its flavor profile and much of its dynamism.

The cost: Cocktail Caravan’s personalized bar packages start at $ 625 for Bandit and $ 1,060 for Lolita.

5. The flowers

Who: Beet & Yarrow’s floral designs are anything but stylish and correct, and that’s how owner Kimberly Hyde likes them. “We have a more organic approach to flowers – not super traditional or tight,” says Hyde, who worked as a graphic designer before launching his business, specializing in wild and whimsical arrangements, in 2012. “Botany has always been very appealing. for me, and I wanted to combine design with the living.
What she brings to the party: “There are [predominantly] two sides of the floral industry in Denver – one is really upscale and the other is cheaper, but lacks a lot of creativity, ”Hyde said. “We’re trying to achieve the happy medium of easy online ordering and delivery in a really fresh style. Options include Dolly, a burst of marigolds, oranges, pampas grass and golden chrysanthemums (starting at $ 69) and Designer’s Choice, an assortment of seasonal flowers hand-picked by the Beet & Yarrow staff.

Photo by Aaron Colussi

Hyde’s tips for an upscale party

1. “Fall is the best time for flowers; we have the most [varieties] available to us, both imported and locally grown. In the fall, I always recommend amaranths, zinnias, and dahlias, and flowering herbs like dill or basil can be really fun.
2. “Have your flowers delivered the day before your event, so that they are as open and showy as possible.”
3. “You don’t want anything bigger than 10 inches on a table for a dinner party, so people can communicate. We tend to make arrangements lower with a little volume.

The cost: Beet & Yarrow offers vase arrangements starting at $ 59.

This article appeared in the October / November 2021 issue of 5280 Home.


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