Friday Guest Blog Interview: Second City Soiree!

Today’s Friday Guest Blog interview brings us to the heart of Chicago – and over to the blog of a delightful hostess who shares her favorite tips, tricks and etiquette know-how on a daily basis at Second City Soiree. As an event coordinator with some of Chicago’s major venues, Jen artfully intertwines the expertise of hostessing large celebrations with her love of smaller events at home.

SecondCitySoiree.com was founded in 2008 by Jennifer, a Chicago native who considers the seemingly simple task of “having people over” a fine art (that can be fun, engaging and creative!).

Whether you’re hosting a party, dinner, luncheon, shin-dig, shower, barbecue, tête-à-tête, fiesta, or yes – even a soirée – you’ll find helpful ideas and tid-bits to pull off the perfect event. One of my favorites: how-to videos that share delicious cocktail recipes and even a helpful reminder on how to properly set a place setting (does the bread plate go on the left or right side…)

When not writing and researching for Second City Soiree, Jen authors lifestyle articles for the popular Chicagonista site, a series on Gals’ Guide called First Time Hostess, and features on luxury goods and services for Simply Magnificent – the blog of the Ritz-Carlton Residences on Michigan Avenue.

One of my favorite SCS tablesettings:

Up next, Jen’s clever answers to PDB’s four interview q’s, including three party killer don’ts, the elements to planning your own soiree (and where you can and can’t cut costs) as well as secrets to where Jen finds her SCS inspiration!

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{PDB Interview with Jen of Second City Soiree}

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What inspires your design style?

You know, it’s funny…for a while I struggled to define my aesthetic, as I’m inspired by (and appreciate) so many different styles. Finally, sometime last year I was able to articulate what I truly love: a mash-up of Marie Antoinette frill and W Hotel modern whimsy. Surely that doesn’t exist in real life, I thought. Then I went to Joel Robuchon’s restaurant in Las Vegas. Oh. My. The enormous crystal chandelier, the sleek purple banquettes…it’s so me. Imagine my glee when I discovered it was created by famed interior designer Pierre-Yves Rochon, who recently opened a branch in my hometown! Imagine the crush of reality when I realized what he must charge….

What do you love most about what you do?

The creativity and daily variety. One day it’s editing footage for my new how-to video series, the next it’s walking a trade show floor in search of new goodies for my readers. No two days are alike, but they’re all filled with creativity. I love that. The long hours fly by!

What are your favorite design trends?

Party decor has gotten so sophisticated in recent years. It’s almost like small scale restaurant decor. When doing a theme, you have two options: the hit-you-over-the-head, HEY! WE’VE GOT A THEME HERE! plastic stuff from the party store, or the more sophisticated DIY items that create a mood and hint at a theme. Let’s say you’re having a tropical party. It’s so much more chic to decorate your space with a few yards of bright fabric, complimentary tropical flowers (real or silk), and bamboo plates as opposed to blow-up palm trees and crepe-paper. It takes only slightly more effort, looks fantastic, plus the items are reusable.

What are three design suggestions that you would like to offer our readers?

{1} Avoid the Party Killers: Light, Space, and TV. This is my #1 piece of advice, and I’m adamant about it. There’s a reason it was the very first post on Second City Soiree! Read more here.

{2.} There are three elements in planning a party: Time, Money, and your “Vision” of the perfect party. Typically, you can save two of those. For the time it takes to make a few phone calls, you can get exactly the exact food and decorations you want, but it’ll cost you. Or, you can save money but will need to put in some hours at the stove or with your glue gun as you craft your vision. Lastly, you can be flexible about the menu, drinks, and decor if you go to the shops with a budget and a rough idea of what you want. I recently went the latter route on a party: I really wanted to serve an elaborate punch (in my head there were even edible flowers encased in ice), but just didn’t have the time to research recipes, buy ingredients, make the punch, and monitor the bowl all night. So instead, I bought some marula berry wine. Easier and less expensive, and judging by the empty bottles, everyone loved it!

{3} Plan in advance as much as possible, but don’t stress out if you need to resort to a “Plan B”. You’re the only one who will notice a little detail that had to be scrapped or reworked. Remember that your guests are there to have fun with you and each other! And if they’re not…well…time to make new friends! ;)

Thank you, Jen!
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Credits for Images: All photos belong to Jen of Second City Soiree with the exception of the Joel Robuchon Restaurant in Las Vegas and “Queen Bee” theme: marzipan bees, candles, bruschetta, flowers & lemons


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Comments

  1. says

    Yippee! Hi Jen! How fun to find you over here at Morgan’s! Thanks Morgan for inviting Jen! She IS the perfect hostess, you know.

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