By Cristina Corvino
Party planner to the stars Marcy Blum has worked on events for everyone from Kevin Bacon, Billy Joel and Lebron James to The Rockefellers, so she's no stranger to the mix of stress and excitement that comes with hosting parties in general -- let alone around the holidays.
When we got the chance to chat with Marcy, she spilled on the oddest party-planning request she's ever received, her partnership with and love for HomeGoods and her life-saving gift-"wrapping" trick (Hint: It requires one item that's not wrapping paper).
Check it all out below!
As an event planner, what's the oddest party request you get around the holidays?
Well, usually people want a catered event to look as if they cooked it -- which really means just taking catered food and replacing the vessels that it came in. [Laughs] You know, great big urns or home-style pots or copper bowls -- things that don't look like party rentals either, but look like they came out of your own cabinets.
What's the most unique party favor idea you have?
I like really personal party favors. I don't think it's worth giving unless it's funny or has some meaning [behind it]. My personal favorite is baking something great. When I have the time, [I like] doing a bread pudding and giving a crock of that with the recipe, so if people really like it, they can make it.
Click through for some of Marcy's best tips (but don't forget to keep reading!):
What's the biggest party faux pas a host can make?
I think there is a sense sometimes that people are overly proud of themselves. I think people should be magnanimous and inclusive and really hospitable -- but it's something else to say "Don't you think the food is delicious?" or "Isn't my place gorgeous?" I'm always amazed when people do that [and] try to make you feel as if you should feel lucky to be invited.
Are there any products you swear by as an entertainer?
Frankly, I've always been a fan of HomeGoods, but since I've been working with them, I've gotten lucky enough to be shopping in the stores and have started hoarding things for my own holiday gifts and entertaining.
If you go to a certain store, you're going to walk in, and if you're going to buy everything there or get lazy -- your whole dinner or party or whatever is going to look clearly as if it were designed by that store or whomever designed that store. The difference with HomeGoods is that you can really put your own imprint on it. You can walk around with a shopping cart -- or in my case, it was a U-Haul -- and really just pick out things that are evocative of who you are, because it's so eclectic. It's not so design-specific, and I appreciate that. It's also quirky. It [has] the best parts of a flea market with the stuff not being damaged. It's like a high-end flea market.
Talk to me a little bit about your "wrapping paper" trick. What inspired that? I love it.
We were talking about how you wrap something that isn't made to be wrapped -- something that either has weird angles or sharp edges. I have all sorts of talents, [but] I wouldn't say I'm the most fastidious gift-wrapper, so when I use paper on those items, it looks like they were in a horrible accident.
So we had this fabulous, big blanket that we had picked up at HomeGoods -- and you can stuff all sorts [of things]. In this case, we put in frames and a couple of other little things for someone who maybe has their first apartment, or they're entertaining for the first time. The gifts were wrapped in a gift itself -- so it was perfect. Instead of it looking like it was in an accident, it looks like I was so thoughtful.
For another one of Marcy's gift presentation tricks, check this out: