When our friends at the Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg asked us if we wanted to help them celebrate their newly renovated Penthouse Loft space, our answer was easy: Hell yes. Boasting unobstructed views of the Manhattan skyline through floor-to-ceiling windows, the penthouse is a perfect private event space for standing and seated soirees, as well as overnight stays for an unforgettable Brooklyn experience. We couldn’t wait to get our hands on it.
See, I love an event at a hotel. While hosting at home can be such a pleasure, hosting at a hotel gives you a whole range of opportunities for creativity and to dream in a new space. We got married in a hotel, we’ve had both my and Andrew’s 30th birthday parties in hotels, and we’ve spent countless holidays celebrating in hotels. In an epic celebration for my mother’s (ahem, she’ll kill me for this) 60th at a favorite hotel in the south, I convinced them to set off a surprise firework show timed to a champagne saber off a dock. Mom cried. I was thrilled. There were dolphins. I now add pyrotechnics to my CV. One of my top moments.
We’ve been sharing some of our favorite styling and behind the scene moments on social the last few days, but I’m excited to take you through our process. While hosting an event at a hotel can feel intimidating or something reserved for weddings, I’m here to tell you that hotel events and spaces like the spectacular Penthouse Loft are perfect for more quotidien undertakings. Don’t have room for a dinner party? Host at a hotel. Want to have a brunch get-together? Host at your glamorous local hotel. Swanky pre-party for a show? Hotel. Want to get a bunch of people together for a champagne soaked bacchanalia? (Coughs into hand obnoxiously.) Host at a hotel.
We’re here to help you pull it off.
Our tips for a fabulous party in a hotel room
Trust the experts
Hotels like the Wythe are event destinations for a reason—they have amazing event teams in house! They can recommend preferred vendors, develop menus, help you put together a run of show, share available furniture and in-house rentals, and coordinate an amazing experience for your guest.
Pro-tip? Give them your entire guest list for visibility. They’ll liaise with other members of the hotel team to ensure that people who are staying at the hotel for your event are taken care of—encourage your guests to reach out if they need help getting outfits steamed, stylists booked, car service, or reservations for lunch the day of the event. Hosting starts before people even walk in the door.
If you’ve done this a million times, you can absolutely bring in your own team, but I always recommend leaning on the hotel’s vendor network. Working with vendors who’ve worked with the hotel before makes it an easy lift for you. They know the hotel operations, they’re familiar with the event spaces, they’re aware of any policies or considerations you might need to know (hey, that ceiling is 150 years old and CANNOT be drilled into, despite your disco ball dreams). A photographer who has worked with the hotel before is aware of the lighting conditions or the secret spots that make the best backdrops. The florist knows that certain greenery doesn’t meet NYC firecode, etc, etc, etc. Trust their experts. It will save you time and money.
To dine or to dance?
There’s something to be said for a beautiful dinner party in a private suite. Some of my favorite weddings have been just that—an intimate wedding and a small dinner in a gorgeous room. But to really celebrate with the Wythe, we decided to have a cocktail party, heavy on the cocktails, heavy on the party, and heavy on the implied canapés. I think a mistake people make with canapés and buffets is assuming that for a 3-4 hour event, people will just graze constantly on the same things. Great hotels (yes, like the Wythe!) will help you pace the food . We like easy small passed to start and a couple glam, substantial stations like a rawbar. Then later in the night, we refresh with more surprising fun food: fried chicken sandwiches, anyone?
Make it abundant
The Wythe is lucky. They have an incredibly beautiful space with 180 degree views of the skyline and a strong architectural character. Williamsburg feels cool and urbane lit up at night. Everything you add to the space is icing on the cake.
But it wouldn’t be a Feste event if it didn’t feel over the top. Our aesthetic is not one thing. Not just classic. Not just trendy. But it is specific and unmistakably us. We call it Irreverent Glamour. It’s one part rebel. One part revel. We like a little thing called high/low, and it’s key to how we help our guests set the scene. So what does Irreverent Glamour look like?
It starts with the classics. Think tactile. Elegant. Abundant. A vintage, silver-plated champagne bowl. A table of too many roses. Etched glass votives. This is our glamour.
Then we fuck it up. We take of the moment trends and mix unexpected twists. Add in some neon pom poms, a disco ball, and roll a few gold foiled joints. Now you’ve got a Feste party.
How does this work for you when you’re planning events? Take something great and make it unexpected. The vintage champagne bucket, but fill it with Miller Highlife. Grab an oversized classic bust and stick a top hat on it. See how it works? Contrast, baby.
Don’t skimp on the activity
Ok, once you’ve gotten all these people into the room, filled it with gorgeous furniture, food, and flowers, now you’ve got to give them something to do more than just mingle. A hotel party feels slightly forbidden. It has the same vibe of a high school house party—is someone going to ask us to come be quiet? Are we misbehaving in someone else’s home? Lean into it. Indulge in something naughty.
For the Wythe, we hired amazingly talented champagne showgirls. Burlesque brings out the best in everyone.
Surprise and be damned delightful.
Challenge your floor plan
When we first told the Wythe team we wanted to take over the bathroom for a tarot card reader, I’m sure they thought we were crazy, but like the pros they are, they were game to try. Hotel floor plans, regardless of how beautiful the hotel is, can feel very familiar, which is why I always try to do something unexpected. Fill the tub with disco balls. Make the shower an over the top tinsel installation. Use the sink as a bar. Or follow our lead and style the toilet with flowers. People love to be surprised.
Can’t get rid of the king bed? Fill it with oversized pillows and make it a glamorous communal lounge. Layer it with vintage trays, fill it with slices of cake, and make it your dessert buffet. Hang a huge cloud of fluffy florals over it, and make it your Marie Antoinette dreamscape. The world is your proverbial oyster, lover. Go for it.
Be a good neighbor
Hotels have quiet hours for a reason—plan your party accordingly. I always like to request rooms at the end of a hall or corner suites so that during my event, I’m the least disruptive as possible. It’s rare that I’ll bring an DJ into a suite either… it makes the temptation to raise the noise levels too great. Most rooms will have a great sound system or Bluetooth set up that’s scaled for a room of that size. If not, I love a portable Sonos. May I suggest one of our playlists?
Also, remind your guests to be thoughtful when leaving and figure out a plan to manage the door. No one likes a banging exit as people head out.
Not ready to wrap up? Ask the hotel for a great after party suggestion. I like Karaoke, so I make sure to book a late-night reservation for an extra large private room. It’s an easy way to make sure that guests head out on time if there’s a clear next destination. Who knows where the night will take you?
Something for the morning after
There’s glitter on the floor after the party. Everyone is home nursing a properly earned hangover. True hosts know that the way the stick the landing is to consider the morning after. That’s why Feste and the Wythe have partnered on a limited edition kit for the morning after. Bloody Mary’s kits, custom sleep masks, and more…recover in style.
Want to create these party looks yourself?