Two years ago Cameron Silver, founder of vintage-clothing boutique Decades in Los Angeles, was honored at the Art of Elysium’s annual gala. Held at Union Station in L.A., the event drew more than 600 people and raised $1 million for the arts-oriented nonprofit—and Silver credits party planner Yifat Oren, who donated her time, for helping it succeed so thrillingly.
“She made it possible for me to focus on the philanthropic aspect so I could be a really great host,” he explains. “I knew her taste level was high, so I didn’t have to question any of her decisions.”
A seasoned planner can take an event—whether a dinner for 20 or a gala for 600—to new heights. But finding the right person is critical. A likeminded partner who isn’t afraid to take charge is essential. “An excellent party planner is on the same wavelength as the host and can finish your sentences,” says Silver.
Dallas-based planner Steve Kemble advises hosts to ask potential event maestros copious questions about what types of affairs they have experience with. A corporate-event planner, for instance, might not be the ideal choice for a wedding.
The best, like those on our list, go above and beyond. Charlotte Wolseley Brinton, who is based in London, helmed every detail of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 50th birthday party, and Debi Lilly of A Perfect Event in Chicago flew in macarons from France for one of her bashes. New York’s David Monn will even bake select clients one of his signature homemade cakes.