I Let This Virtual Party Planner Help Me Prep a Dinner Party—and Now I Want to Delegate My Entire Life

Because oops—I left it to the last minute

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Collage of a summertime shabbat with bright flowers and candles.
Dara Katz/Partytrick

At the beginning of this year, I launched my own business—a trendy Jewish jewelry line called Mamaleh (*plug*). Come summer, I wanted to do some sort of live—but intimate—event to bring my brand to the masses (aka a few friends old and new). My friend Micah Siva, the chef behind the modern Jewish food account, NoshWithMicah, was going to be in town, and she suggested we could host a shabbat dinner together. I offered up my home. She offered to cook. Invites were sent. The party was in motion. Except…I hadn’t done anything like this before. I’ve had friends over for dinner, sure, but those were just fun gatherings. This was to put my brand on a pedestal. Plus, most of my “planning” time was earmarked for chasing a toddler away from traffic or bending over a toilet bowl thanks to first trimester nausea. All this to say: It didn’t take long for me to freak out about the party planning.

Enter: Partytrick, a digital party planner service for people who, like me, have exquisite taste (of course), but have no idea how to access it. Sure, I’d love to create the enveloping ambiance of a farm-to-table garden party, but I have absolutely no idea where to start. Basically, Partytrick makes using a party planner accessible, bringing together your best DIY attempt with professional taste and know-how. For example, they won't make and send your invites, but they'll give you recommendations on where to get them, what information to include and when to send them.

Here’s How Partytrick Works

  1. Pick a Party: The company has already curated a bajillion event concepts, from casual get togethers—like Pasta Palooza, Movie Night or Classic Tailgate—to special events—like Austin-Themed Bachelorette, Passover Seder or a Merry Making cookie party. They’re always rolling out new parties, like a Labor Day Weekend BBQ or Coastal Caviar Clambake (a special collab with The Caviar Co.). There are even some genius kids' parties like Dragons Love Tacos or a Planes, Trains, & Automobiles fete. Filter by theme, pick one and done or mix and match with your own vision.
  2. Plan the Party: If you require a little more customizable help, a virtual planner will follow up with more questions about your event—like your budget—and send a to-do list replete with links galore (suggestions of what you’ll need to buy) or how you can repurpose things you already have. They’ll send a timeline, email and SMS reminders, menu ideas, hosting hacks and even playlists.
  3. Host the Party: Assemble as directed, and take flight, little bird!
Inspiration board for party

Planning My Party

The inspiration I initially landed on was a mixture of Boozy Brunch/Secret Garden/Bouquet Bar. But my party planner, Virginia, wanted to know a little more about why I chose those (I liked the bright, romantic colors and the lush feeling of it, but nothing too formal or actually tea-party oriented), and she requested some photos of the space.

I emailed back my response, blinked, opened my eyes, and Virginia responded with a link to my personalized “partytrick.” Titled “Mix and Mingle Shabbat,” (why didn’t I think of that!), Virginia pieced together all of my half-assed thoughts into a plan with point-by-point instructions for how to make it come together. From the table decor to the bathroom candle, there was not a detail missed. I knew the quantity and size of plates I needed (1.5, 8-10” plates/guest), and the number of pours a bottle of Champagne goes per Mimosa-style beverage (psst: it’s 7 to 8). When I first received the document, I found it extremely helpful, and planned on going back and forth with Virginia via the comments tool. But…I procrastinated week after week after week (had my in-laws in town for an extended period and threw my daughter a toddler rager) and the document became overwhelming. Did I really need to have an “amenity basket”?

Virginia, perhaps sensing my panic, reached out to make sure I was on track. Yes, I’d procrastinated, but here I had everything at my fingertips: links to same-day Amazon purchases like candles, votives and dainty bud vases. I also realized that since my guest list was a lot smaller than I initially thought, I could use my own flatware (thank you, Mom, for making me register for a ridiculous number of plates). No, I didn’t need an “amenity basket,” but I did want to make sure I had a bathroom hand towel ready, some bright flowers (Virginia suggested garden roses, peonies, lavender and cosmos) and my portable speaker charged.

Triptych of images from a summer shabbat with pink peonies and candles.
Dara Katz

Hosting My Party

Since Micah was making all the food, all I really had to do was some light setup, and then, of course, hide all my piles of chaos in a closet. For the table, I set out a table runner I already had and topped it with the votives and candles. I scattered the bud vases all around the table, open shelving and by my jewelry table, where I laid out my new designs. I also remember (thanks to Virginia) to fill a “beverage bucket” with all kinds of drinks—waters, mocktails and wine—using a vintage enamel-plated wash bucket I never get to use. The overall effect was chic, intimate and under-stated. I wouldn’t say it looked like an event out of The Kardashian playbook, but the details were thoughtful and step above what I’d normally do myself. Most importantly, my guests felt comfortable and the conversations flowed. (And Micah’s food was delish.)

The Cost of Planning a Partytrick

Like using an IRL planner, you're the one flipping the bill—but your planner probably has lots of tricks of the trade up their sleeve for making the most out of a budget.

For access to Partytrick's party planning, you can buy packs or a membership:

  • Single-party: $25
  • Three-party pack: $50
  • Annual membership (unlimited parties): $9/month, $89/year

Use code PUREWOW for two free months!

61 Low-Maintenance Summer Dinner Party Ideas


Executive Editor, Frazzled Mom, Bravo-Holic

Dara Katz is PureWow's Executive Editor, focusing on relationships, sex, horoscopes, travel and pets. Dara joined PureWow in 2016 and now dresses so much better. A lifestyle...