Move over, Pippa! DC event planners offer advice on holding the perfect party

 Pippa Middleton, the younger sister of Prince William’s wife, Kate, reportedly just signed a big-money book deal in which she’ll divulge some of her party-planning tips.

Middleton’s family owns a party-supply company in Britain. But we figured we’d save Washingtonians some dough during the holiday season and share some free advice from local entertainment companies on what makes the best D.C. shindig.


Courtney Swierczek, owner of A Sweet Soiree, which serves the DMV, reminds party planners about one key component of life in the District: gridlock. Swierczek says, “Traffic is always a challenge. If you’re planning an event for Friday night, you always want to take traffic into consideration, planning directions and even alternative routes for guests.”

But if partygoers can make it through the Beltway backup, Khadijia Morrow, president of downtown’s Avant Garde Event Boutique, says there better be a place to put their car. Morrow explains the key to a successful party in Washington is, “Quick and easy valet parking and a delicious cocktail served as guests arrive.”

Heather Sala, president of HJ Planners near Foggy Bottom, agrees that traveling to a function here can be tough. Her suggestion for keeping the crowd happy? Booze. Sala says, “We have all these things in D.C. that make people not want to come into the city after 6 p.m., so we kind of have to up the level of the party to make people want to come in. It’s important to have a high level of food, alcohol. Just in general a higher level for people to want to come in.”

Melanie Nwosu, CEO of Sweet Thing Black Orchid, based in Waldorf, Md., advises adding some VIPs in order to make the get-together a hot ticket: “Press and marketing, it’s really all about that. And it helps a bit to have a few good names on the list, too.”

And LaToya Gaskin, owner of LaToya Gaskin’s Wedding and Events, says the party better be pretty spectacular: “Most people in this area want eye-catching events. They don’t want basic.” No pressure or anything, party planners. 

— Ariel Katz contributed to this report.