How We Work

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Kith & Kin starts at the very beginning.

Whether it’s an elegant dinner party for eight or a wedding for 200, Kith & Kin is on it.

Once booked, we’ll map out a ‘backwards calendar’ from the day of our first working meeting through to the day of the event and afterwards, sketching out deadlines for decisions and book-by dates to ensure that you get the venue and vendors you want.

From there, we’ll create a personalized binder to collect colors, images and ideas that will be the jumping off point for your event and be used as a reference throughout the planning process. We’ll gather samples for you to consider. If you have a firm budget, we’ll map out a hierarchy of must-haves. And if you already know what you want, we can jump right into timelines and activities.

Your Event, The Day Of

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The planning process is totally fun. So many details to think about, colors to play with, flowers to choose, food to taste, favors to find…

But Kith & Kin keeps its eye on the prize: the event itself. We will deliver an event that will remain one of the best you and your guests ever experience. The Kith & Kin team ensures you are free to participate your party, be an honored guest, instead of having to worry about things running smoothly. No distractions. No disasters. After all, you are the last person who should miss enjoying the results of all your hard work!

During your event, Kith & Kin will buzz around in the background, quietly keeping everything running smoothly while you dine and dance, and enjoy your time with your guests. We want you to have the head space to really pay attention to the content of your event rather then worry if there’s enough ice or if the food is being served on time. We’ll make sure your vendors deliver what you’ve paid for, on time, with the kind of attention to detail you deserve.

We’ll be invisible, but you’ll know we are there.

 

 

 

The Pink Room

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A party without a cake is just a meeting.

— Julia Child

SCAN0247Elizabeth (my mother) loves arranging flowers. As I was growing up, she created beautiful centerpieces out of both traditional and non-traditional elements. She was not afraid to experiment.

She took — and still takes — great pleasure in making things look beautiful. I have memories of branches, piles of flowers and fruit spray-painted gold transformed into works of art. For special occasions she used place cards, plates, glassware and napkins as if she were composing a painting.   At friends’ birthday parties, presents wrapped by her were the easiest to spot – they were the ones with the perfect bows and the loveliest matching paper.

At my own birthday parties she went all out. My birthday often falls near Easter, and this provided lots of room for thematic accouterments. There was the cake shaped like a bunny (I still have the instructions she tore from a magazine explaining how to do it). And another party, my friends and I decorated Easter bonnets with millinery flowers and ribbon and lots of glue. That’s me at the head of the table at my 5th birthday party, wearing my newly adorned Easter bonnet.

In our house there was a spare bedroom that the previous owners had painted pink. The ‘Pink Room’ became my mother’s de facto workshop. This was where she kept her scissors and glue, gold spray paint, pink tissue paper, and miles of rickrack and grosgrain ribbon. And whenever access was granted to all of this, I could feel my brain switch on. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on that stuff.

It was in the Pink Room that I learned how to iron a sheet and expertly wrap a gift. It was there that I perfected my own bow-tying techniques.

 

Cues

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I come from a tradition of ‘gracious living.’ Mainly, this meant following a lot of rules.

My parents – as had their parents and their parents’ parents – insisted on impeccable table manners: napkins in laps, elbows off the table, no milk cartons on the table, stay at the table until every last pea on your plate is gone, always ask to be excused.

Elizabeth, my mother, liked to entertain and taught me how to set a table with utensils positioned precisely à la Emily Post. (I can still tell you which size spoon or fork goes where.) I learned to always serve on the left and clear on the right – but don’t start clearing until everyone is finished.

When being introduced or departing, we were taught one must look grown-ups in the eye and give them a firm handshake while saying “Very nice to meet you,” or “Thank you very much for the nice time.”

Sunday noontime dinners at my paternal grandparents’ house meant ‘Sunday Best’ attire (party dresses and black patent leather shoes with stubborn buttons that required a hook to fasten), doilies under the coasters under the crystal, and green beans with vinegar.

There was a little button on the underside of the dining room table at my grandfather’s end to summon the help. Meals arrived in courses and one sat through each of them in turn, patiently. If the grown-ups talked too much creating a slow-down, my younger brother would swing his legs back and forth, back and forth. Grandmother actually owned a set of finger bowls handed down from her mother. While I tried to figure out what I was supposed to do with mine, my little brother floated crackers in his and flicked the lemon-scented water at me.

It was on one of those afternoons after Sunday lunch when, as we were standing in my grandparents’ front hall getting ready to leave, I stuck out my hand and said in a loud, brave voice to my formidable, Dutch Reform-churched grandfather, “Thank you very much for the nice time.” There was stunned silence and the clearing of throats while my mortified mother steered me out the front door, tossing off a laugh and explaining that formalities were not for grand parents.

This was one of those moments that sticks with you like a permanent bruise. Confusion and humiliation mixed as a toxic cocktail and nearly felled me. The upside? I started paying closer attention to the social subtleties.

How to Hire Us

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Interested in hiring Kith & Kin? Here’s how it works:

We’ll set up an initial meeting to get together and talk about your needs, the size of the event, what you have in mind for style and scope. We’ll get an idea of what makes you tick, what’s important to you, what your vision for the event looks like. Together we will sketch-out a rough plan for Kith & Kin services, discuss budget and look at our calendars. (There is no fee for this initial conversation.)

If you decide to go forward, we’ll send you a letter of agreement outlining services to be delivered and ask for a deposit to secure the date. After that, you are on the K&K calendar. We limit the number of projects we take on so we can focus on yours and be easily available to you.

To begin, head to the K&K home page and fill out the Contact Us form or post a comment here and we’ll be in touch!

How We Came to Be

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Kith and Kin means “friends and family” in Old English.  It seemed like the perfect name for a business that is all about bringing together family and friends — be they newly-minted or held dear for years and years — to share important moments.

After nearly thirty years of being a development director for a number of terrific humanities-based and environmental non-profits (which included putting together events large and small) I decided to go out on my own and just focus on the parts I really love most: design and people.  Kith & Kin allows me to get to know my clients well, figure out what they are hoping to achieve, and put creativity to the test.  It is a natural fit, combining my passion for aesthetics and design with my boundless love of my own friends and family.

I love nothing more than to craft exceptional, unique and memorable occasions.

I know when and how to break the rules, what makes a party flow, and how to show guests they are appreciated and loved.  Whether it’s an elegant dinner party for two or a full-on bash for two hundred, you can have a gathering that is beautiful, authentic and unique. I would be honored to help you create your event.