Party Planning with Darcy Miller from Martha Stewart Weddings

Darcy Miller at Alt Summit – Photo for Alt Summit by Justin Hackworth

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to attend the Altitude Design Summit (aka Alt Summit), a conference for lifestyle bloggers, designers and creatives of all kinds in Salt Lake City. Alt has been around for a few years, and the caliber of speakers is insanely high. Case-in-point, this year I attended a presentation by none other than , Editorial Director of Martha Stewart Weddings. I was blown away by Darcy’s openness and interest in speaking to a room full of designers and bloggers, and how interested she is in the blogging community at large. It really was a once in a lifetime event. Her talk was about party and wedding planning, and she shared a few tips she always employs when designing a big event (like, say Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds wedding, which she personally designed…yeah, I know!).

Darcy’s biggest tip was to ask yourself a set of questions and then plan your wedding or party around your answers. She said looking at yourself and your partner in depth will give you the answers you’re looking for when it comes to decor, food and all the other items that make a celebration special. Here are the five questions Darcy recommends you ask yourself:
  1. What do you like? – Darcy told us about the wedding she threw for Dylan Lauren (daughter of Ralph Lauren), which was candy-themed. Dylan owns a candy store in NYC, so the entire reception was covered in candy in all shapes and sizes. It was personal, fun and perfect for the couple.
  2. What’s your favorite color? – Darcy used an example of her daughters birthday, which she themed based on her daughter’s favorite color, purple! The party was called “Pippa’s Purple Party” and she made sure everything from decor to treats was deep violet. (She also let us know Martha isn’t a fan of purple.)
  3. Is there a significant era of time that is important to you? – Darcy threw a party for her parents’ 50th wedding anniversary and themed the entire thing with vintage pieces from the year they were married. She even had vintage photos of the couple printed on stickers and adhered to chocolate bars as party favors.
  4. What are your hobbies? – When Martha Stewart celebrated a big birthday, Darcy had her over to her home with a few friends for a dinner party celebration. Darcy’s husband isn’t a dog fan, but, as everyone knows, Martha loves her pups. Since the dogs couldn’t attend the party, Darcy had huge wall decals with photos of the dogs made at Shutterfly and then put them up all over her home. Even though Martha’s beloved dogs weren’t there, their presence was felt!
  5. What is your favorite time of year? – If you love the summer, have light food and fruity drinks. If you’re a fan of autumn, showcase deep orange and reds throughout your palette. Darcy used Ryan and Blake’s wedding as an example, as they love warm weather, so their wedding was full of light, summery touches.
Want a few more fun tips from Darcy? Well here you go!
  • Darcy said the upcoming trend in weddings is choosing the colors based on Pantone colors.
  • Putting toast cards with a prompt at tables will help people come up with memorable toasts on the spot. Write something like, “My favorite memory of the couple is….” and let the guest finish off the rest.
  • Oriental Trading Company is the best place to find themed items in bulk for super cheap
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