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5 Hostess Tips from Dallas Party Planner Emily Clarke

her favorite local vendors for flowers, catering and stationery

Since founding her namesake company nearly a decade ago, Emily Clarke has risen through the ranks of Dallas event planners. A skilled designer, savvy planner and all-around consummate creative, she thrives on bringing clients’ visions to life, from luxe destination weddings to over-the-top corporate events.

But Clarke believes in boundaries and isn’t afraid to say no. Her husband, Walter, and daughters Lincoln, 10, and Mae, 8, come first. Often, when duty calls and Clarke has to jet off to a faraway fête, they come with. It’s a lesson she’s learned over time and shares with other working parents whenever possible.

“I want people who are wanting to run a business with a family to know: Don’t wait too long to integrate your children in an appropriate, professional way,” says Clarke. “It’s important for them to see you loving what you do.”


Emily Clarke’s Tips For Hosting

“Your guests take cues from you, so if you’re nervous they’re nervous. You want them to be at ease in your home. It can be fun to play with decor. But if you’re still thinking about decor when the party starts, you’ve missed it. Remember, you’re a hostess first.”

“Have someone come who can help take out the trash or refill drinks. It helps keep you present. It’s easy to start taking care of everyone else and miss the moment.”

“Serve food people like to eat. Unless you’re a chef, this isn’t the time to experiment. I’m a big believer in simple food and enough of it.”

“Get clever when decorating on a budget. There are a lot of things you can build out of found objects. Be imaginative and get your kids involved.”

“Imperfection is beautiful. I could order flowers and have them delivered to my house, but it’s more heartfelt if I make it myself.”


Emily’s Go-To Party Services

For Rentals
Posh Couture Rentals // 101 Cole St., Dallas; 972/818-3200

For Flowers
Bows and Arrows Flowers // 4908 Bryan St., Dallas; 214/828-2697

Todd Events // 1174 Quaker St., Dallas; 214/749-0400

For Catering
Proper Catering & Events // 6554 E. Lovers Lane, Dallas; 214/356-7384

For Entertainment
Jordan Kahn Music Company // 844/800-7278

For Stationery & Gifts
Ellis Hill // 5001 W. Lovers Lane, Dallas; 214/520-6108

This article was originally published in September 2019.


Images courtesy of John Cain Photography and Heather Hawkins