Cocktails, Sweets and Entertaining Tips with Celebrity Event Planner Elvira Grau
On October 10th, R. Couri Hay of R. Couri Hay PR hosted Elvira Grau in his exquisite UWS home so she could show a select number of bloggers party decorating tips that anyone can do, even on a budget, for seasonal occasions.
For the get together with Elvira, guests sipped on Prosecco and snacked on fresh chocolate-dipped fruit from Forbidden Fruit NYC while Grau finished filming a segment for television, showcasing the same tips she would be showing us firsthand. After filming completed, Elvira came out, introduced herself to everyone and joined the group as if we had been friends for years, which is definitely one of Grau’s many charms.
Given her reputation to throw lavish events at her 26,000 square foot warehouse in Englewood, NJ at Space Odyssey USA that opened in 2005, and her Rolodex of clients like Chris Rock, Teresa Giudice and P Diddy, you would think that Grau’s ideas would be over the top and out of any moderate price range. Grau, who has said she rarely says no to requests for parties, has been known to always be flashy and over the top with her parties, but is also known for working with families to fit almost any price range.
Coming to the states as a Russian immigrant at the age of 9, Grau grew up with very little where even McDonald’s was considered a treat. But as she put it, she never felt she needed anything more and was very content with her upbringing. So when mothers would come to Grau to ask for advice on how to throw birthday parties for their kids on a budget, she was definitely the person to ask. Families were also another reason for investing in the party space for children and adults alike, since Grau felt like a clean, safe and climate-controlled environment was missing from the event planning industry, especially one that wouldn’t break the bank.
Elvira showcased entertaining centerpieces that anyone can do with some basic items that can be invested in and inexpensively. Grau explained that craft stores like A.C. Moore have become her best friend and anyone with some basic vases in multiple shapes and sizes and boxes, be it a shoebox or glass pedestal, to create levels.
From there, it comes down to the event at hand and the season it pertains to. To make holiday centerpieces, Grau encourages using nature, gathering together pinecones, cranberries, acorns and branches to save on money, but also still have style flourish. She also encourages using snowflake cutouts or pumpkins to create personalized place settings for sit down occasions.
What Elvira was able to demo while we were just standing in a room, was about 12 different ways in which these “vessels” as she called them, were able to fit different moods based on how she used them and how quickly that can be accomplished. For an outdoor party during the summer you can fill a bowl with sand and seashells and then fill it with water and top with floating candles for a beach-themed soiree. For a Sweet 16 you can use different color table runners, rocks, battery-operated tea lights, and decorated vase foliage from craft stores to create a complete look, most pieces under $5, but one that looks much more expensive than that.
Elvira was able to teach the group something that she was able to innately create and even extend to a business, but one that she never went to school for. She then took that vision and unselfishly shared it so that people can also take a little bit of what Elvira brings to a party into their own homes.
- Stephanie C.