Party Planning with Panache
Creative tablescapes by Cameron and Marano set La Maison Fête apart from other event planners.
photo // Rana faure
Brett Cameron and Deanna Marano were destined to work together before they even met. While Cameron was involved in corporate events, Marano had been planning private parties for ten years, including a Montana wedding for the sister of one of Cameron’s best friends. Over the years, they heard of each other but didn’t meet until they co-chaired an event at the John Jay Homestead five years ago.
Shortly after that event, Cameron was planning a party for a celebrity client when she broke her ankle. “I couldn’t get around and knew I needed help,” Cameron recalls. “I enjoyed collaborating with Deanna and realized we made a good team. We started working together out of my in-laws’ garage apartment in Bedford.”
“I had a business concept that I wanted to try where tabletop rentals would tie into event planning under one roof,” Marano says. “Tabletop design is one of the most important elements of any event. At the time, most companies had pretty basic offerings. But Bedford hostesses have great taste and style, so we wanted to give them something special they couldn’t get anywhere else, and La Maison Fête was born.”
“People love the creative tabletops we design: mixing contemporary settings with vintage china, old-fashioned Champagne coupes, and tinted Depression glass,” Cameron says. “We also get a lot of requests for a ‘polished’ farm-to-table look as well. We often incorporate heirloom silver or Grandma’s antique tablecloth into the mix for a deeply personal and unique setting. I love the hunt and am always going to estate sales and even Goodwill at least once a week.”
Cameron, an economics major, discovered early on at Citibank that she preferred planning parties to economics, while Marano inherited her love of entertaining from her mother. “When I was young, my mother would host every holiday and always find an excuse to have dinner parties. I loved seeing how happy people were sitting around a beautifully designed table, all the laughter and conversations. A successful party is one when the guests feel special being served and are experiencing something they may not have experienced before.”
That mindset has paid off, and La Maison Fête moved their operation out of the garage apartment into the charming Yellow Monkey Village in Cross River. “I love every event we plan because I love our clients,” Marano says. “The majority just give us direction and allow us to create from there, so every table has something we add that represents us: the seating card presentation, the vintage plate, the hand drawn menu, the antique candle stick, the figurine you would not expect. Our design and tabletop rentals are becoming what we are known for. We travel to find amazing pieces for our clients, curate the collections, and work with wonderful people who inspire us each day. I love it all. I believe that is why we do it, because work is not really work when you love every minute of it.”
To plan the perfect party, it is necessary to be a good listener, Cameron says. “Especially with brides, but we also get input from the groom, parents, and future in-laws to make sure everyone is happy.” Patience is also a virtue—and sometimes a lot of patience is required. Cameron recalled one wedding in Antigua where every event had to change to a different location. “There was torrential rain and wind and it was three days of packing and moving things. You have to be flexible and think on your feet. Everything worked out in the end.”
Is there a dream gig they’d like to plan? Actually, yes. “I throw a mini Oscar party every year, and I tailor the menu to the Best Film nominees,” Cameron says, noting she served La La Land Champagne and caviar, Hidden Figures wrapped in bacon, and Manchester by the Sea lobster rolls at her last event. “I have such fun with my own ‘Hollywood’ party, that it would be fabulous to get to plan the actual Vanity Fair celebration.”
Bedford people have a passion for entertaining and love showing their friends a good time. Cameron suggests that when it comes to planning your own dinner party, try not to obsess about every little detail. “People care about thoughtfulness,” she advises. “Think about how the party is going to flow, serve good food, and have a nice bar—people will have a good time. Little touches like offering a
signature cocktail or including some family heirlooms into your tabletop design make a huge difference and your guests will notice and appreciate it.”