Julia’s own wedding – view more here!
Yes, it’s true, Julia Lake Parties! After seeing quite a few events this party planner has expertly executed, I reached out to her to learn a little bit more about her social expertise.
N/S: Did you always know you wanted to be an event or party planner? What was the first party or event you ever planned?
Julia Lake: I’ve always been a romantic- a romantic with an affection for seeking out the charming moments in our lives & in them, finding cause for celebration. In middle school I started throwing theme parties with strict costume requirements & for the past 10 years I’ve thrown an annual summer bash at my family’s place in the Napa Valley so I’ve built up a reputation through that. Since ever, I’ve been big on organizing activities, events, etc… so all signs have pointed to me becoming a professional party thrower, even though I ignored it for years. I thought I should do something more ‘high brow’ but didn’t know what. I worked for a magazine in Paris straight out of college and then later for my family’s Napa based winery but never felt true passion for my work until I finally resolved to follow my heart. After I planned my sisters wedding 4 years ago and then later my own, I just knew there was no going back. It sounds cheesy but the moment I decided to start my own party planning company, I felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders and now I find sheer happiness in my work every day. Its non stop fun and a perfect fit for my personality and strengths.
the Julia Lake wedding of Mieke ten Have as featured in Vogue
as seen in Vogue
N/S: When did you launch your business? Where are you based?
Julia Lake: It was a slow progression really since I’ve been doing it here and there for years but julia lake parties! officially launched in 2012. I’m more or less bi-coastal between Brooklyn & the Napa Valley. I spend most of my time in Brooklyn but am always on the road and every few months spend long chunks of time in my Napa studio.
N/S: What is one of the most rewarding aspects of your job? The most challenging?
Julia Lake: I adore the process- not just the result. I love the entire journey: from day-dreaming ideas, forming the concept of the theme and building it up over time to create a cohesive event and vibe.
The most challenging part of my job is simply time. There’s never enough. Oh, and mothers-of-the-bride for weddings. Those can be tricky…
N/S: What’s one of the most memorable events you ever planned? What made it so special?
Julia Lake: My wedding. It was my tour-de-force through and through. I poured my heart and soul into it & it was etherial magic.
N/S: What are just a few of the parties you’ve helped with- what were their types of themes and celebrations?
Julia Lake: There’s been so many. Some fun ones include: an adult cowboys & indians birthday party, an intimate wedding in Maine for vogue.com, a Gatsby Napa wedding for which I made custom head pieces for all of the female attendees, a memorial (that was a challenge but so special), a glamorous New Years party at a private estate, & a hat party for a 70th birthday party. That was a riot actually.
N/S: Where do you find your own inspiration for your work? What blogs and websites do you read?
Julia Lake: I find it everywhere, every day but when in doubt I call my mother. I’m pretty good at making something out of nothing so I’ve always got my eyes open- walking down the street, foraging at flea markets, & discovering treasures in the attic. I try to incorporate history into my events by using a lot of personal items & always favoring authentic decor. I get ideas from finding a great antique, reading an old novel, etc… The creative process is fundamentally unique to each event. My work is ultimately a collaborative process, building a true kinship with my clients, their stories & their dreams.
As for blogs: Honestly, I’m not a big blog reader: a) i try not to be on my computer more than I have to- i like getting my hands dirty b) because I can’t figure out how to get it all in one place b) there’s a lot of repeated mainstream ideas, trends, etc that I try to avoid BUT I do love Pinterest. Here’s my page!
N/S: How do you hope to see your business grow? Any plans you can share for the future?
Julia Lake: First, I’d love to hire an intern. Then, I’d love to hire an assistant or better yet, find a partner that compliments my aesthetic. Maybe one day I’ll write a book. Who knows?
N/S: Explain Party in a Box- how did this come to be? How can this help someone throwing a soiree?
Julia Lake: This DIY service is perfect for the person who wants to do most everything on the day of the event but needs help. They want help coming up with the overall concept, list of to do’s & how to’s. They get a big, fun box delivered to their door filled with all the custom party decor you need & a step-by-step instruction kit. Here are some pics of a custom bachelorette Party-in-a-Box that I did.
N/S: When it comes to planning parties, why do you think it can be most helpful to hire a professional like yourself?
Julia Lake: Planning a memorable party – meaning, creating a tangible vibe, an atmosphere that delights guests at every turn, from refreshments to bites to music and other entertainment – requires way more work than people expect. And there’s never enough time.
I’ve come to realize that I have a unique strength for throwing fabulous parties. I’m hyper creative and extremely organized so the two together make a pretty good combination. Throwing a party or entertaining can be overwhelming & difficult to execute, so it’s nice to have someone who can bring something to the table in terms of scheming up a plan that will wow your guests and have everyone leaving with nice memories. On a practical level, if it’s a bigger event, you’ll spend less if you have someone who knows where to source affordable gear & knows how much of what to get, etc…
N/S: What are a few mistakes you see when people are planning parties and events of their own?
Julia Lake: The most common mistake is trying to do too much yourself, getting stressed out and having an awful time because you have too much on your plate. We’ve all done it. This especially happens with DIY brides. They want to do a lot themselves & dont leave themselves enough time.
N/S: If you could describe your business in three words what would they be?
Julia Lake: Style & Grace with a Fiery spirit
N/S: When not planning parties, what do you do to relax and destress? What’s an ideal or perfect day for you?
Julia Lake: Good one. After a non-stop summer of back to back events (mostly weddings), just last week I went to Nantucket with my husband & poodle, Otto von Pickles. We walked on the beach every morning & evening, took long baths, had picnics, drank sunset cocktails, ordered in, read books. It was pretty dreamy. So I guess my favorite way to wind down is taking a trip with Mr.Lake.
Julia with her husband and poodle, Otto von Pickles
N/S: What’s one piece of advice or inspirational quote you try to live by?
“You can never be overdressed or overeducated.” Oscar Wilde
“Never have a New Year’s party without confetti.”- julia lake
Party with Julia Lake on the web here, Facebook here, and Twitter here.
* all photos courtesy of julialake.com/Julia Lake Facebook