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Event planner shares secret to success: Party like an Italian


Being Italian has been integral to Renee Patrone’s success as an event planner and party helper. “A lot of food, a lot of entertainment, a lot of family times, a lot of everything,” she explained. “Being Italian plays into what I do on a daily basis.” In 2007, she founded Events by Renee, for weddings and other big events in greater Philadelphia. That was followed in 2013 by Party Host Helpers, answering the call of brides and other clients who needed help for smaller events. It quickly grew, now operating regularly in 20 U.S. cities. She’s had queries from Canada, England and Australia, so she’s thinking about expanding internationally. Her staff today includes eight regional directors, one accounting professional, a personal assistant and 20,000 people – handpicked, background-checked, industry-certified and professionally attired – who work on call to make any event a breeze for the hosts.

“Life’s a party, so enjoy it,” she tells her 6,000 followers on LinkedIn.

Consider her own wedding, in 2019. She planned it and hired two Party Host Helpers to run it. The bridesmaids were in navy, the décor was heavy on metallics and her bouquet was her favorite hot pink. Consider her home in Swedesboro, N.J., an open-concept place, where everybody predictably gathers in the kitchen. “I had a big girls’ Valentine’s Day party, and we did Kir Royale,” she said. “Super easy, but a nice twist. Everybody loved them.” And there was her 40th birthday party, in the backyard, with a Lily Pulitzer theme that included fun linens, hot pink centerpieces, make-your-own crabcake sliders and a Mr. Softee ice cream truck.

Patrone loves to share her party ideas, via blogs on https://partyhosthelper.com, video tips and tricks on http://reneepatrone. com, the social media pages of Party Host Helpers and Events by Renee, dozens of TV appearances and many interviews with newspapers, magazines and websites.

“It’s crazy how much we have at our fingertips,” she said of recipes and ideas for entertaining. “I love social media, especially Pinterest, but a party gets me going more than anything,” she said. She and her husband are both only children, so “my friends are more like family. I love seeing what they serve, what family recipes they’re sharing and what they’re doing that works.” Then it’s time for her own twists: maybe more metallic accents, maybe more spices.

Most of her business is with Party Host Helpers. The helpers fill traditional party roles (cook, bartender, server, barista, busser, dishwasher), some unexpected ones (greeter and event attendant) and some unusual ones (oyster shucker and brand ambassador). For insurance reasons, the firm doesn’t provide valet parking or alcohol delivery. “Often we get asked for a certain look, and that’s difficult because we are not a modeling agency,” she said. “We are a hospitality staffing company.” Patrone, who grew up in South Jersey, and her husband, wealth adviser Ted Rhinehart, excels at making stromboli and pizzelles, “so I have those recipes down.”

This summer, she, Rhinehart and their young daughter might travel to Italy for the first time.

“I haven’t really thought too much about my heritage lately and how it’s making me the adult that I am now, the mom and the wife, but my husband likes to say that I put way too much food out for everyone, which is totally an Italian trait,” she said. “And my friends know that when they come to my house, they’re always going to have a glass of wine in their hand and a snack to eat.”


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