If you've been following along with Jove Meyer's Planners Dining Club series here on The Venue Report, you're no stranger to the wild, creative and boundary-pushing insider dinners Jove and NYC's top event professionals bring to life month after month. With wedding season in full swing, PDC is taking a break until the rush of summer and fall weddings slows down. For the last dinner before our series break, we have quite the treat for you at one of our favorite Brooklyn venues, Wythe Hotel. Inspired by the sunset (seriously, wait until you see the likeness) and an approach of organized chaos, Jove designed an evening of color and warmth in a decidedly not-so-perfect fashion, the perfect transition as we head into summer.
We, of course, caught up with Jove about the entire evening including working with floral designer, Alexandra Abuza on the wild, overgrown floral installations carried throughout the space as well as a custom cocktail recipe from the Wythe Hotel team. And be sure to stay tuned at the end to hear about Jove's creative process and his tips for staying continuously inspired.
Tell us about this dinner and the inspiration behind it!
The inspiration behind this dinner was organized chaos. So much of what I do is creating perfectly executed, balanced events, so I wanted to try something fun with the approach of organized chaos. We started with the table layout and did a zigzag pattern in a space that normally does rows or clean lines. The florist created a flowing design for the install that was organic and chaotic, and from the floor to the ceiling, there were 'messy' floral moments throughout the space.
Why Wythe Hotel? What makes this venue unique?
Wythe Hotel is a fabulous hotel and event space with delicious food in the heart of Williamsburg. I have been working with them for years so when they reached out to host a spring dinner, I couldn’t have been more excited.
Wythe Hotel has various event spaces and they wanted to showcase them to planners who have yet to visit them. Rather than welcoming guests in the lush outdoor garden, we held the cocktail hour up in a suite – they cleared out the furniture (even the bed) to open up the room for us to mingle. The suite includes an amazing terrace with one of the best views of the NYC skyline – guests enjoyed cocktails there while the sunset took our collective breath away, in the palette of our dinner nonetheless!
We hosted our dinner in their main event space: it is beautifully surrounded with brick, mirrors, windows and high ceilings. If you take the stairs down one flight there are even more spaces, from a speakeasy to a cinema – there are many options to host events here.
The floral installations... what went into those (and is that a swing we see)?!
The floral installations were the creation of the talented Alexandra Abuza. After our first meeting in the space, she said: “I'm thinking story-wise: abandoned warehouse, cracks in the brick, shards of sunlight coming in with ribbons of light (fabric and flowers) coming down at angles. Perhaps a larger one for that 'wow' moment, with one or two smaller 'threads' coming from other angles.”
She took our vision of organized chaos to the next level, and yes, that included a swing filled with peeps! She really brought a spring garden to Wythe Hotel for our dinner. When it came to color, she initially wanted to go more pink, but I was obsessed with yellows/oranges and after a little encouragement and love, she jumped on board and knocked it out of the park!
Alex and her team were there all day to install the main wave in the middle of the room: they created it from scratch with flowers and fabric. It really took my breath away as well as all of the planners in the room. It just goes to show designing a room can be a fun way to delight your guests.
What was the menu inspiration? Any standout dishes or drinks?
Wythe Hotel: "Working on a menu at the Wythe Hotel is a very collaborative process that starts with all of the farms we're very fortunate to be working with. We wanted to be more vegetable forward this spring and let really great asparagus, mushrooms and peas be a focal point. We also wanted to highlight the work of Patrick Smith, our phenomenal in-house butcher. For the porchetta we sourced some amazing pork from Climbing Tree Farm, a small family run farm in upstate New York. We paired their whey-fed pork belly with a blend of aromatics including sage, rosemary, preserved lemon and garlic. After an overnight marinade, it was slowly roasted in our oven resulting in a crispy, crunchy exterior and succulent interior. The porchetta was paired with a classic preparation of escarole and butter beans.
Our Bar Director, Christine Kang, crafted a cocktail that would be in line with the yellow/orange theme - the Eastern Sour!
.75oz Lemon Juice
1oz Orange Juice
.25oz Simple Syrup
Fill shaker with ice, cover, and shake vigorously. Strain cocktail into a rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with lemon wheel and nasturtium flower."
Can you share a little about your creative process? Any tips for staying continuously inspired?
The goal of the Planners Dining Club is two fold: to create community and push the boundaries of creativity. With each dinner the bar is raised and the more dinners we do, the more we aim to push ourselves creatively. Since this dinner was at the start of spring I really wanted to bring that feeling inside, and yellows and golds were the way to make that happen! Once the colors were decided, we spoke about the overall vibe and decided organized chaos was the way to go, rather than perfectly aligned and typical. When it comes to design, I tend to walk into an event with a general idea, but I rely on my creative collaborators to bring it to life. I love to give them my general ideas and then let them bring their art to it and make it there own. Together, we really create magic and push the boundaries of event design.
Our stationery partner Fourteen-Forty was amazing, she took the design goals head-on and hand painted a few chaotic options for the invites, and we collectively decided to go with the swirl invite with the copy rounded and spread out – intentionally a little chaotic – to keep with our vibe for the event. I think more and more people are over the “perfect” look, so we went to the other extreme and went a little crazy/odd /off-center on purpose.
I start my creative process in the space: I keep in mind the season and temperature, as well as the seasonality of flowers and ingredients. My goal is to push the boundaries of design and make something no one has seen before in the space. The crazier the better, in my mind :) I share my overall broad vision and vibe with the creative partners and encourage them to push the envelope and make the art that pushed them creatively, and the art that their clients may not let them do as of now... but after they make it, they can show it off and encourage clients to be more bold and take more creative risks.
I find being in nature and traveling keeps me inspired and filled with ideas. We are what we see, eat, do and experience, so the more ways I can do that in places that are unfamiliar or different, the better!
Book your next event at Wythe Hotel →
Planner, Host & Founder: Jove Meyer Events | Venue, Bar, Caterer & Cake: Wythe Hotel | Tabletop, Table & Chair | Rentals: Broadway Party Rentals | Lounge Furniture: Patina Rentals | Flowers: Alexandra Abuza Floral Design | Photos: Weddings by Nato | Stationery: Fourteen-Forty | Band: The Eleven
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