Owning a tabletop online boutique that centers on dinner parties certainly paints a picture to other people that we host lots of pretty and over-the-top gatherings. In reality we attend more dinner parties than we host, but we do come equipped with items to help the hostess set up their dinner table. In our eyes, decorations don’t need to be over the top, and most times more isn’t better, it’s cohesiveness that matters.

One of our favorite gatherings in recent past was a garden brunch with a few girlfriends. The hostess had cooked an amazing meal and graciously plated the foods on her newly purchased vintage plateware, and flatware. As a part of our contribution, we brought over our esselle Felicity Hostess Box to help set the table. We opted for small, and simple white floral arrangements, with lots of greens because as self-proclaimed tastemakers, we are big believers in flowers. Simple floral and foliage can help set the tone of the table, taller and larger arrangements may feel regal, while lower and extended arrangements can exude romance. We also believe that food is the focus of any gathering, therefore any decorations that goes with it should support and enhance the overall look and taste. Our Felicity Box worked out perfectly because of its neutral gold, and white color palette. It added just enough punch of pattern, with a touch of gold to fill the emptier space on the table.

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We attend more gatherings than we host mainly because we know entertaining guests can be a daunting task even for the savviest of hosts. Everyone thinks they can do it, and possibly have in the past, but aren’t there always somethings that you wish you could have used a little more help with, or have just a bit more time to perfect? That’s why we have wrecked our brains with ways to provide modern hostesses solutions to alleviate some of the stress that comes with planning a dinner party.

We find from our own experience that a huge chunk of time spent prepping a party is decorating, especially shopping for decorations. Constant questions ring in our heads like “What is my color palette” and, “How much stuff do I really need to get?”. All the while, we are actually too busy to execute the design that we dreamed of doing. Instead we settle for quick and easy fixes that result in a party looking below par. We began Esselle as a way to provide an alternate solution for a modern host to help trim down decorations, planning, and set-up time. Our boxes are curated with beautiful quality products that are mostly reusable. Each collection we design and source is thought out carefully and is not occasion-specific, but rather can be used and reused throughout various seasons. Although our collections of hostess boxes are presented as a whole in our store, each tabletop element within are parts that can be presented entirely differently through each hostesses’ vision.

Each design and sourcing for the Hostess Box takes about 3 months to finalize. We often select one element within the box to make from scratch, or hand-finish ourselves. We take pride on developing one of a kind curated box, and currently we are formulating a new Spring/Summer collection. In the next few months, we have big plans to bring more esselle branded products from our ‘virtual’ shelf to the dinner table.

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Article and photos by esselle and Co-Founder Sherry Lee

esselle was founded by two girlfriends in 2012 after a particularly festive Thanksgiving dinner party. After pouring their hearts into planning an unforgettable holiday gathering, they realized soon after that they wanted to share their passion for tabletop décor with more people. esselle has recently been featured on Refinery29 San Francisco, Brit & Co, and Freutcake.