If you've ever tried to plan anything larger than a birthday party, you already know: Celebrations are work. It takes time and energy to build a vision in the first place, say nothing of hunting down the venue, planner, caterer, DJ, photographer, and more to bring it to life. Have you thought about invitations? What about a photo booth? Do you need to rent linens? A dance floor? A tent?
It's all so much. And, after planning more than 50 large-scale corporate events like galas and fundraisers during her time as a digital ad exec, Julie Roth Novack had discovered a void.
"I was looking for a really elevated design, and I couldn't find what I was looking for online," the Chicagoan says.
Eventually, she found what she was looking for—sort of. During a kitchen renovation, she discovered Houzz, the website dedicated to all things home design that lets users browse photos for inspiration, find actual local professionals, and even buy products. "I was obsessed," Roth Novack says. "My husband was like, 'our kitchen is done, and you're still looking at Houzz.'" Why didn't something like that exist for parties?
So, with 20 years of digital agency experience under her belt, Roth Novack set out to build it. She did just that in 2015 with PartySlate, which she calls an "inspiration platform for beautiful event design."
Like Houzz, PartySlate also puts imagery front and center, allowing users to peruse photos and videos of actual celebrations. Sure, you can do that on Pinterest or Instagram, but social media is like "the wild, wild west" when it comes to accountability, Roth Novack says. Anyone can post a photo from anything, and good luck figuring out how to recreate it.
But with PartySlate, every image is linked back to the actual event professional behind it. If you like the way a certain wedding arch looks, say, you can click the photo, which will lead to the florist's page, and conceivably commission the exact same thing for your own big day.
Users can also filter content by event type, color scheme, party theme, guest count, and more. The website bills itself as a community that connects people with the pros who can execute their vision. It's free for everyone to join, but professionals can opt for a paid premium account to boost their exposure.
It's now in 10 cities, including Houston as of this May. Roth Novack celebrated the launch here by—how else?—throwing a party. This time, event professionals were the guests.
PartySlate tapped local pros, now reachable on PartySlate, to transform The Revaire for its H-Town debut. They did just that with ice sculptures, gigantic suspended floral arrangements, a checkered dance floor, and dedicated food stations with goodies like mini chicken biscuits, banh mi, oysters, and bourbon-spiked lemonade.
All told, the evening took 16 Houston companies to pull together. Aside from the aforementioned venue, they were: Keely Thorne Events, Johanna Terry Events, A Fare Extraordinaire, Jordan Kahn Orchestra, Gulf Coast Entertainment, House of Hough, Ham & Cheese Photobooth, My Sparkled Life, Colores Collective, Mike's Dance Floors, Chris Bailey Photography, 31 Films, LG Entertainment, The Essential Market, Maxit Flower Design, and DLG Ice Factory.
"We know this is a great events town—we know the talent in Houston," Roth Novack says. "We are so excited to put a spotlight on this incredible group of event professionals."