Food & Drink

Party Pizazz

The Savory Affair's Jessica Granatiero on the makings of a great event

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What inspired you to become an event planner?
Over the past few years our wine store, The Savory Grape, has been unofficially offering event services to our clients upon request. Our deep knowledge of food and wine, fine attention to detail and industry connections lead to us creating exceptional events.

How do you blend the two businesses?
Based on our knowledge and passion for wine and wine and food pairings, clients can expect a higher level of expertise in this area. If a client wanted to plan a wine-centric event, or an event with a more premium wine influence, The Savory Affair is uniquely positioned in Rhode Island to design such an event. And it doesn’t have to be expensive, either. There are so many great value wines available today. I am a firm believer that every celebration should include bubbly, sparkling wine.

What is the best way to plan a high style event on a budget?
Focus on components that make an impression and let go of extras. Use lighting to create drama and transform a space. Do not skimp on food and beverage. If you’re going to invest a larger part of your budget anywhere, here’s where to do it.

Do you see a current trend in event planning?
Unexpected entertainment! This startedwith the popularity of photo booths. Think celebrity impersonators or jugglers. Consider holding your event in non-traditional venues, such as at a museum or a zoo. Wine tastings are increasingly popular.

Let’s say I hire you to throw a Sweet 16 on a $5,000 budget. What are the “must haves” you take care of first?                                  
First, the birthday girl/boy’s outfit. Next, the cake. If you invest in a show-stopping cake, it serves its purpose for dessert as well as a conversation piece. And of course the entertainment. From a DJ, band, performers or even a photo booth... ensure the age group will be entertained.

Which event are you most proud of?
The Savory Grape Charity Wine Festival is an annual event that we started six years ago. The evening is a way to bring wine lovers together to enjoy and sample wine from all over the world. Each year we alternate between the Rhode Island Community Food Bank and the Rhode Island Community Action Association, the latter of which will our beneficiary for 2012. Each year, we’ve been able to raise an increasing number of money for these organizations. This year it’s taking place on November 3, at the Dorrance in Providence.