Kardashian party planner Mindy Weiss on planning a memorable holiday amid a pandemic

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Celebrity event planner Mindy Weiss had to reimagine her business in the age of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Beverly Hills-based Weiss, the mastermind behind dreamy weddings and picture-perfect holiday winter wonderland scapes seen around social media, has worked with the likes of the Kardashian family, Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin, and Ellen DeGeneres, among other notable names. But 2020 threw a wrench in her party planning.

"You could imagine we went from 100 to zero in seconds," Weiss recalled during the early days of the pandemic, when weddings and milestone events were put on ice.

"The panic set in. We were postponing everybody’s events — about 27 events by September. It was a constant merry-go-round of ‘should I do it? Should I not?' That’s how the micro wedding and event trend came to be," says Weiss, who is hopeful that the COVID-19 vaccine will bring positive news for the events business.

The world has caught a glimpse of the designer’s portfolio around social media via her signature shiny matte balloon arches and floral displays.

She brought the roaring '20s back to life for Kris Jenner’s "Great Gatsby"-themed 60th birthday bash. She dreamt up the whimsical wedding reception for The Biebers, with nude floral arrangements and a sea of greenery descending down from the ceiling. And she built an amusement park in Kylie Jenner’s backyard for her daughter’s "Stormi World" birthday party, complete with a lifelike balloon image entrance of her now 2-year-old. 

But with most weddings postponed, canceled or hosted on a much smaller scale this year, Weiss is now giving the world a look into her exclusive party planning tips with a "Master Class"-inspired series she's hosting with her party-planner business partner Debbie Geller, called "MAD About Weddings." With the series, she hopes to help couples navigate the waters of wedding planning. It’s a 12-part video program that breaks down dress shopping, venue vetting and more. 

"It’s the bare bones of ‘this is what you need to do if you can’t afford a wedding planner, here you go,'" Weiss says. 

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And leave it to the designer to find a way to make PPE chic. That means finding clever ways to cover up the hand sanitizer bottles on tables, and making personalized masks embroidered with guests' names on them. Some of her high-profile clients have even started splurging for rapid COVID tests for guests to safely gather, she says.

Of course, large gatherings are still frowned upon by the CDC and most counties' health departments. But that doesn't mean you can't take a few tips from Weiss about how to liven up your next event, however small the guest list may be. 

The Decor

Weiss, who has brought her creative visions of sugarplums to life when creating snowy scenes in Calabasas for the Kardashians with hundreds of white lights and a Whoville-inspired art installation, says having a design moment is a must, even if you’re celebrating with a few close family members. 

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"Sometimes dense decorations make for excitement even if it’s five people," Weiss says. 

"Will you put up a smaller tree because you have fewer people? No, you’re going to put up your Christmas tree. It doesn’t need to be less, If anything, I think it needs to be more because everybody is ready to celebrate. More lights — whatever is going to elevate people’s moods to celebrate," Weiss said. 

Just because your guest list is smaller, it doesn’t mean you can’t plan a celebration or eye-catching Christmas display.
(Mindy Weiss)

The Menu

When it comes to constructing a menu for a few guests, Weiss says avoid buffet-style. 

"Don’t plan your menu with people sharing food or the idea of family-style. That’s not going to work anymore with everybody passing the bowl or breathing close," she says. "We suggest plated so that minimal people have touched it. It’s right in front of you. My signature dish of French fries isn't happening this year," she quips of the communal side dish. 

Instead, she suggests four or five different appetizers each plated per guest. 

"Everyone gets their own plate and it's passed to one person and you choose what you eat and what you don’t eat. You’re not taking from a tray that 20 people have already touched. We found this to be the safest solution for hors 'devours," West says.

Floral arrangements 

Flowers, Weiss said, are the life of any party decor to add an "air of elegance" to a room or focal point. The first step is deciding the preferred floral style and type. 

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That could mean clean-cut calla lilies, orchids or tulips, or more romantic-inspired looks with roses, peonies and hydrangeas arranged with warm candles for the perfect centerpiece, she advises on her website.

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