The Intimate Dinner That Went Full Titanic

The Intimate Dinner That Went Full Titanic

When pouring rain floods your chic cellar soirée.

Welcome to Hungry, Sober, Mad, where we share the best party mishaps and disasters, to prove that even a party gone awry is better than no party at all.

First up is our very own Jessica Latham, co-founder of Social Studies and professional event planner extraordinaire. Read on for her best party disaster below.

Not in the dinner program: moving furniture to higher ground.

Parties are not always perfect. They aren’t sweater sets, pearls, and perfectly-iced cakes.

The first time I entertained in New York, I almost burned my apartment down. No kidding — firemen actually showed up. I hosted about 30 people in a studio apartment and served the best damn beef tenderloin anyone had ever tasted. My guests sat on the floor, my bed, and the kitchen counter. Nevermind that I had to put out a grease fire by throwing flour on my stove, resulting in a kitchen that looked like it had been doused in grandma’s gravy, ringing fire alarms, and a completely evacuated building. Everyone remembers that party.

Behind every “perfect” party, there is a host nursing a drink to calm her nerves, wondering...does everything look ok? Do I have enough wine? Will my guests even like the wine? God, I should have splurged on the nicer cabernet. Is the playlist good or is it cheesy? How in the world am I going to time the food right, so it’s all hot when I serve it? Will people have fun? Oh shit, I forgot club soda. I’m starving. Did I even eat anything today? It’s 20 minutes after the start time and no one is here. They aren’t coming. Oh my god, this is going to be so lame. Why did I do this?!

Sound familiar? The truth is that no party ever runs perfectly. One of our Social Studies launch parties was a perfect example of a “party disaster” — and we’re professionals!

The scene of our perfect dinner right before guests arrived.

It was an exciting night for us as a baby company. It was at our favorite backyard restaurant, Frankies 457 in Carroll Gardens, and we were co-hosting with Gossamer Magazine. We had pulled off the perfect “we just threw this together” kind of vibe. Guests arrived sporting their finest Boerum Hill workman jumpsuits and designer sneakers. It was pouring rain, but no one cared. The CBD chocolates and natural wine flowed like water. Life was good. Until...


We noticed water rising underneath the tables. The pouring rain was actually flooding the venue. Within minutes, guests would be up to their ankles. There was absolutely nothing to do — no lifeboat — but embrace it. A relaxed host means relaxed guests, so we kicked off our shoes, splashed in the water and migrated the group (and furniture!) to higher ground. It was a bonding experience for all, and ended up being the perfect icebreaker. We laughed harder, felt closer, and walked away with a memorable story.

So remember this: through hell or (unexpectedly) high water, a gracious, relaxed host is always a crowd pleaser. And sometimes, the imperfect moments in life are actually...perfect.