Montclair Magazine Holiday 2021 - Page 32

entertaining
WORKS OF ART Merritt has designed events at the Montclair Art Museum including its biannual Art in Bloom luncheon and its annual gala .
manager of the Travel Channel , prompting a move to Bethesda , Maryland . Merritt incorporated her services asR . Merritt Productions , and immediately found a local flower wholesaler to supply her business . A friend introduced her to a neighbor who was holding a fundraiser for Martha ’ s Table , the Washington , D . C . -based nonprofit for which celebrity chefs cook in private homes . Merritt designed the flowers for the fundraiser , and chef Michael Solomonov , who would go on to win multiple James Beard Awards , prepared the meal .
Jeremy Steindecker , the founder and president of Net Results Marketing , met Merritt when she did “ mind-blowingly beautiful centerpieces ” for him at a Washington charity event , and has worked with her many times since .
“ Rebecca has a knack for instantly understanding what a client is looking for and creating unique décor that is truly tailored to each event ,” he says . “ She is very hands-on and responsive , and is a real problem
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A PRO ’ S GUIDE TO HOLIDAY ENTERTAINING

We talked to Rebecca Merritt , owner of R . Merritt Productions , for tips on how readerscan have and attend safe and fun events at thismoment in COVID . Here , she shares her insights .

DO YOU HAVE THE SENSE THAT PEOPLE WILL BE BACK FULL FORCE TO HOLIDAY ENTERTAINING THIS SEASON ?
I think people are desperate to get back to asense of normal , but most of my clients in Montclair are still quite cautious . I think unlike years past , people are slower to plan ahead because this situation changes so rapidly . I ’ ve gotten the impression people are waiting to see that the new downturn in cases is not an anomaly before they cement their holiday plans .
WILL SUPPLY CHAIN ISSUES AFFECT PEOPLE ’ S PLANS ?
The public does not understand how decimated event professionals are by COVID . Many rental companies — from event furniture to lighting to tabletop — had little to no business for overayear . Huge event rental companies closed up shop during the height of the pandemic and , because they serviced large corporate events , have yet to reopen orare open in a very limited capacity .
The good news for clients is that companies that never did small social events are now willing to sendafew pieces to suburban New Jersey . My clients have access to rental items they wouldn ’ t prepandemic , which is great . But , rental companies are having a terrible time staffing up , so that gorgeous barwe rented might be in youryard for afew days longer than it would have been before COVID .
WHATABOUT FLOWERS , YOUR SPECIALTY ?
The floral supply chain , like so many other supply chains , is unbelievably broken right now . Be especially kind to your local florist ! Glass containers are stuck in cargo containers , factories overseas are not operating at their regular capacity and many utilitarian items , from vases to floral wire , are in short supply .
COURTESY OF TONY TURNER
30 HOLIDAY 2021 MONTCLAIR MAGAZINE