You know those dreamy, almost unreal-looking parties on TikTok? Chances are some of them that hit your FYP are curated by Cameron Forbes (she/her). The Gen Z event planner puts together some of the chicest and most thorough parties you’ll ever see, and it all started as a side gig. While working a corporate gig, she planned small parties for friends, and a year into it was able to pursue event-planning full-time through her company, Forbes Functions. Today, she has a team of four and has planned everything from cookbook launches to weddings.

What inspired Forbes Functions?
Both my mother and grandmother loved entertaining, so growing up, every night was a special occasion in my house. We always had flowers on the table, with our napkins perfectly folded and tablecloth expertly steamed. As I got older, I became known as the friend to go to for party planning needs: I loved finding new venues, putting together floral arrangements, and designing custom menus and place cards. After putting together a big birthday dinner for a friend, I realized I could turn my love of hosting into a business and started Forbes Functions.

How does Gen Z handle party planning differently than other generations?
I think Gen Z’s love of content and social media has pushed them to focus on the visual aspect of party planning. One of the top terms I find in my client requests is “Instagrammable,” which encapsulates the demand for platform-perfect floral arrangements, disco ball installations, and hand-drawn menus. Gen Z doesn’t just want to plan or attend an event that’s fun and memorable—they like to be able to post about it. Another thing Gen Z does differently is engaging everyone—guests want an activity or something to do. Gen Z likes their parties to be interactive and interesting, whether they’re prepping vision boards, making heart-shaped pizzas, or painting candlesticks.

What are the biggest party themes you’re seeing for 2024?
Definitely the revival of supper and cookbook clubs as guests gather to make and share recipes, cocktails, and more. A number of small supper clubs have popped up in NYC and LA in the last few years, and I think we will continue to see more appear, as well as at-home hosts taking inspiration. As the “mob wife” aesthetic trends on TikTok and we approach the warmer months, I also expect a resurgence in Italian-inspired themes, whether it’s La Dolce Vita in Capri with lots of blue and lemons or a luxurious House of Gucci feel. With Gatsby returning to Broadway, I also foresee a rise in roaring twenties-themed fêtes after a few years out of fashion. Finally, I don’t see any end to the beloved bow obsession and I think clients will continue to come to me for feminine, coquette-inspired brunches and dinner parties.

Party planning can get overwhelming. What’s your secret for nailing down the perf theme and details for each client?
Organization and communication are key! Whether you’re working with a party planner or putting an event together on your own, starting the process with a clear vision and keeping track of all the moving parts are critical. Create a list of event elements and to-dos before you begin, make sure you have copies of contracts and receipts, and draft a basic timeline for the event before the big day. Furthermore, don’t hesitate to communicate your ideas to the venue or vendors.

What’s your fave part of the process?
My favorite part of the process is always seeing the event come together. Just last week, I was able to enjoy the experience of building an interactive farmer’s market from scratch—and taking it down—in twelve hours. After weeks or months of planning, watching the rentals you handpicked, the florist you went back and forth with, and the tent you deliberated on finally getting set up and coming together to create the perfect party is the best feeling ever.

If someone isn’t able to hire an event planner, what’s the top tip you can share with them to plan the event themselves?
Always give yourself plenty of time. When you plan an event with food, drink, décor, and guests involved, something will not work out as intended. Allowing yourself additional time to sort out potential mishaps and account for any delays will significantly decrease stress before the event and guarantee any issues that may arise will be sorted. When I host at home, I will start prepping weeks before (see: planning menus, ordering items in advance, sending invites) and setting the table the morning of. I would rather sit back with a cocktail in hand, waiting for guests to arrive, than run around with my hair in a towel because the bartender is late.