Top Designer Lynn Easton Shares Her All-Time Favorite Venues for Events
The Virginia-based event designer and hospitality veteran discusses where she entertains out-of-town guests, finds her favorite meal, gets work done on the road, and more.
Lynn Easton is the co-founder of Easton Porter Group, a hospitality company that includes her design and event-planning firm Easton Events. Focused mainly on ultra-luxury destination weddings as well as corporate clients, Easton Events has offices in Charlottesville, Virginia, and Charleston, South Carolina. Easton was named one of BizBash's top event designers in 2017. Photo: Jen Fariello
To Entertain a Team or Clients
When entertaining in New York our go-to place is La Mercerie. Chef Marie-Aude Rose creates inspired French bistro magic in the kitchen. You dine with that almost intangible combination of great lighting, intimate setting, sexy soundtrack, and cool vibe while attentively being served by warm and dashingly appointed staff.
For My Favorite Meal
One of my favorite meals of all time is on the terrace of the ultra-chic Monteverdi hotel in Tuscany, Italy. It’s the convergence of simple ingredients combined extraordinarily and served so sincerely, in an astonishingly beautiful setting.
To Hear Live Music
We head to Smalls Jazz Club whenever we are in New York. It’s always exciting to sit just 15 feet from some of the most epic jazz musicians out there. Another jazz haunt is Zinco in Mexico City. This cool place has Latin America's most insanely talented musicians playing into the wee hours of the morning.
To Entertain Out-of-Towners
In Charleston, you will find us at our Zero Restaurant & Bar. We want to show our guests how we define hospitality. Zero is a combination of all the things we love. Our tucked-away little gem has dazzling dishes, inspired lighting, and amiable service. It’s simple but not so simple—layers of details unfold quietly. Zero is not just about dining; it is a crafted experience.
To Get Inspired
Traveling for pleasure is how I get inspired and stay energized. In the last 12 months, that inspiration has come from exploring the textiles of India, the colors of Morocco, the spirit of Ireland, the vastness of Patagonia, the ceramics of Sardinia, the food of Tuscany, the luxury of Paris, and the craftsmanship of Mexico.
For a Picture-Perfect Event
I did a site visit to Ballyfin Demesne in Ireland recently, and I was smitten. Think Downton Abbey with an Irish brogue—fabulous on all levels. The trillium blue staircase, which dominates the entrance, is about as Instagrammable as it gets. Photo: Courtesy of Ballyfin Demesne
To See Art and Culture
Charleston and Charlottesville both have a unique and rich architectural history as well as a vibrant art and cultural scene. I also frequently visit New York and Paris for work—two meccas for museums, galleries, and theater. My favorites museums are La Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris and the ever-mesmerizing MoMa in New York. Recently, I had a fabulous and unexpected opportunity to visit the home of Yves Saint Laurent’s home in Marrakech. The experience of color, texture, and space was wildly inspiring.
To Host an Event at a Hotel
I am a true #amanjunkie, and we love planning events in any of their amazing locations. Each Aman property is unique to its locale and cultural surrounding. The design is always inspired by the region and its history. There are too many favorites to mention, but this year we are planning a wedding at the Aman Sveti Stefan in Montenegro and exploring booking the Amanjena in Marrakech.
For an Event in the Countryside
Blackberry Farm in the Tennessee Smoky Mountains strikes the perfect balance between beautiful and thoughtful design combined with countryside. The property is nestled in the Smokies and marries natural romanticism with a modern luxuriousness. The sit-back-and-chill ambiance allows guests to go from fishing and hunting to black tie, without missing a beat.Photo: Beall + Thomas Photography
To Stay Close to Home
We genuinely love events at our Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyard in Virginia. We imagined the concept, chose the land, custom-designed the interiors, and selected every element in order to meet our high expectations of what the ideal venue should be. I am, of course, partial to the Hill’s custom aesthetic. Add in the spectacular view of the Blue Ridge mountains with cool evening breezes, exceptional food, and wine, and we think it is pretty perfect.
To Get Work Done on the Road
You’ll find me in the Delta Sky Lounge, head down, headphones on, furiously answering emails, reviewing contracts, or approving design elements.Photo: Chris Rank