“I haven’t been a guest at a really good party in 15 years,” moans professional hostess Rachel Fay, 58. “But I’ve been to plenty of bad ones – people looking at their mobiles, shifting awkwardly from foot to foot, and stuck talking to the same person they were chatting to an hour ago. We’re simply not mingling any more,” she tells the Daily Mail’s Rachel Carlyle.
At one such event in 2010, Fay had an “aha” moment: party-planners would pay for her services (she charged £250 to £2,500) to keep guests happy. She’s hosted more than 100 parties since, and has never been more busy, even overseeing introductions for Prince Charles. The problem, says Fay, is that we no longer introduce our guests to one another. “It’s the hostess’s job to allow people to sparkle. [Guests] can’t shine if they feel anxious about not knowing people… It’s like that first day at school where you worry: ‘Who’s going to play with me?"
This article first appeared in MoneyWeek in December 2017, issue no 873