Spotlights

Meet Kate Pauley, Photographer & Founder of Create Dinners

Create Dinners hosts events fueled by intentional conversation and authentic connection. Keep on reading to learn more about Kate and Create Dinners!

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Kate, the founder of Create Dinners, has thrown over 60 dinner parties to date. If you haven’t been to a Create Dinners event before, do yourself a favor and keep an eye on their event calendar. We aren’t kidding when we say their events are absolute magic.

We’re so excited to chat with Kate today about her background, love for hospitality and great company, and how she manages to do all she does while staying inspired.

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Tell us about yourself and how Create Dinners got started.

Hi! I’m Kate, a photographer and the founder of Create Dinners. Create Dinners started with an email to a small group of friends, asking them if they were interested in bringing their different creative talents to the table, quite literally—a florist made the arrangements on the table, a ceramicist made the vases, a stylist set the table, a designer printed menus, a chef cooked the meal, and I documented everything. We all posted photos, and enough people asked us about it that we decided to host another one and open it up to more friends. I built a website and it kind of took off from there by word of mouth.

Did you always love to curate special experiences, like dinners and celebrations, for your friends? Is there a particular story or memory you have that started it all for you?

I honestly cannot remember a time when events and special experiences weren't present in my life. This is certainly not the first memory I have when it comes to food and hosting, but a pivotal one… For my boyfriend’s birthday in high school, I told him I had booked a table at a new restaurant in town. I picked him up and drove him to “Café Pauley,” aka my parent’s living room transformed into a restaurant with custom printed menus, a very Create Dinners-esque (albeit less elevated circa 2007) table setting, Italian music playing, and the real cherry on top—my mom acting as the waitress all night. So yeah, I was super cool in high school, and nothing has really changed.

At your events, you’re creating an experience for people and setting the tone for what the gathering will feel like. This feels like a similar role that interior designers play in their work. How do you incorporate design into what you do? Does it play a big role in your day-to-day work?

Definitely. So much of my job is looking at different textiles, textures, colors, and art. I worked at an agency for nearly a decade before running Create Dinners full-time and made mood boards for clients and projects weekly. I do the same for Create Dinners all the time, as I’ve found it to be one of the easiest ways to convey a visual concept to someone.

long dinner table with stylish table setting
Photographer Credit: Eloise Patterson

Tell us about an artist or designer you love. What about them and their work are you drawn to?

I was recently introduced to Lane Walkup, who is a delight—she’s a sculptural artist based out of Brooklyn. She makes small and large-scale creations that merge 2D and 3D, which are all so rad. I’m also in awe of everything Sarah Espeute makes. Her embroidery is *chef’s kiss*!

Where do you find inspiration these days?

Nature, family, and friends.

When you’re not busy throwing fabulous dinner parties, what do you do on your time off to recharge creatively?

I get a lot of my creative energy from cooking, which I’m surrounded by all the time with Create Dinners, but something I personally rarely do at our events. Few things bring me to life like a thoughtfully curated (some may say bougie) grocery store and new recipes.

Do you have any hosting tips for our readers who are gearing up for holiday festivities?

Ask yourself these questions: How can I create a meaningful or memorable experience for the people I’m hosting? How can I make people feel at home in my home? How can I prepare ahead of time to make our time together as stress-free as possible and to allow myself to be a warm, present, generous host? I could write a million tips about setting a pretty table and ideas for food and beverages, but the best gatherings start with the host and their heart/mindset towards hosting.

Do you have any upcoming events or projects that you’re excited about? What can we expect from Create Dinners in 2023?

There are always things in the works over here! In 2023, there will be more Sourdough dinners, more women’s dinners, custom events for brands, and a few collaborative events. We’re planning our first-ever full-day workshop for International Women’s Day in March—it’s going to be really special.

cheers with wine glasses
Photographer Credit: Leandra Creative Co.

To learn more about Create Dinners, visit their website or Instagram.

Date Posted
December 8, 2022
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Thingology

Black Pitcher by Ahmee Ceramics

Ahmee is based out of Stonington, CT, near my home in RI, and I am such a huge fan. Every one of their pieces is handmade by one of their owners, Amee, and no two are the same.
I love their vases, particularly those with big mouths and handles like this one.

Round Dutch Oven by Le Creuset

I got one of these babies for my birthday a few years ago, and I can truthfully say that they live up to the hype. They look great sitting out, they can make anything from bread to soups or stews to mashed potatoes, and there’s a color and size for everyone.

Eames Molded Plywood Dining Chair

This is less of a right now than a forever love. This chair is timeless and will always make my eyes light up. Ray and Charles Eames were the leading engineers for wood molding and changed the game of producing functional and beautiful furniture.

Over Easy Piquette by Say When Wine

I’ve loved Say When for a long time, but like the wines they produce, they get better every year, from taste to branding. My friend Rachel started this company back in 2013 and I’ve learned so much about the wine-making process and all that goes into it from her. Their branding is always on point, but their Over Easy Piquette that looks like an egg is simply perfect.

The Scoop Bra by CUUP

I met one of the founders of CUUP at a party about four years ago. With my permission, she assessed my boobs, told me what size to order, and I’ve yet to find a better-fitting bra. They’re weightless but supportive, and come in really lovely muted shades with lots of fun limited-edition drops. I wear their scoop and plunge bras almost daily.

Offsite Camp

I’m slightly biased here, but my husband has been working for many months to build the first of many cabins designed for remote workers. The prototype lives in Wassaic, NY, and is literally days away from being finished. I knew it would be beautiful and well-designed, but it has exceeded all expectations, and I’m so proud of him. I can’t wait for city dwellers to escape up here. (I’m typing from the cozy bed nook at this very moment!)

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