The Set’s irresistible tabletops invite guests to sit and stay.
Created to set the scene for an event from beginning to end, The Set Events and Design is about luxury tabletop products and beautiful design — and so much more. Libby Howard and Sydney Rainey, friends and founders of The Set, prepare the table for connection with their talent for creating intentional, effervescent atmospheres, and for helping their hosts feel present and at ease. The pair is elevating intimate events into unforgettable experiences.
Their foundation for thoughtful gatherings was handed down by the two generations of women who came before them.
“My Mummer would host bridge, dinner, cooking — anything she could think of to bring people together. It helped create a foundation that there are different ways to celebrate and there are special ways to make space for everyone to feel loved and at home,” said Howard.
Each woman inherited a distinct verve for entertaining from her own mom and grandmother. It’s now something they continue to nurture in each other. Friends from middle school, Howard and Rainey reconnected in 2020 after the onset of the pandemic, discovering they held a shared vision for connection and celebrations. They were hopeful about how significant these gatherings could be in the aftermath.
“While everything around us was shifting, we were lucky enough to have one another to stabilize us. There’s so much trust and grace between us,” said Rainey.
Therein lies the magic of The Set: Connection begets connection. Such attention to detail makes a Set event both a legacy experience and an act of genuine care.
“People remember how you made them feel,” said Rainey, “so we connect what they’re seeing to a deeper feeling of gathering together. Every detail needs to be thoughtful.”
The entire basis of The Set’s tablescape inventory and services is intentionality. Whether Howard and Rainey are designing an entire event with exquisite pieces from The Set’s collection or incorporating their host’s heirloom china, every event is elevated, layered and full of depth, while still being inviting and functional. They delight in alleviating those frazzled feelings hosts may have before guests arrive; the hosts don’t have to lift a finger. The Set graciously supplies ideas on how to use pieces to be functional and to create flow that orients everyone around the table — and back to each other. Whether moving used plates off the table or coordinating place cards, they consider real life around-the-table moments and the grace notes that make experiences lovelier.
They love the slack-jawed moment when eyes are first laid on a fully layered and set table, but the best effect is something more nuanced and intimate.
“Have you ever heard of the Spanish phrase ‘sobremesa?’” Rainey asked. “It describes the time people spend lingering around the table after a meal. It’s the way they stay — it’s about comfort and connection. No one wants to leave.”
Sobremesa is the perfect afterglow to a Set event … one that becomes even better when they handle all the clean-up.