As the founder of her own glassware line, Stephanie Summerson Hall is inspired by the Southern charm and hospitality of her grandmother.

By Samantha Hunter
February 02, 2021
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different types of glassware from Estelle Colored Glassware
Credit: Courtesy of Estelle Colored Glassware

Over the past year, we've all gotten a lot better at staying connected with our friends and family through virtual events and much smaller, intimate gatherings with a very select few people. If you're looking to spend time with loved ones—either in person with your immediate family or virtually with a larger group of loved ones—a happy hour is a good way to do just that. But instead of getting everyone on a video call, go ahead and plan it out.

Stephanie Summerson Hall, the founder of Estelle Colored Glass, an heirloom-quality glassware and stemware company named after her grandmother Estelle (who Hall credits with teaching her how to be a fine hostess), suggests making your happy fun, safe, and memorable. She has her own idea of what makes a good happy hour, and it's effortlessly beautiful. "It's just good company and a nice mix of people, with diverse backgrounds and even common interests," as described by Hall. "It's letting everything unfold, organically, just letting people have good conversation and very low key, very cordial kind of way—those are what I gravitate towards."

Here, we spoke to Hall about hosting such a get-together, whether it be virtually or amongst members of your own household.

Stephanie Summerson Hall with a glass in hand
table decorated with Estelle Colored Glassware
Left: Credit: Courtesy of Estelle Colored Glassware
Right: Credit: Courtesy of Estelle Colored Glassware

Set a Date

Although our quarantine lifestyle can make the prospect of a happy hour more challenging, Hall assures that it is possible: "You have to really imagine in your head, remember that feeling you get when you're just in the company of people you enjoy." She advises picking a time of day that is convenient for all guests to your happy hour. If you opt to go virtual, consider selecting a time of the evening that offers participants a chance to transition from their work day, be it remote or onsite, and prepare for the festivities. If you are planning an intimate in-person affair, consider hosting a midday or early afternoon happy hour over the weekend.

Mix and Match Glassware

More and more, Hall says people are opting to personalize their gatherings. To do so for your next happy hour, she suggests sending a kit including glasses to guests (she says that if you know your quarantine pod really well, you can assign colored glasses to your crew based on their personal color preferences and include a note to that says something along the lines of, "I look forward to sharing a drink, with you soon. Cheers!"

"One of our most popular items is our multi-color mixed set," she says, which is available in sets of stemless glasses ($160 for six, estellecoloredglass.com) and stemmed glasses ($175 for six, estellecoloredglass.com). Hall says that several of her customers have gotten creative and decided to break up the sets so as to create a more customized and memorable experience, and have requested that Estelle ship individual pieces from the set to family and friends in anticipation of a virtual or in-person occasion. "That's definitely something that our company can facilitate, and is a great way to keep occasions very festive and fun," she adds.

Evoke Memories with a Toast

For Hall, the ability of family heirlooms to unify people together will never lose its charm. "As a child and now as an adult, I have vivid memories of all these events," says Hall, "you know, like if I see a glass, it just triggers a thousand warm, fond memories." The right pieces of glassware can add a layer of color and character to any kind of entertaining and, in the process of table-setting, they lend themselves to creating those still-sought after memories, a mission that she takes on gladly. "That's what our brand is about," she says. "I'm helping you fill memories with the beautiful pieces."

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