Home Business JoBeth McElhanon: Connection Over Perfection

JoBeth McElhanon: Connection Over Perfection


After scrolling through JoBeth McElhanon’s Instagram account, you can’t help but feel inspired to send a group text and start planning your next dinner party. That togetherness is exactly what JoBeth is striving to do with her newly launched boutique event planning business, Lilias & Olive.

While Lilias & Olive provides planning services around milestone events like weddings and various parties, JoBeth talked to host Natalie Ghidotti about her mission to also inspire smaller community-based gatherings.

You might want to grab a pen and paper while you listen to this episode, which is also available on iTunes, Stitcher and our website.

– Sandra McGrew, Ghidotti Communications

The Arkansas 100 Podcast is recorded at The Butler Center, a department of the Central Arkansas Library System, in downtown Little Rock.


You provide inspiration to many through your social channels. Where do you get your inspiration from? And more specifically, who do you follow on social media to gain inspiration?

Inspiration for me really comes from anywhere. I’m drawn to classic styles with feminine touches whether it’s a home, a table setting, fashion or an event.  I like gingham, chintz and block printed fabrics, ribbons, antiques, and garden style.   
The tastemakers who constantly inspire me online and I enjoy following are Mark D. Sikes @markdsikes, Aerin Lauder (@aerin),  Gen Sohr of Pencil and Paper Co. (@pencilandpaperco), Erika M. Powell of Urban Grace Interiors (@erikampowell) Carolina Herrera @carolinaherra

What are the top three things that are really worth the splurge during a wedding or significant event?

  1. Flowers:  Florals don’t have to be over the top, but they add a natural and thoughtful element to the overall design.  I have many people tell me that flowers are not a priority, but when you look back at the evening beautiful florals will make all the difference in your photos. 
  2. Linens:   Thoughtfully choosing elegant linens – tablecloths and napkins – can completely elevate the event from everyday ho-hum to something truly wonderful.  
  3. Lighting:   Whether it’s a home or an event, it’s often overlooked, but the one element that can truly transform a space. 

If you possessed a super power, what would it be and why? 

Time Travel / Time Manipulation:  I am fascinated by fashion and styles of multiple eras and would enjoy traveling to experience it first hand and to travel forward to see what could be. Then, bring those experiences to the present to enhance my design ideas.  Not to mention, how fun it would be to connect with people I admire in history or to experience some of my favorite moments with friends again. 

What is your go-to outfit for:

A casual party?  Crisp white shirt, Jacket with unique details with jeans and fun pair of booties.

A dressy party? Something with a ruffle. I LOVE a good ruffle whether its a cuff, hem, or collar of a blouse or dress.  Black-tie? Crisp white shirt, a ball skirt, and layered pearls for a necklace.

If you had to sum up your business in three words, what would they be? 

Classic. Pretty. Gracious.

For a novice who wants to start hosting more parties at home, what are three things you would recommend they buy or invest in right now? 

  1. White Dinnerware – start with the dinner plates.  William Sonoma and Pottery Barn  have “pantry” options that are a great place to begin. 
  2. Rattan / Wicker chargers or placemats.  These are can be season-less and add a fun element.  
  3.  Linen Napkins with a monogram.  These can be as unique as you desire when it comes to the pattern of the fabric and the monogram. It’s a way to make it yours. 

With these three elements, you are well on your way to a pretty party with friends.   


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