Skip navigation
Special Events
Kelly Murphy

After Party: Kelly Murphy on her Life After Special Events

Panache Party Rentals Kelly Murphy to retire

Kelly MurphyFor many in the industry, it's going to hard to imagine events without Kelly Murphy.

With husband Bob DeFriest, Murphy helped pioneer the business in 1992 when they founded Panache Party Rentals out of their home. With a focus on high-end linen and high-end service, the operation grew steadily. In 2007, the pair elected to sell the Pompano Beach, Fla.-based firm to party rental powerhouse Classic Party Rentals, with Murphy staying on in management. But this chapter of her life is coming to a close, as Murphy recently announced she will be moving on.

She says her years with Classic let her "continue on the journey to learn and experience opportunities working some amazing rental professionals throughout the country." But hitting what she calls a personal "life speed bump" over the summer prompted her to think about what she has accomplished in the last 23 years and what more she can do.

"Having more time with my husband and family is paramount," she says, adding that nurturing her own creativity to tap into other areas of the industry is irresistible.  

So the good news is, we won't have to imagine events without Kelly Murphy. Indeed, she says she has some client projects in the food and wine event space on her calendar, along with future collaboration with Classic Panache and some community projects that have been "swirling in my head for a long time."

Indeed, her commitment to her local community goes back over two decades. Murphy has been a longtime supporter of Share Our Strength, which helps feed needy children via its "Taste of the Nation" events. "I am very proud that all of our South Florida Taste of the Nation and Food Network South Beach Food & Wine Festival [another longtime Panache event] coordinate a food-rescue program to ensure that no safe leftover food goes to waste after each event."

And for those of you eager to learn where she will head next, she says: "Stay tuned!"

Classic Pompano Beach/Panache 2009 N.W. 25th Ave., Pompano Beach, FL 33069; 954/871-8484;

PERFECT TEAM "As a Classic Party Rentals team member, I am very proud of my role working with team members around the country for National Football League Super Bowl events. Each city brings its own set of challenges, be it weather--Dallas and New Jersey were the coldest for me--logistics, installation and tear-down parameters, and sheer size of the events because of the prestige of the game."

PERFECT PARTNER "I am fortunate to have the most amazing husband, friend and partner who supported me regardless how over-committed I am and yet will remind me that 'life is calling' from time to time and to participate in today."

Photo by Michael Murphy

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.