Photography: Nancy Jo McDaniel In the Middle Ages, the term “valet de chambre” characterized a male servant who served as a personal attendant to their employer. Today, a parking “valet” is a service employee who parks cars for guests at events, private affairs, hotels, and restaurants. Some might think that hiring a valet service is an unnecessary cost, but after months of planning, hiring a professional valet service should at least be considered. There can be several reasons for hiring a valet, from offering it as a special kindness to your guests, to cutting out an excessive walk to the parking lot, or even making sure your guests avoid a muddy trudge to and from the party door should it rain. Ultimately, valet service is a great way to add a departing, memorable touch. As an example of this, party favors, such as bottled sparkling water or sugar cookies and a note expressing your gratitude for their attendance, can be placed on the console of each vehicle as they are parked. At a recent event, we arranged to have everyone’s car washed while they celebrated inside. As the valet pulled their vehicle curbside, guests were shocked and surprised to find their newly washed cars gleaming in the moonlight. A valet service is much more than a bunch of twenty-something’s in red vests and sneakers; it’s an essential ingredient for a successful evening and one of the best ways to show your guests how much they are truly appreciated.