November 10th, 2010 |

Coral Baby Shower

 

I received this darling baby shower from Beth of Beth Beattie Branding, PR and Events….and I couldn’t wait to show it to you!  I love the color palette and the use of such a unique theme for a baby shower….I think you will find great inspiration from this party for any sort of baby or bridal shower or birthday party.  Here are a few tidbits from Beth:

Inspired by a friend’s necklace with coral, seahorse and starfish hanging, Baby Elsa’s shower décor began.  We started with a custom invite featuring the coral pattern, graphics of the crib, mobile with a seahorse, starfish, shellfish and the baby Elsa’s name. An “E” made out of starfish was the backdrop of the bar with specialty mimosas and bellinis called “Momosas” and “Babyllinis.” The drink names were on custom coral tent cards and sliced star fruit topped the glasses to resemble starfish. The dessert table featured red and blue treats with cake pops by Southern Belle’s Cakery, custom cookies from Gumdrop Cookie Shop had the coral pattern and her monogram, seahorse lollipops from SweetLeslie540 and cupcakes topped with starfish from DD’s cupcakes.  Custom stickers and cellophane bags were available so guests could take sweet treats home with them. A “Baby Elsa” banner from Party Starters hung above the dessert table. Paper poms hung above the bar, dessert table and as part of the coral and shells centerpiece. We had a “make a wish” custom frame with tealight candles to float in the pool after making a wish for the mom-to-be. Seahorse and coral napkins from Pineapples Palms, Etc. were displayed in a coral piece on the food table. Custom coral patterned picks were in the mini quiche along with other delicious appetizers made by the mom-to-be’s friend.

Photography by Alana Harris Photography.


November 8th, 2010 |

Cupcakes & Cocktails

With the launch of our first WH Hostess Holiday Catalog last week, there has been a buzz of holiday spirit around here!  In addition to our collection of holiday photo cards, party invitations, gift stickers, party accessories and little add on’s to make your hostess gifts stand out from the crowd, we also gave you a sneak peek of a signature party idea: Cupcakes & Cocktails.  Today, we are showing you all of the festive details and giving you the ‘how-to” instructions for throwing your own holiday party.

Christmas cupcakes and cocktails party invitation by wh hostess

I love giving the traditional Christmas color palette of red and green an update with modern patterns and fresh designs (that’s pretty obvious if you look thru our holiday collection!), so the idea of updating the “cupcakes and cocktails” theme for Christmas just seemed right to me.  The theme has been done well for bridal showers, birthday parties…..with a festive makeover, why wouldn’t it be darling for a ladies night holiday party?!  With that in mind, this darling invitation was born and the rest of the collection soon followed.

A holiday party wouldn’t be a party in my house without some bubbles!  I’m a sucker for a champagne cocktail, and always love to give my guests options.  Setting up a festive mimosa bar is the perfect way to do this.  Offer your guests different mixers such as blood orange, cranberry, pear, mango or peach nectors in glass juice bottles, and dress them up with custom drink tags.  Arrange your glasses on a lucite tray.  It will keep your table looking organized and by adding in a personalized, Christmas liner it adds to your holiday decor.  The striped straws don’t hurt either!

I’m a firm believer in “branding” your parties….carrying a design and color palette throughout your party helps to create a well-thought-out and cohesive look.  The drink tags, a mimosa bar sign, cupcake toppers, and candy jar tags all help to do this.

Putting together a dessert table for this theme is super fun….there are so many great candy options in a red, green and white color story!  Here are a few of my sweet details:

  • I used candy for EVERYTHING….even my centerpiece!  I created ribbon topiary trees by wrapping styrofoam cones with ribbon and placing them in pots.  I filled in around the trees with large pieces of green rock candy for a playful look.
  • Sugar cookies were embellished with fondant toppers (designed to perfectly coordinate with our theme!) by Two Sugar Babies, and were placed on a tray full of red hots.
  • Big, fluffy meringues and marshmallows are a great, and inexpensive addition to a holiday dessert table!
  • Apothecary jars and cylinder vases full of candy are fun and playful….Candy Warehouse sent me red hots, peppermints, red licorice wheels, green licorice sticks, gummy bells, and striped red, green and white rock candy to use for this photo shoot.
  • Candy jar tags and polka dot ribbon dress up the candy jars.
  • Since cupcakes are the main attraction at this party (okay…maybe second behind the champagne cocktails!), make them truly stand out!  I dressed up my cake stand with a polka dot liner, and edged it with hanging red pom poms.  It took me under 5 minutes and under $5 to do this….and look what an impact it made!  Coordinating cupcake toppers and striped wrappers finished the look.
  • Have small dessert plates readily available for your guests to pick up desserts while at the party, as well as boxes or bags for them to fill up with candy to bring home.

Party favors aren’t only for kids!  Everyone loves being surprised with a little something to bring home with them!  Since this is a cocktail party theme, I think it would be fun to send your guests home with a bottle of wine or a mini bottle of martini mix.  Custom labels dress them up and coordinate them right back to our theme!

November 2nd, 2010 |

Chic Thanksgiving Dinner

Now that Halloween has come and gone, it’s time to start conceptualizing  your Thanksgiving dinner and cocktail parties.  We have gorgeous inspiration to to share with you over the next couple of weeks….for today, soak in the details of this inspiration board for a chic Thanksgiving dinner.

Images: invitation (tinyprints.com), spinach artichoke dip (horchow.com), table setting (hgtv.com), chocolate mousse (traceylau.com)

 

October 29th, 2010 |

Halloween Party

I thought I would end the week with these darling images from one of my favorite party families.  The Brown family in Jacksonville, Florida threw a fabulous Halloween party for a bunch of families and used our WH Hostess Halloween collection.  Didn’t it turn out cute?!

October 27th, 2010 |

Thanksgiving {the-night-before} Cocktail Party

Today’s post is really fun!  Do you remember our darling Woodland Forest Birthday Party post last week?  Well, when Patrick’s mom hired us to do his birthday party, she also threw another request our way…..to plan a concept for a night-before-Thanksgiving cocktail party for friends and family.  She wanted something that looked rustic, yet modern, and something that wouldn’t involve preparing a whole lot of food.  Now here’s the kicker…..she wants to use the same items we used for Patrick’s birthday party for this party.  Intrigued?!  Read on to see how we re-vamped this child-friendly party to create a savvy adult-friendly cocktail party.

The first stop in my planning process was to head to my local fabric store to look for color and pattern inspiration.  (always one of my favorite places!)  I found a fabulous, fall-color, zig zag pattern reminiscent of a Missoni print.  Our fiesta zig zag collection is one of my favorites and most popular….so once I saw this fabric, I knew we could update that collection for Fall.  A mustard yellow, cranberry, brown and taupy-grey color palette emerged and off I went.  The invitation and return address label is above…..and that was just the beginning!

To show the client our concept, I pulled together a quick “photo shoot”.  Using the items I had purchased for her son’s birthday party, and a few other items bought locally, I staged these layouts using the same food that I had ordered for the birthday party (obviously, most of this is just a “stand-in” for placement).

The cocktail party was quickly given a “champagne & sweets” theme, and I focused on giving our hostess two unique table settings.  The first being a champagne bar – using a runner of our inspirational zig zag fabric atop a crisp white tablecloth, I used a woven vase cover for the centerpiece of berries branches, a modern hurricane with wood base, and woven candlesticks in varying heights to create an elevated display of champagne glasses. A coordinating sign completed our look!

We also created coordinating wine bottle labels, not only to further brand the party but also for the hosts to place on wine bottles to give guests as party favors.

The dessert table concept takes on a similar look with the berry centerpiece, hurricanes, and zig zag fabric.  I used the wood boxes from Patrick’s party to create stands to elevate the goodies.  Coordinating candy jar tags, cupcake toppers, bite size sweets, fabulous designer cookies by Allyson Jane, and a couple jars of candy (see the woodland party post for the full candy line-up pictured here) completed the look.

Here are a few of our key concepts for this project:

Amazon and WH Hostess are preferred sponsors of The Party Dress.

October 25th, 2010 |

Parties by WH Hostess: La De Da 5th Anniversary Party

I am very excited to show you today’s featured party…..my aunt owns a gift shop in my hometown of Northbrook, Illinois called la de da!  Full of charming home accents, perfect accessories and gifts for everyone, la de da has become a local hot spot in the North Shore of Chicago.  The store recently celebrated it’s 5th birthday, and my aunt decided it was time to throw a party.  She asked me to pull together a dessert table and some paper goods for the event…a non-shopping event for customers, friends and family to celebrate the success she has had over the last 5 years.

The store is decorated in black and white, so we decided to stick with the fabulously-girly color palette of hot pink, black and white.  The theme “cupcakes & champagne” was born and the double-sided postcard pictured above set the tone for the event.  We focused on two main things: a fabulous dessert table, and a festive champagne bar.

 

 

The shape of the table took form by using black and white floral tablecloths with hot pink toppers.  A tall, rod-iron trellis stood at each end of the table, and a banner hung in between.  I loved the height and visual interest this created, and to add a touch more color and whimsy to the design, I hung hot pink floral pomander balls in each trellis.  The tiered cupcake stand took center stage and was flanked by two black urns full of hot pink roses and moss. I decorated the tiered stand with hot pink liners and polka dot ribbon, and the mini cupcakes held custom cupcake toppers featuring the cupcake girl from our invitation and the store logo.

White platters (with polka dot liners) held goodies such as strawberry marshmallows, meringue sandwiches, brownie bites, and chocolate covered pretzels, and a polka dot food tent card.  A white footed bowl held donut holes covered with pink sprinkles, and a large scalloped black platter held designer cookies by Allyson Jane (made especially for this event!).  Glass apothecary jars were adorned with candy jar tags and polka dot ribbon, and were full of sweets including pink foil chocolate balls, black and white jordan almonds, white pearls, black jelly beans, and little white hearts.  Small white pots with little black hearts on them (straight from IKEA!) were filled with white star mints, and white and black rock candy sticks.

The champagne bar featured hot pink trays full of champagne glasses, a chandelier-style cupcake holder and a cute little sign featuring the cupcake girl from our postcard.  My favorite detail?!  The hot pink labels on the black champagne bottles!  This is one of our newest categories and you can see what I love them so much!  We also designed custom  labels for mini water bottles, and stickers to adorn pink take out food boxes (for people to bring candy home to their families).

It was a lovely event and I am thrilled with how it turned out (scroll down for more detail images!).  There are so many sweet details you can pull away from this event -  fabulous inspiration for a bridal shower or birthday party!

 

black and white swirl lollipopspink meringue sandwichespink rose centerpiece
brownie bites with candyhanging pink flower pomander ballblack and white jordan almonds apothecary jar with candy jar tag




October 12th, 2010 |

Inspired by Plaid

I love the idea of creating a party centered around one pattern….and for fall, that pattern is plaid!  This table setting can inspire an entire party….can’t you just picture it?!  An outdoor setting, plaid tablecloths, hanging candle chandeliers, and outdoor bar, and fall foods served in a creative vessel, like a pumpkin or gourd.  The finishing touch….send your guests home with small bottle of maple syrup as a party favor.

Images: tablesetting (snippetandink.com), maple syrup party favors (beau-coup.com), wheat bunches (theknot.com), outdoor bar (countryliving.com), chili in gourds (inmagine.com)

Beau-Coup is a preferred sponsor of The Party Dress.

October 5th, 2010 |

Fall Dinner Party

With a chill in the air, I’m totally in the mood to plan a fall dinner party.  You know – a cozy evening with friends – lots of candles, delicious comfort food and a few simple decorations to bring the look together.

I have has so much wonderful feedback from the layered damask invitation from WH Hostess (featured recently in my wine tasting party), that I decided to use it as inspiration for today’s dinner party idea.  The rich color palette of teal, chocolate brown and mustard yellow is perfect for this time of year!  You can take the look of the party either bold and modern, or soft and vintage.  Today’s inspiration is kind of a combination of the two….we’ll call it modern vintage!

Set your table with a brown and white patterned tablecloth, white dishes and throw in a colored glass (LOVE the teal ones featured in this tablesetting from Country Living!) Create an inexpensive centerpiece using glass cylinders by filling them with white dried beans, and a single branch of yellow berries.  Cluster a few of these together, and throw in a few votive candles for a little “glow!”  You can also bring in some natural elements, such as pine cones and feathers to add to the fall look.

For dinner, serve a delicious meal that screams “fall”: an arugula and goat cheese salad with fig vinaigrette, roast chicken with broccoli rabe, fingerling potatoes, and garlic-parsley jus, and a crispy braeburn apple and almond sheet tart for dessert.

Send your guests home with a little party favor to remember the evening….I love this mini teacup and saucer set from Beau-Coup.  Fill it with coffee beans and biscotti, or tea bags, and wrap it with cellophane and a simple gift tag.  It’s simple and will appeal to a broad spectrum of guests!

Images: invitation (whhostess.com), berry centerpiece and wine (bhg.com), table setting (countryliving.com), food (bonappetit.com) and cup and saucer party favor (beau-coup.com)

Chic Wedding Stationery from Minted.com

Amazon, Beau-Coup, Minted and WH Hostess are preferred sponsors of The Party Dress.

September 29th, 2010 |

Sunflower Centerpiece D-I-Y Instructions

Yesterday, I showed you a peak into the engagement dinner party I threw for my sister over the weekend.  The highlight of the decor was definitely the sunflower centerpiece….I loved the combination of the “palm-beach-chic” footed bowl and the sunflowers!  Today, I am here to share with you instructions, so you can re-create this look too!

 

 

 

1. Gather your materials: a footed bowl, a wet foam half circle, and sunflowers (any full flower would work!).

2. Cut your foam to fit into the footed bowl (I squared off my sides to make it fit well), and soak it with water so it holds moisture.

3. Cut your flower so they have a 2-3″ stem – if your stems are not strong enough, use a little floral wire to strengthen them.  Starting at the very top of your foam, insert the stems into your foam.

4. Make sure you space your blooms far enough that the stems won’t hit each other when being inserted into the foam, but close enough that you create a compact arrangement.

5. Repeat, working downwards from the top.

6. Voila!  The finish product!  Perfect for a dinner party, bridal shower or wedding celebration.

September 27th, 2010 |

Parties by WH Hostess: Engagement Celebration

I hosted a little engagement dinner party for my sister and her fiance over the weekend.  Newly engaged, it was time to pop the bubbly and celebrate!  Since the cool weather seems to be headed our way, I decided to host one last dinner party in our sunroom.  The room is primarily white (with a few navy and yellow accents), so it was the perfect backdrop for a bold black, white and yellow color palette.

Seeing as though I just got home from Hawaii, I had to whip this party together quickly!  But I still had time to do a few cute touches…

  • Placecards – no matter what size your party is, I love placecards!  It adds a pop of color to your table….kind of like an accessory!
  • Statement Centerpiece – I chose to stick with one type of flower (sunflowers) and using an unusual vessel.  This footed bowl from Rosanna was perfect!  Check back tomorrow for a full tutorial on how to arrange this type of centerpiece!
  • Conversation Starter – my husband and I had found these darling books a while back and had been holding on to them for awhile, waiting for the right occasion to pull them out!  “Don’ts for Wives” and “Don’ts for husbands” from 1913.  Let me tell you, some of the quotes were hilarious!  Placed on the bride and groom-to-be’s plates, they made for funny table talk, and a humorous intro into Marriage 101!
  • Dessert Presentation – It’s amazing how some polka dot ribbon, striped cupcake wrappers and initial cupcake toppers can dress up dessert!  Sometimes it’s those little details that really pull the look together.

Now that we have toasted the happy couple…..let the wedding planning begin!  But first, head back here tomorrow for the full tutorial on my sunflower centerpiece!

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