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!

September 22nd, 2010 |

Parties by WH Hostess: Wine Tasting

 

To kick our vacation off in style, my husband and I decided to host a small wine tasting party the Thursday before we departed.  I absolutely love this time of year – so why not celebrate with a “celebrate the harvest” themed wine tasting party?!

I used our layered damask invitation from WH Hostess – love the pattern and I L-O-V-E-D the rich color palette it created for the party – teal, peacock, mustard and chocolate brown.  {I might also mention that these colors work perfectly in my home!}  I focused all of my energy into creating one simple, yet stunning table.  I used a chocolate brown velvet fabric that had a tonal, embossed animal print texture to create a tablecloth, and combined my vintage-looking silver candlesticks with rustic elements such as a wheat bunch and twig balls as decor.  I also filled votive candle holders with coffee beans, which provided a lovely aroma once lit!

I separated my drinks and my appetizers onto two separate serving vessels….this helped to keep my table looking organized and stylized.  The drinks were served on a mahogany wood tray – I showcased a bottle of each of the three wines we were serving, as well as the glasses.  My favorite detail of the night were these layered damask gift tags that I turned into wine tags and tied around each bottle.  On them, I printed the name and origin of each wine, as well as a little description.

I kept my appetizers simple, and served them all on my wine barrel lazy susan {my favorite souvenir from our trip to Napa last fall}.  We served three different cheeses {which I made cupcake-like-toppers for that also stated the name, origin and brief description}, prosciutto-wrapped asparagus, bruschetta, champagne grapes, walnuts, and Parmesan-crusted bread sticks.  I added coordinating food tent cards for each appetizer for a splash of color and identification.

Towards the end of the party, I cleared away the lazy susan, and replaced it with a small candy display.  Using a couple small vases and bowls, and candy jar tags from WH Hostess, I was able to make a sweet little display. {that color coordinated, of course!}  I used teal-colored jordan almonds, licorice, and candy sticks.  Surprised that I was able to find candy in this somewhat unusual, and sophisticated color?  Candy Warehouse – it’s my one-stop shop for color-specific candy!

All in all, it was a lovely evening and a VERY simple party to throw!  The layered damask invitation was the perfect inspiration for this Fall party….it could also work for a birthday party, Thanksgiving dinner, bridal shower or rehearsal dinner.

 

September 5th, 2010 |

Parties by WH Hostess: Sweet Sixteen

 

I have a real treat for you today!  Actually….today and tomorrow!  I was contacted by a local customer to design the paper goods for her daughter’s sweet sixteen party, as well as help her plan and style a dessert table.  She fell in love with our purse invitation and we created the decor for the party around it.  My best friend joined in on the “purse” love and threw a party for her 6 year old daughter with the same theme!  Both of these parties happened within a week of one another, so I was able to use some of the same ideas – but I think you will truly love seeing the outcomes of both!

One of my goals with WH Hostess is to design invitations that inspire party themes.   But there are times in life when you don’t want a “princess party” or a “fire truck party” or even everybody’s favorite “modern train party“…..sometimes you just want something sweet and unique.  In this case, the party was a sweet sixteen….so we had to find a nice balance of sweet and sophisticated.  The purse invitation seemed to fit the bill perfectly!

The party took place at a local salon, where Susie’s mom had arranged for the girls to get manicures (since it was the day before school started!) and have lunch.  Since I had a small private room to work with space-wise, I focused on a few key visual elements: simple centerpieces, a lemonade drink bar,  and a fabulous pink, yellow and orange dessert table.  I was able to drape fabric on the walls to create a more appealing backdrop.  A pink and white polka dot pattern was used on the walls, and a yellow seersucker was used on all of the tables.  The centerpieces were simple pink bouquets, but looked modern in a yellow vase ($4.99 at IKEA!).

 

I planned a lemonade drink bar for the young ladies, with different flavors of lemonade being served in glass juice bottles.  I up’d the sophistication level by using melamine wine glasses that were embellished with little purse tags and ribbon, and darling striped paper straws.  The wine glasses were a simple touch, but made the girls feel oh, so grown up!

 

The dessert table was definitely the highlight of the party!  Done in one of my favorite color palettes, pink, yellow and orange – the table just POPPED! and looked so festive and inviting.  I used apothecary jars and vases from Pottery Barn and Crate & Barrel for most of the candy.  I ordered the candy in bulk from Candy Warehouse, including lemon pillows, pink salt water taffy, HUGE pink lollipops, lemon candy sticks, gumballs, and lemonheads.  (PS – I love shopping for dessert tables on their site – all I have to do is plug in my color palette and I’m good to go!)  One of my favorite design elements for this table is the tiered rock candy in the tall jar – I just love how the pink, yellow and orange looked striped together!  WH Hostess created all of the candy jar labels, signs and cupcake toppers.

Speaking of cupcake toppers….how cute are those cupcakes!  Yellow and white striped cupcake liners from Bake It Pretty added a touch of pattern, and this beautiful pink cake stand from Rosanna was the perfect “girly” addition to the table.  In order to add a splash of color, I lined the inside of the stand with lemonheads, and then placed the cupcakes atop them.  Totally cute!  These darling cookies stole the show!  I worked with Two Sugar Babies to create custom fondant toppers to place on basic sugar cookies.  She did an amazing job re-creating the purse design from our invitation.

 

The ladies loved filling up their candy boxes to bring home!  Much to their surprise, Susie and her mother also presented each girl with a white box full of beauty supplies (nail polish, files, lip gloss) to start the new school year with – the boxes were perfect for holding small goods, and we jazzed them up a bit with a cute sticker.

This party turned out so cute and I believe the concept would also make a charming bridal shower!  Come on back tomorrow to see how my best friend and I translated this sweet sixteen theme into a darling party for her 6 year old!

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