March 2nd, 2010 |

Spring Engagement Party

 

I have decided that I have seen ENOUGH snow for one season.  It’s time to move on to Spring!  Bright colors, cocktails on the patio, gathering friends to celebrate a special occasion.  I get requests all of the time for engagement party ideas…..but this inspiration could also be used for a birthday party, bridal shower, or just a good reason to throw a cocktail party!

The missoni-style invitation from WH Hostess provides a great color scheme for the party.  Decorate using pops of orange, green and blue.  These fluted vases from Crate & Barrel mirror the zig zag pattern of the invitation, and are perfect to place on the table as a centerpiece or on side tables for an added decoration.  If you are throwing this party outside, fill your space with lanterns (different sizes add interest) to add some mood lighting!

A party this colorful deserves some delicious appetizers!  I would serve something like brochettes of melon, prosciutto, and fresh mozzarella, or peppered tuna skewers with wasabi mayonnaise.  Pretty, sophisticated….and easy to eat!  Towards the end of the party, put out platters of sugar cookies embellished with the words “thank you!” and cellophane bags – people can bring them home as party favors.

Images: invitation (whhostess.com), vases (crateandbarrel.com), table setting (theknot.com), appetizers (socialdesign.com), patio (cocomale.com), thank you cookie (inmagine.com)

 

February 22nd, 2010 |

Farmhouse Brunch

farmhouse brunch

When it comes to incorporating the style ideas from our trend alert (Farmhouse Chic) earlier today into entertaining, there are a few key elements: a relaxed, natural decor, spring-like colors, and comfort food.

This invitation from my stationery line, WH Hostess, sets the tone for a cozy brunch, and also gives us some warm colors to use for decor.  A pale grey and soft yellow are the perfect backdrop for delicious breakfast foods!  When setting your table, opt for a more casual look.  Perhaps placemats instead of a tablecloth, or a use a runner down the center of your table with woven charger plates.  Incorporating linens with natural elements, such as birds or greenery on them will also help you to achieve a lovely, light and casual look.

One of my new favorite products from my OpenSky shop is this etched juice bottle.  It’s classic, yet modern-looking to me, and I love that it helps to “dress-up” my table or buffet.  There are also matching glasses, which would be darling on our brunch table!

No brunch would be complete without mimosas and eggs, in my opinion!  But I always try to find something new to try….top on my list for this party would be mini crepe cups, praline pancakes and bloody mary’s (which are sure to keep you warm and cozy on these cold, winter mornings!)

Images: dining room, silverware bucket (potterybarn.com), invitation (whhostess.com), juice bottle and glasses (partydress.theopenskyproject.com), bloody mary, praline pancakes (williams-sonoma.com), crepe cups (midwestliving.com)

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February 19th, 2010 |

Elegant Bold Stripes

 

When I started putting together this inspiration board, it was with a formal wedding in mind.  However, after pulling these ideas together, I really think you could use this for any type of formal entertaining!  I absolutely adore the use of bold, black and white stripes – from the tablecloth, to the ribbon used to hang placecards from, to the crisp white edge of the party favor box.  It’s crisp.  It’s modern (although black and white stripes are very traditional!).  And it’s the perfect accent to almost any color combination!

I would love to see this concept re-created for a formal birthday party, a charity event, or even a bridal shower!

Images: table setting, couple, party favors (brides.com), placecards (partyspot.com), bouquet (goodhousekeeping.com), champagne bar (toddevents.com), yellow wedding cake (thecakegirls.com), invitation (weddingpaperdivas.com)

 

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February 17th, 2010 |

Trend Alert: Purple Passion

purple party ideas

Although blue may be the big “fashion” color this Spring, people still have a huge passion for purple when it comes to planning parties!  Ranging in shades from lilac to burgundy, purple is the perfect compliment to a range of colors.  (My personal favorite is a combination of different shades of purple mixed together!)

Images: ice cubes, iris centerpiece, cake (brides.com), vases (matthewmeadstyle.com), purple arrangements (floralartla.com)

February 9th, 2010 |

Bridal Shower with a LOVE Theme

What better party to start out with than this bridal shower that I planned with a LOVE theme. It’s perfect for the week of Valentine’s Day in case you need any last minute ideas: mini cupcakes and mini desserts, roses, and heart shaped chocolate suckers.  I look forward to bringing you more inspiring posts in the upcoming weeks!

-Brittany

Images property of One Charming Party

February 3rd, 2010 |

Lemonade Lunch

lemonade spring lunch party ideas

The snow here in Chicago has me dreaming of the parties I will throw this summer in my new backyard.  Top of my list?!  A lemonade lunch.  Totally inspired by this table setting created by Sharnel in Australia (it is summer there….), here are a few things that I would include:

A table setting with over-sized vases, and single blooms as the centerpiece.  A small-printed napkin tied with a fresh leaf from the garden.  Drink dispensers full of flavored waters, and lemonades.  A lemonade packet with a customized label as a party favor for all of my friends.

I can’t wait for SPRING!  What type of parties are you dreaming about throwing?!

P.S. This would be a darling theme for a baby or bridal shower, too!

Images: kids, napkin (countryliving.com), hanging candle (bhg.com), lemonade packets (beau-coup.com), table setting (mylife-mylove.blogspot.com), drink dispensers (swsmag.com), centerpiece (brides.com)

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February 2nd, 2010 |

Super Bowl Sunday: Brunch with the Girls

super bowl brunch party ideas

Super Bowl Sunday is a great opportunity to entertain.  Some may want to gather friends for a traditional party, serving beer and appetizers, and others…..well, they may want to run for the hills at the first sound of a Super Bowl party.  Hey…it’s okay if football isn’t your thing…I totally get it!  If you are one of these girls, and your husband is going to be occupied with the game and some male-bonding on Sunday, take this opportunity to entertain a bunch of girls!  (football-free, of course!)

Brunch is a great activity for Sunday morning.  It’s an easy meal to prepare, very little prep-work involved, and your guests are in-and-out, and you go about your day!  So, let’s talk brunch….

Set a simple table.  White dishes, a patterned napkin, and maybe a little vase of spring flowers on the table.  Serve up a picture of bloody mary’s, and have a bowl of fresh berries for people to pick at while sitting around chatting.  Brunch wouldn’t be complete in my mind without eggs benedict.  Switch things up by serving a killer tomato benedict (tomato, pesto, roasted peppers and hollandaise sauce…..YUM!), and an apple-citrus salad with avocado and bacon.  It’s light, fresh and delicious!

If you are looking for another finger-food option, consider putting a new twist on deviled eggs:

I love the idea of putting a fresh spin on this old favorite!  Serve up a couple different variations, and serve them on small appetizer plates, or 3 in a row on a rectangular-shaped plate.  Try an asian-inspired version,  or a three-herb recipe…..just remember, it’s all in the presentation!

Images: invitation (tinyprints.com), dishes (williams-sonoma.com), place setting (projectwedding.com)

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January 28th, 2010 |

Napkin of the Week: Spring Buffet Style

LOVE this idea from Country Living!  What a darling way to display your napkins on a Spring buffet table!

January 25th, 2010 |

Chocolate-Tasting Party

chocolate tasting party valentines day party

This very well may be my “dream” party!  With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, I decided it was time to start throwing some ideas out at you!  A couple of things come to mind when I think of this fuzzy, feel-good holiday….flowers, hearts and CHOCOLATE!  As you all know by now, my name is Kelly Lyden and I AM a chocoholic!  So in trying to come up with a unique party idea for Valentine’s Day, I decided instead of a traditional cocktail party or sit-down dinner, wouldn’t it be more fun to host a chocolate-tasting party?!  Um, that’s a big, fat Y-E-S in my book!

In theory, this is actually a very simple party to organize (especially if you are a baker!).  Compile a collection of chocolate treats to assemble an outstanding buffet.  I picture bowls of truffles, plates of chocolate-covered toffee, and a few other decadent treats.  In my search for new and delicious chocolate recipes, I came across these: triple-chocolate mousse (these look oh, so elegant in champagne flutes), chocolate-raspberry tarts, brownie-ice cream mini sandwiches, heart-shaped macaroons, and sugared chocolate beignets.  What I love about this selection of desserts is that there is a pop of color.  The raspberries on the tarts, the red macaroons…it helps to break up the brown color of chocolate!

Throw in a red, signature cocktail, some cute plates and napkins…..and you have one tasty party on your hands!

Images: centerpiece (styleathome.com), cocktail (traditionalhome.com)

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January 19th, 2010 |

Asian Dinner Party

asian dinner party ideas

These cold, winter months have me craving some heat!  Add a little spice to your next dinner party by using an Asian theme.  Better Homes and Gardens has some great, simple recipes that can help you create a family-style dinner in no-time.  The top recipes on my list are cashew chicken, shredded beef lo mein, and sesame chicken and noodles.  For starters, I would serve sweet and spicy spring rolls, and spicy tofu triangles.  YUM!

For decor, you can add a couple simple touches to your home to give it a festive vibe….

Bamboo placemats, chopsticks, fortune cookie placecard holders, and a centerpiece full of orchids.  Send you guests home with a carton full of fortune cookies as a party favor.  You can package them in white chinese food take-out containers, and adhere a personalized label.  Stick a pair of chopsticks on the top for a little added detail!

Themes have a way of adding a new level of excitement to a dinner party….especially if you entertain the same crowd frequently!  What’s your favorite theme for a dinner party?

Images: table setting (sheknows.com), invitation (weddingpaperdivas.com), party favors (theknot.com)

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