April 10th, 2013 |


sparkling limoncello cocktail recipeEvery great party has a signature drink.  A fan of all things lemon, when it comes to Spring parties, I tend to whip up a pitcher of my favorite sparkling limoncello cocktail.  Three simple ingredients – prosecco, limoncello and simple syrup – stirred together and garnished with some fresh fruit.  Delicious and gorgeous!

order a copy of the Spring 2013 The Party Dress Magazine

April 8th, 2013 |


monograms for entertaining ideas

Living in Chicago, I’m used to LONG winters. So when the first signs of Spring arrive, I’m dying to celebrate! When we moved into our home {almost} 4 years ago, we had some serious updating to do on the sunroom attached to the back of our house. I had a vision for the space – clean, white, a place to show off my love for blue & white china pieces, and a great place to entertainin during the warmer months of the year. It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears {and a little help from a contractor}, but once it was done, it quickly became my favorite room in the house. And also my favorite place to host a party!  I’ll share some pics of the space later this week.

blue white pink and green spring tablesetting for luncheon

With Spring just on the horizon, I decided to throw a little “Ladies Who Lunch” party with my best girlfriends. A reason to put on a dress, have a glass of bubbly and chat about summer plans.

kelly pouring champagne at spring luncheon

I set the table with a gorgeous, emerald green eyelet tablecloth that I had made with some yardage from my local fabric store. Topped it with my favorite blue & white urn and some hot pink roses, and then layered THE most perfect monogrammed linen napkins from Madison in Dallas. I mixed my crystal stemware with my cobalt blue water glasses for a more modern look. I created crisp, white placecards with a navy fretwork border to personalize their placesetting.

tablesetting with monogram napkins

I served up one of my new go-to appetizers: a stack of zucchini, tomato and goat cheese. It’s delicious and tasty and very healthy.

blue and white chinaI also updated my usual glass of bubbles with a limoncello prosecco cocktail. I created the most fabulous indiviudal fruit tarts that were as delicious as they were pretty. The recipes for these items will follow on the blog over the next few days, as well as an interview with the owner of Madison, the shop responsible for creating the gorgeous monogrammed linens I used for this party.  So stay tuned!

sparkling limoncello cocktail

order a copy of the Spring 2013 The Party Dress Magazine


April 1st, 2013 |


preppy blue and green dessert table for first communion or baptismI have a gorgeous dessert table to share with you today.  I designed and styled it for my best friend’s two children’s first communion (they are 11 months apart, and in the same grade). A fresh color palette of blue, green and white with accents in navy blue, I combined a geometric greek key pattern with a bold floral pattern to appeal to both the girls and boys!  I hope this table will inspire you with ideas on how to incorporate religious details into a dessert table, without that being the “theme”, and serve as inspiration for baptisms, first communions and more.

preppy blue and green dessert table for first communion and baptismThe table design was inspired by a WH Hostess collection of paper goods and we incorporated the patterns onto everything from the custom fabric table runners, to the cupcake toppers, to the sweets.  Each child had their choice of one “special” treat that they selected to be part of the table: Willard chose chocolate chip cookies and Emma Jane chose chocolate-covered strawberries.

blue and green first communion cake pops from sweet lauren cakesThe table was covered with a crisp white tablecloth and was topped with two table runners made from our custom blue greek key fabric, edged with a preppy grass green and white grosgrain ribbon.

blue and green preppy dessert table with hydrangea centerpiece

Standing center stage was a gorgeous arrangement of green and white hydrangeas  with the vase wrapped in our bold floral mums pattern paper.  I really wanted to incorporate natural green elements into the table to pop that color against the blue.  I did that by using the green hydrangeas and also by anchoring the cake pops into wheat grass plants.

preppy blue and green cupcakes for first communion or baptismcandy bags for preppy blue and green dessert table

The sweets included gorgeous Cake Pops from Sweet Lauren Cakes incorporating our patterns, an “H” for the kids’ last name, and a cross to symbolize the occasion. Vanilla Cupcakes with personalized cupcake toppers from WH Hostess, and fondant crosses from Two Sugar Babies.  Mini bags of blue sugar candy with bold green and white stickers featuring an “H” for the kids’ last name.
cakes with monogram fondant toppers

Instead of having one large cake, I had two smaller cakes made – one for each child!  Two Sugar Babies created these custom monogrammed cake toppers using our blue greek key pattern as part of the edible image. Jumbo Marshmallows in blue and green from Candywarehouse.com were a big hit with the kids!

blue and green jumbo marshmallows from candywarehouse.com

preppy green striped food tent cardI branded the table with preppy green striped food tent cards, and a coordinating blue greek key sign, thanking everyone for coming to celebrate Willard & Emma’s special day.

first communion or baptism party invitations

March 21st, 2013 |


easter tablesetting with carrotsWith Easter just a little over a week away, I have been thinking about our Easter brunch tablesetting.  My sister is due with her first child THIS WEEK, so we are anticipating that we’ll be doing brunch at home this year (vs years past when we would go out for brunch).  When it comes to Easter, I have a love of carrots.  And bunnies.  But definitely carrots.  I think it’s really the pop of orange that I love!  Do you remember this carrot centerpiece from last year?!

bunny salt and pepper shakers from pottery barnI put together this Easter brunch tablesetting for the Spring issue of The Party Dress Magazine, using some white basics, and pops of color that I am so craving these days.  I set the table with a white eyelet tablecloth and then layered it with my woven charger plates and basic white plates.  I combined a solid orange napkin with a green and white striped napkin, and tied a bunch of straw carrots to it with twine.  An egg placecard (personalized with glitter – post coming next week!) was nestled on top of the napkin.

Each placesetting was accented with a bunny cupcake stand from Pottery Barn, holding a carrot-topped cupcake.  To add texture to the floral centerpiece, I filled the vase with white eggs, and also used pewter bunny salt & pepper shakers.

carrot placesetting horizontalTo carry out the carrot theme, I used gummy carrots from candywarehouse.com as a topper on basic, store-bought cupcakes.  Do you love the green glass plate from Pottery Barn they are sitting on?!

carrot cupcakes for easterForgoing the traditional jelly beans, I served up candy that looked like peas and carrots (also from candywarehouse.com).

peas & carrots candy for easterStay tuned later today for a creative idea for Easter cookies!

carrot desserts for easterorder a copy of the Spring 2013 The Party Dress Magazine

March 19th, 2013 |


mint and peach baby shower dessert tableToday we are sharing the stunning details of event planner, Lauren Stewart’s, baby shower (as seen in the Spring 2013 issue of The Party Dress Magazine).  Did you drool over the gorgeous tablesettings and breath-taking ocean views?!  Did the baby shower games and activities from this post inspire you for an upcoming baby shower?  We’re back with the “sweet” details of the sparkling peach dessert table.

peach and gold cupcakesThe peach color palette from the baby shower was carried thru every detail of the dessert table.  The dessert table was draped in a peach sequin tablecloth from La Tavola, with our chevron pennant banner hanging across the front stating “S is for Sweet”.  Different shades of peach balloons were tiered behind the dessert table, creating an ombre affect.  This is a great DIY project that could be recreated for any event, any color palette.

peach and gold dessert table with sequin linens and an ombre balloon backdropThe desserts were created by Sweet & Saucy Shop and included a chevron two-tiered cake, color-coordinated cupcakes, cake pops, parfaits, and chocolate dipped rice crispy treats, as well as custom sugar cookies.

peach baby shower desserts from sweet & saucy shopSignage is a fabulous way to tie in your theme on any dessert table.  You can see here that we designed coordinating chevron food tent cards, and there were also mint colored signage with gold calligraphy.  The perfect touch of the mint accent color.

chocolate-dipped rice crispy treatschevron cake with ombre balloon backdrop

The shower was such a special event thanks to Lauren’s friends who made her feel so loved and supported!

baby shower party favors with peach chevron stickers from WH Hostess


Event Design & Coordination: lauren stewart designs + events  |  Photography: Natalie Moser Photography  |  Cake and Desserts: Sweet & Saucy Shop  |  Linens: La Tavola Linen  |  Paper Goods & Peach Chevron Fabric: WH Hostess  |  Floral Design: Kate of Floret Cadet  |  Calligraphy: Calligraphy Katrina • Maison du Papier  |  White Favor Boxes: Container Store  |  Peach Ribbon on Favor Boxes: Amazon  |  Green Ribbon on Favor Boxes: Michaels

order a copy of the Spring 2013 The Party Dress Magazine

March 19th, 2013 |


peach and mint baby shower games and activities tableDid you catch the gorgeous decor details this morning from this mint and peach baby shower feature today?  Designed by event stylist, Lauren Stewart, we were thrilled to create all of the custom paper goods for this event.  In this post, you will see all of the darling baby shower games and activities that Lauren’s co-hosts planned.

estimation game signage for peach and mint baby shower

There was a table set up with apothecary jars full of baby items: clothespins, safety pins, and buttons that people had to estimate how many items were in the jars.

custom baby bingo card from wh hostessbottom of custom baby bingo card by wh hostess

Custom Baby Bingo Cards and a Mama & Baby Animal matching games were created by WH Hostess.

peach floral centerpieces for baby showerHead back later today for all of the sweet details from the gorgeous dessert table, featuring desserts from Sweet & Saucy Shop.

custom baby animal matching game by wh hostess for peach and mint baby shower


Event Design & Coordination: lauren stewart designs + events  |  Photography: Natalie Moser Photography  |  Linens: La Tavola Linen  |  Paper Goods & Peach Chevron Fabric: WH Hostess  |  Floral Design: Kate of Floret Cadet  |  Milk Glass & Clear Glass Vases: Silk Creek Gallery22 Bay Road, & Thread and Brush Studio

order a copy of the Spring 2013 The Party Dress Magazine

March 19th, 2013 |


mint and peach baby showerI am thrilled to be sharing this party with you today!  Last year, I was asked to design a full custom collection of party goods for a baby shower being thrown for event planner, Lauren Stewart.  When approached by her friends about throwing a baby shower for her baby girl, Lauren couldn’t help but want to help with the planning! Inspired by the peach and mint green colors she was using in her baby’s nursery, she fell in love with the idea of incorporating some sparkle when she spotted the chevron and nude sequined linens available at La Tavola.

There are so many stunning details to this event, I am going to separate it into three different posts, launching throughout the day, so please check back often for more details (decor, activities and the dessert table).

custom due date calendar baby shower activity by wh hostess

The shower was held at a private residence in Pacific Palisades, California. Guests arrived to the home and immediately walked out onto a stone courtyard where the mimosa bar and drinks were set up.  We designed a custom due date calendar that guests were asked to take their best guess on as to when the baby would be born.  (a concept that I also did for my sister’s baby shower in January!)

iced tea drink dispenser with chevron signage by wh hostess

Elegant drink dispensers were labeled with coordinating signage, giving guests a peek of what was to come.  Champagne glasses held perfect, peach and white striped straws and gorgeous floral arrangements from Kate at Floret Cadet were placed all around the event.

champagne glasses with peach striped straws

colorful fruit mixers for a mimosa bar at peach and mint baby showerAs I mentioned earlier, Lauren was inspired by the gorgeous sequin tablecloths available at La Tavola.  She used the peach/copper solid tablecloths as well as the nude and ivory chevron ones on the luncheon tables.  We created peach chevron pennant banners that hung throughout the event, as well.

peach sequin tablecloth and chevron pennant banner from wh hostess

After the cocktail hour, guests entered the yard where they were greeted with a breath-taking view of the ocean, three sparkling tables under big white umbrellas, and a few activity stations set up for the guests amusement.  (more on the activities later today!)

peach and mint baby shower tablesettings with chevron sequin tablecloths

The luncheon tables were dressed with sequin chevron tablecloths and runners, sparkling stemware, and our coordinating menu cards in the coordinating mint and peach color palette.  Notice how the sequin chevron tablecloth was only used on the center table, while the two outer tables were dressed in a peach satin, topped with the runner version of the sequin chevron tablecloth….gorgeous, right?!  I love the big, white umbrellas, and I am sure guests were appreciative of the shade they provided during lunch.

peach and mint baby shower menu cards by wh hostessThe tables held a few different floral centerpieces in white milk glass vases, in shades of peach and white.  Each one is more stunning than the next.

peach floral arrangement for peach and mint baby showerpeach and white flowersWe created a custom “Mama-to-be” sign in the party’s signature peach chevron to embellish Lauren’s chair.  This is a simple decor idea that we do for a lot of baby showers.  It’s a great way to identify the guest-of-honor’s place, as well as add a touch of pattern or nod to the theme to the basic chairs.

mama-to-be chair signage by wh hostess for peach and mint baby showerThis is just the beginning of the gorgeous details we have to share with you today.  Head back later for details on the baby shower activities and games, as well as the sparkling dessert table!

baby shower tables with oceanResources:

Event Design & Coordination: lauren stewart designs + events  |  Photography: Natalie Moser Photography  |  Linens: La Tavola Linen  |  Paper Goods & Peach Chevron Fabric: WH Hostess  |  Floral Design: Kate of Floret Cadet  |  Calligraphy: Calligraphy Katrina • Maison du Papier  |  Peach Paper Straws: Mylk & Honey  |  Milk Glass & Clear Glass Vases: Silk Creek Gallery22 Bay Road, & Thread and Brush Studio  |  White and Gold Trays at Mimosa Bar: West Elm

order a copy of the Spring 2013 The Party Dress Magazine


March 18th, 2013 |


full color envelopes printing by wh hostessWhen it comes to stationery and party invitations, we are always looking for ways to further customize your invitations. Our colorful invitations can now be accessorized with full-color printed envelopes.  It takes adding a return address to a whole new level.  Each theme has a coordinating design that compliments the invitation, impressing your guests from the moment they receive the envelope in the mail.

custom envelope printing for a girl picnic partyWe have so many darling new party collections to introduce you to this Spring, and you can see peeks of them in some of these images.  Such as the new picnic collection photographed above.  Cute color ways for both boys and girls!

little man envelope printing for birthday partyOr this adorable “little man” mustache bash party collection, which is now actually listed in the shop!

It’s ideal for making a sophisticated statement for bridal showers, special birthday parties or a religious ceremony. This aqua mod damask is one of our most popular invitations and we love the striped envelope design that compliments it.

aqua mod damask party invitation envelope printingAnd if you are a preppy girl at heart, like I am, you will LOVE the monogram option….available in multiple color options, these monogramed envelopes are perfect for any invitation or note.

monogram envelope printingWe also have the capabilities to address your envelopes for you, carrying your party theme full circle and making a perfect statement.  For custom addressing, please contact us at kelly@whhostess.com.  You can view all of the envelope options in the shop, listed with the invitations.

What do you think of our new printing options?

February 19th, 2013 |


oscars 2013 free printable ballotThe Oscars are one of the most anticipated nights of the year in my family….well, at least for my mother, sister and I.  The men can be found running to the hills trying to escape the red carpet gossip.  Ever since I was a little girl, we would all gather around the TV and watch the red carpet from start to finish, as well as the awards show itself.  Between us friends, it is not unusual for my sister to put on an evening gown for the occasion (with her slippers)! :)

If you are like us, half the fun is betting on who will take home the statue.  There are so many darling free printables out there for you to download.  You can find many of them (along with more Oscar party ideas) on my Pinterest board.  I just love this ballot that One Charming Party designed.

oscar 2013 dessert ideasWe keep it simple – carryout is typically involved so no one misses a second of the show.  But it is fun to dress up our cocktails with some festive straws.  I love how the Glitter Guide embellished these charming polka dot ones with gold tinsel.  I may serve up some theme-appropriate desserts as well.  I love these ideas from Amy Atlas: star shaped brownies or cookies, cupcakes topped with licorice rolls to look like film wheels. Or perhaps I will serve popcorn in these charming paper cones from Birds Party:

oscars 2013 popcorn cones

How do you celebrate/entertain/watch the Oscars?


February 1st, 2013 |


I often get asked where I find inspiration for party ideas.  Like, daily.  Truth is, there is no rhyme or reason as to what inspires me.  It could be a book, a gorgeous party dress, or a color palette.  Today, it’s this picture of a fresh, updated interior.  I absolutely LOVE the clean lines, the black, white and grass green color palette, the brass accent, the geometric pattern, the gorgeous boxwood.  It’s the perfect inspiration for a dinner party!

When I start to plan a party, the first thing I do is gather my resources to plan my decor or tablesetting.  Here’s what I came up with for this Mod Boxwood Dinner Party:

boxwood dinner party elements

Every hostess needs a pretty party dress!  This bold check dress from Kate Spade is perfect for this event. Classic, yet updated…just like my inspiration.  The table will be grounded with my black and white Union Street china from Kate Spade, but instead of pairing it with my crystal stemware, I am going to dress it down a bit with these squared-off wine glasses and silverware from Crate & Barrel.  Using a white tablecloth as the base for my table, I am going to use these bold chevron napkins to add a pop of pattern to the table.  The brushed metal tile napkin rings from Kim Seybert add my touch of brass (inspiration was the brass door pull in the picture above!).  A few varying sizes of boxwood balls in basic white pots will serve as my centerpiece, with a few votive candles scattered around them.  And for dessert….well, we’ll talk food later.  But it will definitely be served on my favorite cake stand, with a black polka dot Cake Plate Cling.

Stay tuned for my ideas for food & drinks!

Image: inspiration shot / 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8

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