March 19th, 2012 |

Parties by WH Hostess: Mod Damask Bridal Shower

I recently had the pleasure of working with a client to plan a lovely bridal shower…..the experience was fabulous, especially because the guest of honor happens to be a family friend!  I was able to capture a few photos before the party started and am so happy to share them with you today.

The party was held at the beautiful home of the hosts, and we worked with the interior’s color palette to create a custom collection of paper goods and fabric.  Focusing on a crisp damask and mod circle pattern in aqua blue, coral-y pink and white, we mixed in a aqua cabana stripe to add a touch of preppy pizzaz.

Guests were greeted with a welcome sign and floral arrangement sitting atop a aqua cabana stripe topper on the lovely entry table, along with a view of the luncheon room. Tables were set with crisp, white linens and featured a trio of vases of submerged pink flowers.  Placed on the napkins were striped, plaque-style placecards that were embellished with ribbon.

When it comes to party decorations for a bridal shower, or adult’s birthday party, people often ask me how you can make a room look festive, without looking child-like or cheesy.  I love creating one main focal point that really leaves guests saying “wow!”, as well as carrying the patterns throughout a few decoration to create a cohesive look.

The dining room held the large buffet table and we created the focal point by placing one wide table runner made from our custom mod circles fabric across the table to bring your eye to the window hanging decor.  A custom-made wood monogram (which was painted navy) hung down on a pink ribbon, with coordinating pennant banners draped off each side.

There were two lovely bookcases on either side of the entry into the living room where the tables were set up.  We used them as a blank canvas, and placed pink floral arrangements, candy jars and photos of the couple on the shelves.

Guests enjoyed mimosas, wine and pink lemonade with their lunch.  The pink lemonade was served in a drink dispenser that we dressed up with striped tag.

After lunch, guests moved into the family room to watch the bride open her gifts.  They were greeted with a festive, round dessert table that they could enjoy during this time.  Jars of pink gummy bears, chocolate balls, and strawberry puffs were placed center stage, were dressed up with coordinating candy jar tags, and were surrounded by delicious treats.

I gathered up a team of some of my favorite sweets designers to create desserts that would coordinate with our designs.  Sweet Lauren Cakes created stunning cake pops embellished with our mod damask pattern. Allyson Jane made plaque-style cookies with the couples future last name initial, and the words “love”, “sweet”, “love”.

I pulled inspiration from Modern Moment’s donut tree to create two smaller donut cakes that I embellished with fondant flowers created by Two Sugar Babies.  Charynn also made initial toppers that were placed on mini vanilla cupcakes.

The party favors were one of my favorite details of this party!  Since the shower technically had a “kitchen” theme (we asked guests to bring their favorite recipe to share with the couple), the host ordered jam from a local company.  We dressed up the jars with coordinating labels and displayed them on our melamine trays with the damask pattern, on a table close to the door so guests could take one as they left.

This was a lovely party to work on, and I hope everyone was thrilled with the final results!  I hope these ideas give you inspiration for an upcoming bridal shower or birthday party!  You can find our full collection here.  Congrats to the happy couple!

March 15th, 2012 |

French Stork Baby Shower

When it comes to throwing a fabulous baby shower, I prefer to focus on entertaining the mom-to-be, not the baby.  Let’s face it, it’s a rough nine months….she deserves a party!  So let the gifts be directed towards the baby, but cater the party details to a more mature audience!

I wanted to put an updated spin on the traditional stork themed shower, so we created a collection of paper goods around a sweet “French Stork”, and incorporated a nautical-like color palette of aqua blue, navy and a touch of red.  With all of the sweet decorations, it was almost like we were celebrating on the coast of France.

We carried the “Celebrate le Bebe” theme throughout the entire party, and used ribbons as a common accessory to create a cohesive look.  We created flag garlands that hung down over the lunch table with ribbons, and they looks like sails from a sailboat.  Our drink straws were dressed up with ribbon flags, and napkins were tied with the same ribbons.

The table sat center stage and was quite a showpiece.  In addition to the flag garlands hanging down and defining a unique vertical space, we wrapped a collection of different bud vases with yarn to create a textured look.  Crisp, white tulips and our stork centerpiece sticks filled in the table.  Guests were greeted to an “appetizer” of mini donuts on a cupcake toppers as they were seated.

Like most parties, the dessert table served as a visual focal point for the party. Guests always delight in seeing the different themed desserts, and it also serves as a great ice breaker and conversation topic. For this particular table, I wanted it to look crisp and clean. I created a simple backdrop with a grosgrain ribbon-wrapped wreath and striped pennant banners draped on either side. A navy tablecloth really made the glass and all white serving dishes pop, and we also added in a couple of the yarn-wrapped vases to coordinate with the lunch table.

I used a variety of all white candy from Candywarehouse.com, including gumballs, rock candy, chocolate-covered pretzels, and sour daisies. The glass jars and tilt bowls were embellished with coordinating ribbon and candy jar tags identifing their contents.

 

Cake pops from Sweet Lauren Cakes featured the stork’s sachel, a banner reminiscent of our invitation, and the words “le bebe” on them. To add some visual interest to the table, I stood them up in a white, footed bowl by Rosanna full of gumballs.

Allyson Jane made THE most precious hand-iced sugar cookies for this shower. She replicated our French Stork perfectly, and also made cookies that said “le bebe” on them.

To save time, and also keep the costs down, we mixed our designer desserts (the cake pops and cookies) with a couple grocery store finds. Store- bought cupcakes were dressed up with fondant toppers by Two Sugar Babies. They featured the stock satchel as well as the eiffel tower. I also created a powedered sugar donut “cake” on a mini cake pedestal. A banner topper that coordinated with our invitation stood atop it, and created an oh, so charming addition to the table.

My absolute favorite detail on the dessert table were the macaron rattles.  These were very simple to make: I inserted a white macaron on either side of a 4″ white lollipop stick, and then wrapped the sticks in a skinny polka dot ribbon.  They were DARLING and received many “oohs” and “ahhs!”

Candy jar tags and food tent cards helped brand the table, and we also carried the theme into the labels on our cracker party favors. All in all, this shower turned out to be a sophisticated take on a theme, and hopefully you will draw inspiration for many future parties.

For more fabulous party inspiration, view the latest issue of The Party Dress Magazine!

March 7th, 2012 |

How to Plan an Easter Birthday Party

A holiday birthday is always a tough project! This year, my son’s birthday falls on Easter weekend, and even though we are celebrating with a big party after the holiday, we are going to have a small family celebration during our Easter festivities. I’m thinking it would be adorable to use pastel blue, yellow, and green…maybe with some gray? Some of these ideas would translate so well into the small party I’m planning!

Images: Easter party display (via Anders Ruff), Bunny cake (by Cake Journal), Easter Egg Cake Pops (by Bakerella), Easter Egg Crafts (via Good Housekeeping), Easter Bunny DIY Bags (by Mr. Printables),
Easter Party Sodas (by Hello My Sweet via Amy Atlas)
February 21st, 2012 |

Pulling Party Inspiration from Anywhere!

You might recall my love for Kelly’s Ikat Invites here. But, I just can’t get them off my mind! And mainly, because pink + orange Ikat pretties are popping up all over the radar!

I have the perfect way to  find inspiration for your next party. Take a look inside your closet, jewelry box or hey – even inside your home! Oh yes, a beautiful duvet can inspire!
Don’t be afraid to single this pattern out. Feel free to throw in some florals, polka dots, suzani pattern, chevron and another love of mine – greek key.
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Perk up your average party theme by thinking out of the box. Ikat is definitely one of the HOT patterns for Summer so take on the trend, in style.
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Images: Pink Orange Ikat Invites | Annette Tatum Ikat Bedding | Lucky Brand Enamel Bracelet | Annette Tatum Paint | Pink Ikat Chairs via Pinterest | Mixing Prints via Pinterest | Rug | Ikat Print Dress from Express |Chevron Notebook from The Spotted Olive
January 24th, 2012 |

Party Perfect Palettes – Part I

Last week I shared with you how to entertain in style, keeping in mind the 2012 entertaining trends. And this week, it is all about being chic & loving parties! 

One of the very first things you decide on when planning a party is the colors. Recently, the colors we see in fashion have transferred into the home and served as inspiring color palettes. It’s important to remember that fashion – it’s not just clothes, you want to party in style too right? I am going to show you just how to pull color trends from Spring’s best-in-show hues found at home and in your wardrobe and see how fab they can be incorporated into a party!

Grey

Almost every nail collection we have seen for the Winter of 2012 incorporates grey, which I love by the way. In the fashion world, it is the perfect muted color to add a pop too. Well now, it’s about taking a drab color and making it fab. Pair a great grey with a bright yellow, or tonesd down mustard, purple, or turquoise  – a good contrasting pair that creates an ahhh as guest enter the room. Step out of the box and make a simple neutral shine.

Less is More

Sometimes you may just need a little dose of glamour in life — white, soft pink and a side of sparkle. Oh, and Audrey too. A classic palette gives you lots of options to fill your tablescape with pretties. It’s classy, chic and just simply elegant.
Stay tuned for more Party Perfect Trends later this week!!

 

January 19th, 2012 |

HGTV.com Game Night Feature

This post is a long time coming!  Last Fall, I was asked by the editors of HGTV.com to come up with some unique ideas for hosting a Game Night party for a feature they were doing on entertaining ideas at home, during the winter months.  I was thrilled to be asked, and of course quickly whipped together some ideas that I think you can all re-create for your game night.

I added a graphic impact with bold black and white striped tablecloths throughout the party.  I wanted a playful centerpiece for our dinner table, so I added black dot stickers to the side of a white vase to look like a dice.  A pomander of red carnations filled the vase and made a bold statement.

I tied the napkins with a little tag featuring playing card characters, and each placesetting included a cupcake accessorized with a fondant dice from Two Sugar Babies housed under a mini glass dome.

I created a small dessert table that would be readily available to guests so they could grab desserts in between hands.  Desserts included poker chip cookies from Allyson Jane, brownie bites accessorized with fondant dice, a jar of red hot candies from Candywarehouse.com, and cupcakes decorated with mini playing card cupcake toppers (which I whipped up in about 2 seconds!).

I hope you enjoyed viewing my ideas for hosting a fun game night.  What are some of yours?

January 18th, 2012 |

Game Night!

Most of us find January to be a bit of an “in-between” month.  The spirit of the holiday season has come to an end, and we are still a whole month away from the pink and red candy and candle-lit dinners of Valentine’s Day.  As I look out the window, snow is falling everywhere, and there’s no way I’m heading out the front door without bundling up in my Uggs and warm winter coat.  The idea of playing in the snow seems appealing for a while, but if you’re like me, you prefer to avoid the freezing temperatures. Which can only mean one thing, it’s time to get creative with some fun indoor activities!

Throwing a game night or poker party is the perfect bridge in your calender between the holidays and cold weather.  Gather up your closest friends to play some Blackjack, Texas Hold’em or even some good ole’ Crazy Eights! You can make a memorable night out of the spontaneous occasion with these cute and creative dessert ideas to set the casino mood from Kelly’s feature on HGTV.com! (more details coming tomorrow!)

I’m in love with these jam-filled playing card cookies! You can switch it up with whatever type of jam your guests desire from strawberry to apricot. I would recommend sticking with red jams such as strawberry or raspberry, and dark jams such as blueberry to create the classic red and black poker night theme!  You could even divide your guests up between the card shapes of hearts, spades, clubs and diamonds for a fun and competitive team event of Spoons (my personal favorite card game)!  Check out this recipe for the full how-to.

Image via Mocha Cafe

January 17th, 2012 |

Elegant Barn Party

I came across this stunning engagement party styled shoot on Style Me Pretty today and just had to share it with all of you.  It was supposed to be a casual party hosted on a chilly autumn day in the newly unveiled Pullman Barn on the grounds of the Chicago Botanic Gardens.  (which just happens to be practically in my backyard)  Captured by Averyhouse who partnered up with Bliss Weddings & Events to create this Engagement party extravaganza full of rustic details, mixed with formal accessories, rubber wellies mixed with crystal.  The juxtaposition of items is enough to capture my heart!

A muddling bar, a S’mores roasting station, a “bobbing for bling in bubbly game”,  as well as the gorgeous gift baskets at each place setting which held goodies for the perfect Sunday morning are some of the details that I fell in love with.  For more details, click here.

January 13th, 2012 |

2012 Entertaining Trends Continued….

I’m following up my first post on The Party Dress with more darling party trends perfect for entertaining in 2012.

Tangerine Tango

Let’s not forget with Pantone’s colour of 2012 we will be seeing lots of orange and yellow when it comes to party themes this year. Lots of neon to come! Put your sunglasses on — it’s going to be a year of the brights. 

Images: trina turk tangerine tabric (layla grayce), pink and tangerine dessert table (pinterest), tangerine vase (pinterest)
 

Push Pops

Of course my love is always with cupcakes {and cake pops!} but this year, make room for push-up pops. Remember those little push-up Popsicles you loved in the summertime? Well, they’ve gotten a serious make-over. This is a trend that keeps on booming and will be the big hit of every party. Just ask Courtney Dial {Pizzazzerie} — she has an entire book about them coming out in March.

Images: push-up pops book (pizzazzerie), m & m push-up pops (frog prince paperie)
 

Sweets Table

When it comes to any event, a dessert table is a serious “wow” factor.  In 2012, they’ve moved beyond your child’s party and are all the rave. I love how they showcase all things oh-so-pretty and sweet. Each sweets table will be personalized depending on the event creating endless possibilities and a focal point at parties.

Images: mod yellow dessert table (amy atlas), barbie inspired dessert table (the tomkat studio)
 

Ahh, it all makes me want to throw a party! Cheers to 2012, cupcakes! Here’s to fabulous parties and lots of pretties!

 

 

January 12th, 2012 |

Breakfast with the Babes!

It’s a fun week over here!  We welcomed our new contributor, Casi from CupcakeMag on Tuesday, and today, we are welcoming another new contributor, Jane Carlisle.  A senior at DePauw University, Jane is doing a college internship with WH Hostess and The Party Dress this semester.  She’s learning the ins and outs of both sites, and I am sure you will see plenty of inspiration from her in the upcoming weeks!  xo Kelly

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After being home in Chicago for over a month on winter break, as well as beginning my internship with WH Hostess and The Party Dress, I sincerely began to miss all my close friends back at DePauw.  Not to mention, my famous campus radio show I co-host every Tuesday morning with two of my best friends during the semester called “Breakfast with the Babes!” This got me thinking, now that the craziness of the holidays has finally come to an end, what could be better than a fun excuse to gather up all your closest babes for a darling, chic breakfast? Not much if you ask me, I can’t think of anything better than kicking back with a mimosa in hand and nibbling on a delicious stack of pancakes.  A girly breakfast filled with a bright pink and orange color palette is the perfect ticket to bring your girlfriends together.

I absolutely adore the idea of these fun pancake doodles.  You could do anything with this from the traditional circle and heart shapes to something as funky as a shape of a high-heeled shoe!  It could even be fun for your babes to each design their own doodle!

Not to mention, fresh fruit is a must at any breakfast, and the darling assorted fruit presentation inside a carved out watermelon would look fabulous as a centerpiece.  Add a hot pink grosgrain ribbon around the green skin to add that extra girly touch! For a sassy twist on the classic breakfast cocktail, the blushing mimosa will look fabulous against a pink and orange table.  Just add a touch of pineapple juice and grenadine to the classic drink for the blush look! This “Breakfast with the Babes” theme would be perfect for a darling bridal shower or sweet 16!

Images:Pancake doode (moredesignplease.com),Watermelon fruit display (downtown.tumblr.com), Blushing mimosa (myrecipes.com),  Table setting (dexknows.com),
Flower arrangement (bestweddingsites.com)

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