August 7th, 2009 |
Entertaining this weekend?! Here is a thoughtful idea…
Gather flowers from your garden and create tiny bouquets for each of your guests. Place them on each person’s napkin – not only will it dress up your table setting, but it will serve as a delightful party favor too!
Image via Inmagine
August 6th, 2009 |
This darling invitation from Minted inspired this party idea; ideal for a rehearsal dinner or a dinner party! Love the colors, love the design….just plain LOVE it!
If you are planning a “dressy” dinner party – consider using a palette of metallic silver and pewter mixed with plum. I love the shimmer mixed with the deep hue of one of Fall’s hottest colors. Rich, yet modern-looking. And oh, so sophisticated! Speaking of sophisticated….make sure to dress yourself in a coordinating hue. This ruffled-trim dress from Milly fits the bill!
Since we are hosting a “dressy” dinner party, it’s time to pull out the good stuff. You know what I’m talking about… Dust off that china, polish the silver, and make sure your crystal is sparkling! Add a modern touch to your classics with a few new items from Plum Party Supplies. I found shimmered, silver napkins that are stunning, and two different types of votive candle holders. Silver and gold metallic glass votives, or silver glitter tea light holders…..you choose which one is more your style!
Serve your guests passed champagne after dinner. To dress up your drinks, add a rim of pink sugar on each glass. Simply wet the rim of your champagne flute and dip into pink fine sugar. To carry the shimmer of the silver throughout the party, serve cupcakes decorated with over-sized pearl or silver sprinkles.
Images: table setting (nancyluichin.com), dinner party invitation (minted.com), champagne (brides.com), pearl cupcakes (le cupcake via flickr.com), silver and gold votive candles, silver napkins, and silver glitter tea light holders (plumparty.com)
August 4th, 2009 |
Add a fun twist to your next cocktail party by decorating with COLOR! Choose a color palette of three hues and break up your party into color-coordinated sections. For example, I have chosen a fuchsia, orange and yellow color palette for this party inspiration. Set your table up in three sections and include flowers, cocktails, appetizers, barware and edible garnishes in each section. Use neutral elements such as a tall glass vase, or votive candles in each section to unify the look. It’s somewhat of an “organization by color” project – but the final product will be so visual appealing!
When planning your food and drinks, try to keep your color palette in mind. Serve a signature cocktail for each color. For example, try a raspberry champagne cocktail (for the fuchsia), a mango cocktail (for the orange), and a lemoncello cooler (for the yellow). Get creative with your food presentation too….instead of serving one large crudites tray, separate the veggies by color. Place radishes on a plate with a small bowl of dip, carrots for the orange section, celery for the yellow section, and so on….
Bring in your pop colors with accessories. This festive invitation from Wedding Paper Divas is perfect for my color palette, but it comes in other color ways as well…perfect for any party! I found these great colored-glass votive candles at Plum Party Supplies. They come in all different colors, and I was thrilled to find them in all three of my pop colors – fuchsia, orange, yellow! These are great for placing in the different colored sections of my table, but will still give a unified look.
Images: invitation (weddingpaperdivas.com), shrimp cocktail (epicurious.com), wine glasses (thenest.com), table setting (potterybarn.com)
August 3rd, 2009 |
This shabby chic birthday brunch is all about natural sand colors mixed with cornflower blue. This lovely invitation from Minted is the perfect inspiration for the decor of the party….it has a subtle garden party feel, but with a color palette that I think is so sophisticated.
If you are hosting a larger party, consider setting up a few tables of 8-10 for brunch. In order to assure your guests have a lovely time, use placecards to determine the seating. Create a placecard display by filling a wood tray with sunflower seeds, beans, or rice (something in the natural color) and stand the placecards up in neat little rows.
Bring natural elements into your table centerpieces. Potted plants, candles perched on wood coasters, glass hurricane candles filled with pussy willow branches. Tie your napkin with a piece of raffia or a ribbon, and stick a white flower into it to finish off the presentation. Dress up a basic birthday cake with some fresh flowers on top….flowers make everything look special!
No party is complete without a signature drink….ask the birthday girl what her favorite cocktail is ahead of time. An Arnold Palmer (half lemonade, half iced tea) would be a perfect non-alcoholic option. Dress up your drinks by adding a custom flag to your straws. The pop of blue ties into our color palette, and they are darling when personalized with a cute saying, or something as simple as “Happy 30th!”
This brunch inspiration would be ideal for a bridal shower as well. The beautiful colors, simple decorations and sophisticated feel ensures a lovely afternoon with friends. Doesn’t it make you want to pull a floral party dress out of your closet and plan a party?!
Images: invitation (minted.com), drinks (brides.com), blue cake (theknot.com), table setting (artfool.com), placecards (saltharbor.com), party dresses (jcrew.com)
July 25th, 2009 |
Whether you are planning a romantic night with your special someone, or an intimate gathering of close friends – bring your dinner out under the stars for a picnic!
Set the mood by creating a cozy area for people to gather. Lounge chairs, blankets, big pillows will do – add lanterns, candles and potted plants around to add color and some mood lighting. Serve food that is not only easy to eat, but remember to use serving dishes that aren’t breakable and they should sit well on the ground. Baskets are perfect for this occasion! Gather bowls of different dips, slices of bread, and crackers all into one basket.
Come up with a festive dessert, such as a summer fruit salad with sambuca. Give this recipe from Williams Sonoma a try….
Feel free to vary it according to the fruit available, adding raspberries, peaches, oranges or melons. Adjust the sugar, lemon juice and sambuca to suit your taste. Kirsch or another fruit brandy can be used in place of the sambuca, if you prefer. The critical step is the long maceration, which allows the flavors to blend.
1 pint strawberries
1 cup blackberries
1 cup blueberries
1/4 cup sugar, plus more as needed
Grated zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1/2 lemon, plus more as needed
2 Tbs. anise liqueur, such as sambuca or anisette,
plus more as needed
Hull the strawberries and halve or quarter if large. Peel and dice the mango. Dice the plum and nectarine.
In a large bowl, combine the strawberries, mango, plum, nectarine, blackberries and blueberries. Add the 1/4 cup sugar, the lemon zest, the juice of 1/2 lemon and the 2 Tbs. sambuca and stir well. Dice the banana and stir into the salad. Taste and add more sugar, lemon juice or sambuca, if needed.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to overnight, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust the flavorings before serving. Serves 4 to 6.
Images: stargazing picnic (brightideas.com), pillows (instyleweddings.com), basket of dips (inmagine.com), drinks (helennorman.com)
July 21st, 2009 |
Sunflowers add instant warmth to any table. I’ve always considered sunflowers to be “happy” flowers…they instantly put a smile on my face! Try setting the table for your next dinner party with these great napkin rings from Pottery Barn, or cut off the top of a flower and insert a placecard. Both easy to do and equally charming!
Images: napkin rings (potterybarn.com), sunflower placecard (theknot.com)
July 20th, 2009 |
To toast the end of summer, invite your friends over for a fresh cocktail party concept: bites and bubbly!
This simple invitation from Wedding Paper Divas sets the tone for a festive evening with friends. A color palette of yellow, pale orange and silver and the use of a simple circle shape to create bold and modern atmosphere. Add some twinkle to your event by placing tea light candles around the party. If you are looking for some silver accents, use silver mini-tart pans as candle holders.
Set up a bar featuring your true guest of honor….the bubbly! Use a silver bucket to house the bottles of champagne (or prosecco), and choose two champagne punches to serve. My suggestions? Champagne Orange Sherbet Punch and Pomegranite-Champagne Punch…..delicious, pretty and the colors work with our color palette! Although a traditional punch bowl is always lovely, try using large cylinder vases and a ladle to serve your punch. The lines of the vase look a bit more modern, and you can buy the vases in all different sizes. Try alternating between short and chubby, and tall and skinny!
When you are hosting a cocktail party, make sure you have the appropriate glassware and dishes. You don’t want to work hard to create a beautiful party, and then serve your guests their bubbly in plastic glasses….do you?! You can find affordable glassware at IKEA. A set of six wine or champagne glasses for $4.99! A small investment for what will bring an elevated level of style to your party!
Instead of cooking a full meal, offer your guests a few “bites”! Serve a combination of appetizers and desserts, and since your guests will be walking around mingling, try to keep them easy to eat, or bite-size. I came up with a few new ideas that I think would be fabulous….
An evening full of good friends and fabulous bites and bubbly….it’s the perfect way to celebrate the end of summer!
Images: invitation (weddingpaperdivas.com), champagne bar (toddevents.com), floral centerpiece (aboutdetailsdetails.com)
July 16th, 2009 |
Whether you are celebrating a 20th anniversary or the recent engagement of good friends, invite people over to celebrate the occasion with drinks and appetizers – all styled with rustic charm! I am in love with this invitation from Minted…it’s half modern, half vintage, and completely charming!
Style the location of your party with a natural feel, using a rustic yellow, green and rust orange as a color palette. Place a couple of different centerpieces around the party to vary the look. First, fill a basket up with moss stones and votive candles. And second, place grass plants in small terracotta pots and wrap a decorative ribbon around it. If you have a trellis or trees above your serving table, hang some votive candles to add a little sparkle to the evening.
Serve your appetizers on serving pieces such as slabs of wood or slate, and in baskets. Look for some hearty appetizers such as pancetta-wrapped asparagus with citronette dressing, grilled zucchini with fresh mozzarella, and fig and goat cheese crostini. In addition to wine, serve a tasty, signature cocktail such as blackberry and cabernet caipirinha.
Images: patio (countryliving.com), invitation (minted.com), grass centerpiece (oncewed.com)
July 14th, 2009 |
Summer is the perfect time to gather for a family reunion. Whether it takes place annually or for a special occassion such as a wedding or birthday – make time this summer to entertain your family in style!
Fill your location with wood picnic tables and hang white paper lanterns from the trees above to give the setting a festive look. If you plan on having a sit down dinner or lunch, try this creative placecard idea. Using the end of a citrus peeler, scrape out everyone’s name onto a lime. It’s a natural-looking decorative element that will fit perfectly into your outdoor setting. Keep your centerpieces natural-looking as well. Try gathering wild flowers and placing them into simple vases or tin cans like the picture above.
Have each family member bring a special dish to serve for the meal….to differentiate what is what (and who cooked what), place all of the food on chalkboard slabs. You can identify the dish, so everyone will know “Aunt Mimi” made the brownies!
Oh, and make sure to set up an area for activities such as bocce ball and croquet to keep your guest entertained!
Images: outdoor party (traditionalhome.com), couple, paper lanterns, lime placecard (inmagine.com), daisy tin can centerpiece and chalkboard appetizer display (brides.com), bocce ball sign (theknot.com), baby (chasing-fireflies.com)
July 12th, 2009 |
I’m taking today off to celebrate my 30th birthday! Yup, ya heard me….30…..it sounds old!
I spent my 20′s figuring out who I was, what my dreams are…..had an amazing college experience, met friends I hope I will have forever, had a pretty amazing dream job, found my love for entertaining, and most importantly met (and married) prince charming. Can’t wait to see what the 30′s bring! Cheers!
Images: girl with balloons (josevilla.bigfolioblog.com), candles (inmagine.com)