June 29th, 2009 |

Bridal Shower: Party of Poppies

Poppy Shower (shower)

Although put together to be a bridal shower, this happy party could be darling for a birthday party too!

Have a bride that has a beautiful style, but doesn’t love a lot of frills?!  This bridal shower is perfect for her!  With a color palette grounded in grey, and popped with green, yellow, orange and pink – this outdoor party has a few unique details that make it an event full of clean lines and happy details!

Invite your guests with this lovely invitation from Wedding Paper Divas – I love the colors and simplistic design.  A couple of ideas for decorations….set up round tables outdoors and cover with pewter grey linens.  To give the party a modern look, use rectangular, white plates.  To create these festive centerpieces, use boxes of grass (real or artificial).  Use large bloom flowers such as  poppies or gerber daisies to stick into the grass.  If you are using real flowers, just stick a piece of floral wire up the center of the stem to manipulate the shape.  It’s happy, festive and full of style….sure to thrill any bride!

Images: invitation (weddingpaperdivas.com), cake (southernaccents.com), party favor box (theknot.com), table setting (inthenowweddings.com)

June 28th, 2009 |

Dinner for 16: Country French Charm

Dinner for 16

My mother and a few of her friends recently hosted a dinner party to celebrate the retirement of a dear friend.  The party was hosted at my parent’s house, and although I wasn’t a hostess…..I hear the word party and I immediately jump on the bandwagon!  I went up to help set up for the party – and this is what we came up with.

Dinner for 16 on the patio!  My mother wanted the party to look like a country french dinner in a garden, so we set up a l-o-o-n-n-g table, and covered them in red and white check table cloths.  We used 4 lanterns as centerpieces, each dressed up with a candle, moss and a single yellow bloom.  The great thing about the lanterns is that they look beautiful in the daylight, but they set off a lovely glow at night.  The placesettings were simple – silverware was rolled in red and white napkins, each held together with a floral napkin ring.  We used her melamine dishes – a solid green dinner plate with a beaded edge, and a country french pattern salad plate.  Melamine plates are PERFECT for outdoor entertaining.  The are non-breakable, dishwasher safe, and they elevate the party to feel more like a dinner party, rather than a casual BBQ on the patio.

Dinner was served buffet style, so we set up a round table (easy for people to maneuver around) with an umbrella above it.  Okay – get ready for this – this was my favorite part of the decor!  We hung clear votive candles from the inside of the umbrella – the candles were hung on ribbons at all different heights.  Red, green, white, checked, polka dot, and plaid ribbon…..the mix of colors and patterns played into the country french theme.  The pictures don’t do it justice – it was absolutely charming!

The setting was perfect, the food looked delicious, and from what I could tell – the ladies were all having a great time!  (I had to leave after cocktails to go do a little entertaining of my own at my house!)  As you can see….the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!  I definitely learned from the best!

Stay tuned for a great beverage idea for summer…..

All images property of The Party Dress

June 24th, 2009 |

Swanky Soiree

Swanky Soiree

Although I am a classic girl at heart, the festive colors and modern lines of this party bring a little flutter to my heart.  Just looking at it makes me want to go pull out a flirty party dress from my closet and sip a drink poolside!  I’m going to take a gamble and guess that most of us don’t have this picturesque pool in our backyard – so let’s take inspiration from these gorgeous pictures and figure out how to incorporate some of these ideas into your own home or backyard for your next party.

Set the tone for your party by sending an invitation that reflects the image of the party – I found two that I absolutely love!  This one from Minted for it’s clean, modern lines and this one from Tiny Prints for it’s bright, festive colors.  Create a comfortable, yet swanky atmosphere by creating multiple seating areas with ottomans, chairs and small cocktail tables.  Use the color white for all of your tables and chairs, and infuse the area with bright colored pillows and floor cushions in your pop colors of royal blue, yellow, and lime green.

Don’t you just love the clean shape of this blue ottoman pictured by the pool?  I do – but I don’t necessarily want to invest a lot of money into something that I won’t use everyday!  So – get creative!  Here is how you can recreate the look for next to nothing in price:

Use a side table from IKEA ($12.99) as your base. Head to your local Home Depot or craft store for a piece of extra thick foam, and cut a piece of fabric that will fit around it.  I would chose something textured and on the thicker side, such as a cotton pique (remember, people will be sitting on this).  Glue the fabric around the cushion, and then glue to the top of the side table – and there you go, you have your own modern ottoman for around $20 dollars!

Now, let’s get to the table setting…… Create a centerpiece of brightly colored candle sticks, and small square vases of flowers.  I love these tightly packed roses – the solid color looks modern, and adding a piece of lettuce in the vase not only hides the stems, but also adds a different texture to the arrangement.  Use all white dishes, but pop the blue and lime green in your napkins.  If you can find a trimmed napkin in your specific colors, perfect!  If not, take this hint and run with it…  Use two solid napkins!  Lay them on top of each other, pull up in the center and gather with a ribbon or napkin ring – you will get the same affect!

Images via Brides.com

June 23rd, 2009 |

Napkin of the Week: Orchid Love

Orchid Napkin

This napkin needs little explanation!  But I thought it was a great example of how a little ribbon and a stunning bloom can completely transform a basic napkin into something special.  Take this concept – change the colors, change the ribbon and the flower – and make it your own.

Image via The Knot

June 22nd, 2009 |

Cocktails & Croquet

Croquet Party

Looking for a new idea for your next cocktail party?  Embrace the outdoors and invite your neighbors over for a Cocktails & Croquet party.  Full of festive drinks, appetizers and lawn games – this party is sure to create a little  friendly competition!

Set up activities in your lawn such as croquet, bocce ball and badminton.  Separate the areas with decorations, such as different colored paper lanterns hanging above in the trees,  or decorative signs announcing the game.  Set up two separate bars – one of festive drinks, one of delicious summer appetizers.

For the drinks, offer both alcoholic and non-alcoholic options.  I recommend a pitcher of margaritas and some white wine.  For the non-alcoholic bunch, offer iced tea and a frozen lemonade with blackberry puree served in glass drink dispensers.  These are perfect for encouraging your guests to self-serve – and are sure to become a staple at all of your summer parties.   Don’t forget the acrylic glassware (made to resist breaking, chipping and cracking)!

Since your guests will be occupied with competition, set up a buffet of summer appetizers that are easy to grab in between plays.  Some of my new favorites – caprese bites, brochettes of melon, prosciutto and mozzarella, crab cakes with a garlic-chive dipping sauce, and feta cheese truffles.  Is your mouth watering yet?!

For the hostess who is always looking for a new take on an old classic – this party is for you!  Let the games begin!

Croquet Party FoodImages: croquet clubs and action shot (inmagine.com), red drinks (styleathome.com), colorful lanterns (mintsdesign.com), yellow centerpiece (theknot.com)

June 19th, 2009 |

Dinner at the Beach

Dinner at the Beach

Dinner at the beach….isn’t that what summer is all about?!

If you have a beach house, the “dinner at the beach” is easy enough!  If you don’t live near water, invite some friends over for a casual summer dinner alfresco this weekend (with a beach theme, of course!).  Create a casual, yet put-together outdoor space that will have your friends toasting your inner “Martha Stewart!”  Set up a sitting area complete with the typical comforts of an indoor living room – pillows, lanterns with candles to create some mood lighting, a bowl of flowers or fruit on a table – make it an extension of your home.

Serve dinner on your patio table – no linens necessary, just a centerpiece of fresh flowers or pots of grass to give it that casual, beach feel.  Add a special touch to your place setting by tying a personalized tag to a starfish, and slip it into your napkin.  Make sure to add  some votive candles or small lanterns to your centerpiece to give an additional glow.

I’m always looking for new dishes to try…..top of my list for this weekend?!  Coconut shrimp with lime, served with Mojitos!

Images: starfish napkin (theknot.com), outdoor living room (potterybarn.com), table (coastalliving.com)

June 18th, 2009 |

Decorate with Lemons

Decorate with Lemons (small)

Give your party a fresh look this summer by using lemons in your decorations and centerpieces.  Bright, colorful, affordable, and easy to find – lemons are the perfect addition to any party.  Beautiful when paired with flowers, festive when combined with other citrus fruits, or boldly stunning when used by themselves – see what you can create!

Images: lemon and orchid arrangement, lemon placecard (theknot.com), candlesticks (themomsbuzz.com), chandelier, table settings (stylemepretty.com), lemon archway (tapestry.com), bowl of lemons (inmagine.com)

June 16th, 2009 |

Golf Outing with Flair

Golf Outing with Flair (small)

It’s rare that I feature a party geared towards men.  Nothing against them – but I think it’s safe to say that most of them don’t appreciate the type of attention to detail women put into party planning!  However, all men deserve a special party now and then…..so whether you are planning a fabulous Father’s Day, a pre-wedding gathering, or a 40th birthday party, here are a few ideas to plan a summer golf outing:

  1. Course Selection – Budget limits, tee time availability, location, club amenities, and players’ ability should drive your decision on course selection. Considerations should include: course difficulty, carts, caddies, and bag carry options, course/clubhouse capacity, availability of locker room with showers, club and shoe rental options.
  2. Spread the word – Before you send out your actual invitation (I absolutely love this invitation from Tiny Prints – it’s the perfect balance of fun and masculinity!), you may want to send out a save the date card or an informational e-mail to get an idea of how many people are considering attending.
  3. Registration – The registration area is one of the most critical components of any golf outing. It sets the tone for the entire day. The registration table should be set up in a highly visible location and should have some sort of festive decor.  Depending on the size of your event, the table should be manned up to two hours prior to the scheduled arrival time of your guests. Ensure that adequate personnel will be available to maintain a smooth flow of traffic, keeping the registration area moving effectively.
  4. Speed of Play – Maintaining an adequate speed of play is an important aspect in ensuring a successful golf outing. Slow play is annoying to other golfers and can disrupt the timetable for other planned activities. This can be managed by correctly pairing the members of your group by playing ability, or by choosing a format of play that produces timely rounds.
  5. Shot Gun vs. Tee Times – Listed below are the advantages and disadvantages of the two standard formats for golf outings.
    1. Shot Gun Starts
      • Shot gun starts permit all group participants to start and finish at the same time. This allows the group to remain together for other events.
      • The entire group arrives at the banquet facility at one time.
      • Can be scheduled for the early afternoon, allowing participants to get in a full morning of work.
      • Speeds up play.
    2. Tee Time Starts
        Advantages

      • Allows for a variety of starting times to suit golfers needs.
      • Can maximize outing capacity (up to 220 players between 8 am and 1 pm)
      • Flexibility allowed for guarantees on group size.
  6. Contests – Contests can be an enjoyable source of entertainment for your players.  However, don’t overload your event with too many contests….they can slow down play.  Here are some suggested contests:
    1. Longest Drive
    2. Skins Game
    3. Closest to Pin
    4. Putting Contest
    5. Nearest to the Line
    6. Mulligan Sales
    7. Pot-of-Gold
    8. Flying Lady
    9. Beat the Pro
    10. Blind Partner
  7. The 19th Hole – After 18 holes of golf, your men will be ready for a relaxing break!  Plan a lunch (you could even invite spouses that didn’t play to join in) at the course’s clubhouse that includes a buffet of sandwiches, salads and buckets of cold beer!  Create simple, yet festive centerpieces for the lunch tables by using glass cylinder vases in different sizes.  Fill them up with golf balls, limes, candles, sand….get creative!  Dress up dessert by serving golf-inspired cupcakes!

Images: golf ball centerpiece (theknot.com), golfer and bucket of golf balls (inmagine.com), , golf accessories cupcakes (cleavercupcakes.com)

June 15th, 2009 |

Father’s Day Centerpiece Idea

dad-centerpieceImage via Better Homes and Gardens

June 11th, 2009 |

Summer Centerpiece

centerpiece-plus-placecardTry this idea for your next outdoor party….

Plant  each guest a small pot of flowers and add in a chalkboard stake.  Write your guest’s name on it….you have a placecard, a party favor and if you group them all together in the center of the table….a centerpiece too!

Image via Lollipop Events

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