{holiday party} 7 Invitation Wording Ideas

Hosting a holiday party and at a loss for clever invitation words?  Here are 10 ideas that are suitable for most festive holiday parties.  Invitations, shown below, designed by me.  Your custom order is always welcome!

 Silent Night? Not tonight!

Let's have a ball!

Mix, Mingle & Be Merry
Join Us for Holiday Cheer!

Let the warmth of our friendship take the chill from the air
and the spirit of the season make winter easier to bear!

We're planning a Holiday Party
Please say you'll be here
Let's celebrate the Christmas Season
with good friends and good cheer!

Please join us for a little bubbly and good cheer to toast the holidays and the coming New Year!
Let's shake up the season!
Join Us for Martinis and Mayhem
Images and Event Design for this holiday party coming tomorrow!

Any other invitation wording ideas - perhaps for a children's party or cookie exchange?  Please share and inspire us!


Inspiring Ideas for your Thanksgiving Table

I'm off-the-hook for hosting my family's Thanksgiving Dinner this year so admittedly, I haven't been paying too much attention to preparations but fortunately, many other creative professional party planners across the blogosphere have been.  Here's a quick look at what inspired me; may you be inspired too!

This edible cornicopia is made from bread, embellished with fresh fruit and looks lovely!
{inspiring idea from The Idea Room via Divine Party Concepts}

I love the unexpected vertical arrangement of the placemats plus the gorgeous combination of blue, orange and green!
{inspiring idea from HGTV via Divine Party Concepts}

I love the simple idea of tying ribbon around the wine stem to create a wine tag
{inspiring idea from Celebrations at Home}

Look no further than your backyard to create this lovely centerpiece!  Clear vases are filled with pinecones, moss, prickly balls and even dried beans from your pantry.  Embellish the display with a few scraps of yarn, berry twigs and small pumpkins.
{inspiring idea from Celebrations at Home}

I would be a kid again to sit at this table!  The turkey leg place card is too cute!
{inspiring ideas from Fiskars}

Another clever place card for the kid's table!
{another inspiring idea from Celebrations at Home}

Entertain kids until dinner is ready by guessing how many Indian Candy Corns are in a jar?
{yet another inspiring idea from Celebrations at Home}

Grateful Turkey Table Toppers - fun to make and cute on the table!
{inspiring idea from Couture Parties}

One last idea - free Thanksgiving printables!  Write down what you did this year to make next year easier.  There's even a set of free Christmas printable too.
{printables available from Life ... Your Way}

Which idea inspires you?  Do you have an idea share?  Let us know!


{event showcase} 40th Birthday at Club Bryan

Today I have the pleasure of sharing a fun milestone birthday celebration with you!  Last month, over the Halloween weekend, my client hosted a 40th birthday party for his wife.  Her only request was to dance.  Therefore, I transformed the lower level and pool deck of my client's home into a night club.  Here are the details.

Hustle on over and bust a move
Amy’s turning 40
So we’re having party!

The birthday girl has a passion for tennis so the night club theme evolved to "40 Love" at Club Bryan!  The birthday cake and cupcakes were made by Amphora Bakery.

Catering trick: to display a sheet cake place a stack of 2-3 small plates in each back corner.  The stack of plates prop up the cake for a better display.  Thanks for the tip, Jim!

As guests arrived downstairs, they passed through silver beaded chains to reveal a dark night club with lots of lights, including a custom light on the wall and lights that moved to the beat of the music.

The DJ played great music, dance hits through the decades with extra attention to favorite songs from the 80's and later in the night, guests enjoyed karaoke too, which turned out to be a huge hit!

Our color scheme was sapphire blue and sparkling silver and the look and feel of the night club was contemporary with a disco edge, like South Beach meets Studio 54.  To make this work, we rented white furniture and linens, draped the existing couches in blue fabric and created a backdrop for the DJ (thus, hiding the Bryans' entertainment system) using white drapes and a tufted backwall.  We accented with blue and silver pillows, candles and uplights.  To really drive the theme home, we had a disco ball centerpiece on the food buffet that lit up and spun around; it was personalized to read "40 Love"  and "Club Bryan".

On the buffet, we served a tasty array of hors d'oeuvres including my favorite - Southwest Trifle with layers of guacamole, creme fraiche, salsa verde, cornbread and pico de gallo - and a new favorite - Miniature Beef Fajita with citrus cream, roassted corn, black bean quinoa and smoked chili sauce (shown above).  The birthday gal also loved the Tomato and Fennel Soup Shooter with Manchego Grilled Cheese. Super yummy!

Outside on the pool deck, guests enjoyed the bar and more seating with outdoor heaters to keep them warm. 

In addition to beer, wine and soda, two specialty drinks were offered at the bar:

40 Love
a.k.a Gator-ade, a nod to the Bryans' alma mater

a nod to where the Bryans' met many years before

Creating "Club Bryan" was a lot of fun!  Many thanks to the Bryans for entrusting me to produce this very special party and to my A-team of vendors - Fusions Cuisine, Bialeks Music and Gala Events - for helping me!


{event showcase} Client Appreciation Party

Today, I have a fantastic party to share with you!  It's a client appreciation party hosted by Sherry Spinelli and Lauryn Eadie of Circadian Realty Group.  Lauryn's name might sound familiar; she's the uber-lucky lady who won two of my summer promotions - a custom event design as well as invitations.  This fall, she cashed in her prizes!  Below is an overview of the custom event design and then further below is how the party panned out, including the invitation design.

Lauryn and Sherry told me that they wanted to host a client appreciation party to thank clients, friends and family for their business, referrals and support.  They wanted a new and interesting venue that conveyed warmth (like a cozy home) and suggested a wine tasting activity.  One venue in particular was The Wine House in Fairfax, VA.

With this information in mind, I came up with 3 scenarios - all based on the concept of showing recent homebuyers how to entertain in their new home.

A Taste of Home
Wine tasting in a restaurant conducted by a sommelier with discussion of wine basics, food pairings, etc.

The Art of Entertaining
Similar to the scenario above but hosted in an art gallery (for flexibility with catering expenses).

Home Sweet Home
Replace wine and cheese with coffee and desserts (again, for flexibility with catering expenses).

{Lauryn Eadie (L) and Sherry Spinelli (R)}

Lauryn and Sherry hosted their Client Appreciation Party on Sunday afternoon, November 14 at the Wine House.  In addition to thanking guests, the party was an opportunity to debut their new corporate identity including new business name, logo and tagline.   They asked me to design the invitation, name tags and good bags, which was an opportunity for me to return to my corporate marketing roots (yeah!).

To complement their new logo, tagline and colors, I designed the following items:

5.5" circle invitation with PS Poppy square envelope and circle mailing labels

Name Tags
PS Poppy and Chartreuse circle mailing labels

Goodie Bags
Pear and Tangerine Jelly Bellys in a clear plastic treat bag and tied with orange or green ribbon and custom gift tag (again, PS circle labels)

{L-R: me, my husband and Sherry's daughter}

The party was lovely!  We were greeted with a welcome glass of wine, mingled with guests and enjoyed an assortment of yummy canapes.  Here are the important food and wine details:

Food Display
Assorted cheese with crackers and fruit
Charcuterie with Olives and crackers
Wine House Baguette with Truffle Butter (my favorite!), Olive Tapenade and Honey Butter

Passed Canapes
Petite Crabcakes
Marinated Beef Skewers
Scallop and Mango en Crute (perfectly done and oh, so yummy!)
Smoked Salmon wrapped Asparagus
Smoked Duck with Honey Dijon and Microgreens
Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes
Dark Chocolate Terrine

Welcome Wine
Willm Sparkling Blanc de Noir, Cremant d' Alsace

Wine Tasting
Foxglove Chardonnay, Central Coast, CA
Lil Rippa Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, NZ
Lil Rippa Pinot Noir, Central Otago, NZ
Clifton Cabernet, Sonoma, CA
Lodali Moscato d' Asti, Piedmonte, Italy

Thank you, Sherry and Lauryn, for allowing me to share my creative talents and professional party planning skills with you to produce a very special event!  I wish you much continued success with Circadian Realty Group.


{event showcase} 8th Annual Boo Bash

Today, I'm taking a short break from planning parties to show you some of the recent parties I've produced, starting with my 8th Annual Boo Bash.  The party was so much fun, I hope you enjoy!

Hosted at my home for approximately 35 children (ages 4-9) and their parents, this year's Boo Bash was "Experimenting with Fun" where the highlight of the party was Mad Science entertainment

My party space was defined by three distinct areas - refreshments, entertainment and a Haunted House.  To create cohesiveness in a large yard, I used pipe and black drape in front of my garages and then placed the display tables in front - a tall schoolroom table in lime green and then a rectangle table in front in black linen.  See the fun photos below!

Here's the invitation, as featured in this previous blog.

This is the refreshments table - complete with (L-R) "radioactive" pretzel rods dipped in chocolate; beakers of Blood Orange European Soda, Water and Apple Cider; and specimen tubes of Jelly Bellys.

Note: the "beakers" are Carafes from IKEA (Thank you, Lori!)

More goodies included (L-R) M&Ms, Cupcake Surpr-eyes, Treat Boxes, more radioactive pretzel rods, Pop Rocks and Petri Dishes filled with Lime Jello and Gummy Worms ... plus candy corn, Popcorn and fresh apples.

Notes: the cupcakes (my favorite) were store-bought that I decorated from these instructions; the treat containers were inspired by this blog (with how-to instructions); and the Petri Dish display was made by placing a black tray between a Monster candle holder and the Monster decorated candle pillar.

Kids had so much fun making their drinks - Kool-Air Fizz tablets (cherry, lemon and grape flavors) dropped into their half-pint bottle of water that was served in a cauldron.

I made the laboratory using a few notable items - Mad Science picture frames from Target (so cute!) that were draped with cob webs; glitter skeleton propped up by our favorite Hallmark musical Halloween toy; microsope from the toy closet; and my husband's dusty science books with a glitter skull and Red Robin beaker for bookends =)

And the Mad Science entertainment.  With help from Danielle from Mad Science, the children ...

Hope you enjoyed the fun as much as we did!


Holiday Centerpieces Made from your Pantry

I spotted the photo above in the October 2010 issue of Rachael Ray's magazine.  Created by HGTV's David Bromstad, this gorgeous centerpiece is simply made with pears embellished with craft store gemstores and nestled on gift boxes in between votive candles for a lovely display.  Nice (and easy)!

I went online to find the find the photo and found more inspiration; see below.

Glass containers filled with layers of cinnamon and salt for a candy cane effect!

Martini glasses filled with Hersheys kisses, greens and tapered candles!

Sprigs of holly tucked inside an upside down wine glass with a tea light on top!

A string of lights on the table, some tucked inside upside down colorful tumblers!

Which one do you like?  Do you have a 'pantry' centerpiece idea to share?


Disney Cake Pops

Back from vacation and I still have a Walt Disney World state-of-mind!  Speaking of which, have you seen these adorable cake pops?

They are from Bakerella, a super talented woman who just launched her Cake Pops book and book-signing tour.

Visit this page for the Mickey & Minnie cake pop recipe and this page for the Mrs. Potts recipe ... and as the folks at Disney say, 'Celebrate Today'!