Dress Up Your {Spring} Party with Ribbon

Warning!  The ribbon decor ideas below are adorable ... and affordable, which is very posh in a pinch.

I've had so much fun exploring other decor themes - paper cups and balloons, and received such a positive response that I'm featuring ribbon today.  Enjoy and be inspired to celebrate Spring!

This little cutie caught my eye - ok, the bunny too!  Ribbon Topiary created by She's {Kinda} Crafty for the new Anders Ruff "Spring has Sprung" collection featured on Hostess with the Mostess.

More cuteness from She's {Kinda} Crafty! Love this Ribbon Wreath.

She's {Kinda} Crafty ... seriously, isn't she?!

Ribbon Tablescape from Martha Stewart Weddings spotted on Divine Party Concepts

This photo just makes me happy!  Ribbon Napkin Rings found on You Are In Good Company

I can't write about creative ribbon decor ideas without showcasing this awesome ribbon storage idea found on At Home with Kim Vallee.  Someday, my ribbon collection will look like this ... maybe?!

I have one more ribbon idea ... a ribbon curtain/backdrop ... and a sneak peek to my Star Wars Spa party; more photos coming soon!

So a few ribbon decor ideas for your Spring party.  Which idea will you create?


{event showcase} Day-of Wedding Management for Denise and Scott

Look at what I received in my inbox this week ...
gorgeous photos from DC Wedding Photographer, Joseph Allen Photography!

Joseph captured the highlights of Denise and Scott's wedding on Saturday, February 19, 2011 in Washington, DC ... and I had the pleasure of executing their plans as Day-of Wedding Coordinator!  I'll share the details after the photos.

I told you ... the photos, much like the wedding, are gorgeous!

Denise and Scott planned their wedding ... quickly perhaps because they kept the details simple.  The ceremony was hosted at their church, St. Mary's Episcopal in Arlington.  The bridal party and many out-of town guests were transported to and from by Reston Limousine.  The reception, and guest hotel, was the Hotel Monaco - a gem in DC with top-notch staff.  Guests enjoyed cocktails, seated dinner and lots of dancing.  Flowers provided by Tierra Floral Design, cakes provided by Fluffy Thoughts and music provided by Galaxy via Bialek's Music

The result of their simplicity ... a sophisticated yet tremendously fun and memorable wedding.  Kudos to them - and many thanks to Joseph for sharing their photos!

Have you thought of hiring a day-of wedding coordinator?  It's a great option for brides and parents who want to plan the wedding but need someone else to execute the plan and oversee the details the day-of the wedding.  The process actually begins about 4-6 weeks out when the coordinator review plans, identifies any gaps and offers last-minute planning assistance.  Prior to the wedding, the coordinator will develop timelines, contact the vendors and attend the final walk-through.  Then, the coordinator attends the Ceremony Rehearsal to help the bridal party with their roles and is on-site the day-of from the time set up begins (usually at the ceremony venue) to the end of the reception, greeting vendors, troubleshooting problems, and keeping the bridal party and necessary vendors on track of time.

I've been asked why hire a day-of coordinator if the church and or the reception venue have coordinators.  The best explanation is that the day-of coordinator works for you and has only one responsibility - to care for you, your bridal party, family and guests; whereas, the church and venue coordinators have many other responsibilities during the event.  Something to consider ...


Mardi Gras Madness: Blueprint for a Great Party!

Parties are like books.  There is a beginning, a middle and an end.  With proper planning, each part will develop into a great ending, leaving guests wanting more!

Like the party showcased below.  My client just set the date for 2012!

A few weeks ago, I produced this Mardi Gras & Casino Night party!  There were so many great elements that unfolded over the course of the night that the party was claimed successful, "best year yet!"

Below is the blueprint for planning this party.  How can this help you?  Change the theme and the blueprint for planning still works.  Let me explain ...

Jim and Vivian, the gracious hosts.

The party starts with cocktails and passed hors d'oeuvres.

The party continues with a Strolling Magician, who amazes guests as they mingle.

About 30 minutes into the party, the casino tables open for Roulette and BlackJack fun!

A fortune teller rounds out the staggered entertainment.

About an hour to 1 1/2 hours into the party, the food buffet opens!  The magician has concluded his fun but the casino tables and fortune teller are still open to keep guests amused during dinner.

Towards the end of the evening, coffee and desserts are brought out for guests to enjoy at their leisure.  Also, guests turn in their chips for the grand prize announcement. 

The unexpected surprise was a guest who played the piano while guests (and staff) sang-a-long!  What a nice way to conclude another successful party!

So, in sum, the blueprint for a great party is to stagger food, drinks and entertainment so that excitement builds - just like the plot of a great book with a spectacular ending!

What is the plot of your next party?  How will the excitement unfold?  Please leave me a comment.  I enjoy learning from you, too!

Thank you to Vivian and Jim for allowing me to produce their annual party, and thank you to my A-Team of vendors:

Balloons - Festive Effects
Beignets - Patisserie Lille
Casino Tables - Always Fun Casinos
Catering - Fusions Cuisine
Fortune Teller - Bialek's Music
Strolling Magician - Dick Steiner Magician


Balloon Decor 5 Ways

Last week's Paper Cup Decor post was such a hit that I thought I'd write a similar post on balloons.  A little research revealed a lot of creative ideas.  Let me show you my top five!

Birthday Wreath!  Find out how on HowDoesShe?.com.

Balloon Topiary! Tutorial on P is for Party.

Balloon Flip-Flops (cute favors, too!). Inspiration from Maddycakes Muse.

Wax Luminaries.  Inspiration from Simply Creative Insanity!

Chocolate Bowls for pudding or ice cream, complimentas of Bakerella!

I'm sure there are many more ways to use balloons.  If you have an idea, please share it with me - or tell me your favorite idea above!


Cerise Rose Linens

I'm like a kid in a candy store when it comes to party rentals!  I especially love table linens.  I linger over the textures, the patterns, and the colors - and of course, concoct elaborate celebrations in my mind that feature these gorgeous accessories.  This is exactly what happened last month.  I received these new linen swatches from my friend, Liz Waylan at DC Rental:

(L-R) - Fandango Silver, Fandango Cerise, Fandango Turquoise ... and Cerise Roses, which really caught my eye!  I love the rosette pattern ... and the fuchsia color.

I dreamed of using this stunning linen at a formal garden party at Meadowlark Gardens.  Smart dressed women chatting over tea and scones with the scent of blooming flowers drifting in the breeze. 

I'm still dreaming of this lovely party ... and keep wishing for a client opportunity to plan it ... but in the interim, I saw the linen in action twice this week and wanted to share it with you. 

at this year's Leukemia and Lymphoma Ball ...

... and at the Engaging Affairs' display at Engaged! Magazines' premier wedding event.

Simply stunning!

Did you know? Linens are a smart investment when your decor budget is limited.  Like fresh paint on walls, linens offer tremendous impact on your party space.

Now, are you a linen junkie like me? If so, tell me about your new favorite linen.


Paper Cup Decor - 3 Ways

Need some inexpensive decor for your next party?  Use the paper cups in your pantry!  Here are 3 decor ideas:

These spring flowers look better than my garden (and don't need water)!  Tutorial on Morgan Made It.

Cute garland doubles as a game!  Find out how on Martha Stewart.

Who knew disposable cups could look so fancy?! Thanks to Everyday Celebrating for sharing this clever idea.

Do you have a paper cup decor idea? Tell me about it!


Happy 99th Birthday, Girl Scouts!

My newly established Daisy troop decorated this banner to celebrate the Girl Scouts 99th birthday!  My co-leader, also, brought in mini cakes for the girls to decorate with frosting and sprinkles.  Needless to say, our Daisies are enjoying their initial GS experience =)

Remember this March Madness post?  I modified the Daisy bouquet to make Daisy invitations for my troop's Investiture Ceremony ... and I used the new Clover paper color, too!

How will you celebrate today?!


NoVA Dreamers into Doers Meet Up

I have some new friends like I'd like to introduce to you!  They are local Party People, members of Martha Stewarts' Dreamers in Doers network ... just like me!  We met last Saturday afternoon to swap ideas, resources and best practices and inspire each other.  Let me tell you, there was a ton of talent around the table!

Back Row, L-R:
Maggie Gilbert, Like Cakes Bake Shop; Wilmara Manuel, Madly Stylish Events; Renee Kauder, Renee Takes the Cake; Lindi Haws, Love the Day (I met Lindi previously at Operation Shower: A Star is Born.  You may remember that she designed the invitation for my Mad Libs Pajama party!); Catharine Anders, CupKate Event Design (who offers the latest trends, Push Pop Cupcakes); Toni, Skye Media Group; Michelle Shepard, Sweet Madys {paper + gifts} (and she's opening a modern candy and ice cream shop with party room at the Village of Leesburg!) Johanna Waisley, Simply Create Kids; me; Tana Noel and Sabrina Mapp, Haute Sugar

Front Row, L-R:
Sarah Young, Sheek Shindigs (I previously met Sarah at Operation Shower, too); Ebony Sparkes, Sparkling Events and Designs; and Krissy, We Take the Cupcake (who takes her frosting seriously!).

I look forward to many future collaborations with these uber-talented ladies!


Toasted Spice Rub

Earlier this week, I shared details from my "My Child Would Never Eat That!" dinner party.  There were so many favorite parts of the evening but one in particular was the fabulous Lamb Loin with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce.  Wow! It tasted amazing.  Chef Colleen's secret weapon?  Toasted Spice Rub (and probably a good cut of meat and lots of culinary skill)! 

Lamb Loin with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce and paired with a Chilean Merlot

Chef Colleen sears the lamb ...

... while friends sample the Toasted Spice Rub

Toasted Spice Rub
Adapted from At Home with Michael Chiarello

1 Tablespoon Black Peppercorns
1 ¼ Tablespoons Coriander Seeds
1/4 cup Fennel Seeds
1 ½ Teaspoons Red Pepper Flakes
1/8 Cup hot chili powder (up to ¼ cup if sweeter than hotter)*
2 Tablespoons Kosher Salt
2 Tablespoons Ground Cinnamon

In a dry heavy skillet, toast peppercorns, coriander and fennel seeds. Watch closely, shaking pan gently to toast everything evenly. Once you begin to see the fennel seeds browning, and begin to smell the spices, remove from heat and pour onto a rimmed sheet pan to cool completely.

Place the cooled spices into a blender and add pepper flakes, chili powder, salt and cinnamon. Pulse until the mixture is finely and evenly ground. If using a spice mill or coffee grinder, mix all ingredients together in a bowl and process in two to three batches. Store in airtight container. Makes approximately one cup.

*be sure to get pure ground chilies, not the kind used in Texas Chili, with cumin ad other spices. California Chili powder is sweeter, but I like some with heat.

Thanks for sharing your recipe with us, Chef Colleen!


{event showcase} Would Your Kids Eat This?

Marinated vegetables?
Seared scallops?
Roasted lamb loin?

My kids wouldn't eat these foods either ... but I would, and so would my friends!  So I hosted a My Child Would Never Eat That! dinner party to enjoy our favorite foods but I added a little twist.  I hired a personal chef to prepare the food in my kitchen so that we could observe her cooking techniques and learn new recipes, and then, Chef presented us with the food paired with organic wines.  It was heavenly!

Below is a quick overview of what I planned to inspire you to plan your own dinner party. 

This is the invitation sent electronically via Paperless Post.  Like the radishes? You'll see them again!

This is the menu prepared by Chef Colleen of Leen's Cuisine.  I designed the menu card in MS Publisher and tucked a copy into each napkin fold.

So much fun in the kitchen!  Thanks, Amanda and Maribel, for helping out.

One of my favorites was the roasted lamb loin!  Chef Colleen prepared it with a dry rub and then, seared it on the stove.  Thinly sliced and drizzled with a touch of red pepper sauce, it was delicious ... especially with a sip of Chilean merlot!  Stay tuned for another post on her recipes.

I love to set the table!  For this party, I created a formal and seasonal look but I embellished it with a few quirky items, such as the place card forks (details on yesterday's post) and filled containers of flowers with dried split peas and accented with clusters of radishes

As I mentioned above, I tucked a menu card into each napkin.  Here is how I created a pocket fold:

Lay the napkin flat.
Fold the bottom up 1/3 of the way.
Fold the top down over the last fold, about 2 inches below.
Turn the napkin fold over and fold the sides in, about 1/3 on each side.
Turn the napkin fold back over and Voila!, there should be a pocket.

Did you know?  Hosting a 'tastings' dinner party with cooking demonstration is a savvy strategy for producing a great party for less money.  It's food and drinks with entertainment rolled into one!

Ready to host your own 'My Child Would Never Eat That' dinner party?  Then start planning with my complimentary Party Planner.


There's a Place Card on my Fork

Update: Many thanks to Kristy at The Purple Pug for inspiring my place card fork! She's shared this fun idea on her exceptionally cute and colorful Cereal Buffet Bar last summer.

Tired of the same old paper place card?  Then, change it up by embellishing the fork with ribbon and alphabet letters to let guests know where to sit.  It takes a little time and effort plus a glue gun but the guests' reaction is worth it!

What is your favorite non-traditional place card?  Leave a comment, please!


{party trends} Drink Tags

The days of losing your drink at a party are over! The increasingly popular trend is to tag your drink (or embellish your glass, for the stylish party people!). Below are just a few clever ideas, and many are easy to make yourself.

Personalized drink tag adhered to the bottom of the wine glass.

Start the conversation with these quirky tags.

Inexpensive chalkboard paper - and reusable!

Washi tape. So cool!

Crafty ... and stylish.

Perfect for the kiddos!

Do you tag your drinks? If so, please leave me a comment letting me know how!