Monday, September 17, 2012

 Happy Monday! When planning a birthday party for an adult, especially if it is a "Special" or "Big" Birthday for that person keep in mind that the same decor for a wedding can be used for a special birthday. This is because it is usually elegant, pretty, classic with touches of the unusual. You can even use the same type of invitations and just put in different wording! Today I'm going to show you a party and options that are right along that theme. 

 Many weddings send out "save the date" cards. You can do this for a birthday as well. Especially if the party is being held on a holiday weekend. These "save the date" cards could just say something like "Mary has a Big Birthday coming up...hope you can "save the date"...official invitation to follow! Make sure to send those out about 6 months before the date of the party. Basically, as soon as you know the date and book the venue...if you have one to book. More on that later...

 There are many invitations out there. Many of them could be used for weddings but for a birthday you want to use wording to set the scene. We are going for a "Garden Party" with this one so here is one of the styles you could choose. Keep the Birthday Girl in mind when picking your style. If she is bold then this one would work...
Is she a little more stylish? Then something more "architectural" will work for her. Still uses the green and pink color palette but with a little less "girly" and more about style.
Is she a lot more of a "Girly Girl" than that? Then really go "Garden Party" and pull out the flowers and vines for her invitation. And remember to save one of the invites for your Birthday Girl as a keepsake.
Now it's time to set the scene. Hopefully you have a backyard or the corner of a pretty park where you can set up. Hang a few crystal chains from the branches of a tree if there is one nearby to catch the light, top the tables with pretty tablecloths and simple centerpieces to set the mood. Even if you are inside a home or venue, you can use this idea with "trees" in the corners of the room.

 Even if you have to be indoors you can set the mood with this wall of flowers. Just fishing line or clear thread strung through the base of the flowers and then attached to a wooden dowel and you have your wall of color. This can be hung from a tree, a wall or a fenceline and would look SO beautiful behind the Birthday Girl!
 Yes, for a birthday party, using chair decorations would be incredibly expensive. So why not just for the Birthday Girl's chair?! Just one special wrap like this would really set her "throne" off and make her feel even more special.
 Speaking of keeping the costs down. How about easy centerpieces? These are just bottles and jars that have just been washed out and then used as vases! Don't worry about getting supermarket flowers. You only need them to look beautiful for a few hours.
 You can also go for a bunch of different containers on each table so it looks like you went around your garden gathering up pretty little containers of flowers for your tables. When using something like this metal pail just put your flowers into a glass that is a tad bit shorter than the pail first. 
These green apple tea light holders are very very simple to make. Just core out a bit of the top of the apple, brush with lemon juice to keep them from browning, and then insert a tea light in a clear holder. Even if this is a daytime party these make a charming display.

And speaking of display! These little treat cups are now available at Michaels in sets! $20 a set before the 40% off coupon and you have a gorgeous "small bites" display for your party! Fill them with any small treat you like from salads to puddings.
And speaking of treats! How about glasses of cotton candy set up on a table...add either sparkling water or champagne and watch how the sugar dissolves into sparkling decor! And since it's just sugar and color it tastes really good too. Performance art for your guests as well!

If you are going for a more formal idea then why not put place cards at every table. Using a metallic gel pen you can simply write on more green apples and set those on the plates. Quite the inexpensive card idea that goes right along with your garden theme!

Favor time! Yup, just like a wedding, big birthday parties have favors too! For adults you can use the same type of favor you would for a wedding or you could go a bit more fun and make a mini candy bar. A full candy bar can be quite expensive and you will be stuck with a lot of leftover candy. So keep the candy bar small with just a few choices. Have a stack of small paper bags and scoops for each type of candy and let your guests help themselves.
And, of course, there is cake! A stacked cake doesn't have to be a huge cake. This cake from Cat's Cakes is a 4 inch, 6 inch and 8 inch stacked cake and feeds 55. It follows the Garden Party theme perfectly with its fern leaves and lily pad flower topper. Perfect for any special Birthday Girl! 

Hopefully you got some ideas for some really special woman in your life who may be having a special birthday this upcoming year! Remember that, if you live in Northern California, Tory and I can help you plan and execute your Big Party ideas. If not then we can always help you plan and give you ideas. Just leave us a comment here and we will try to help!

Next week I am on vacation but when I get back I will have the Man's version of today's party...after all, men have "Big Birthday's" too!

See you then!

Monday, September 10, 2012

 Happy Monday! With Halloween less than 2 months away I know that there are a few people out there thinking of themed weddings. There are many ways you can go with a Halloween Themed Wedding from the totally kitschy costume dress up party to a Gothic Inspired party to an Elegant Black & White Party. So today I'm going to give you some ideas of how the last two could work.
These invitations from are only about $2.70 each and would definitely work for a Gothic Inspired Party! Using the theme colors of red, black and white and the overly dramatic wording and artwork, these invitations would certainly set the mood for your event!

If you are looking to go a bit less dramatic but still stay elegant then these invitations from start at about $1.65 each. If you still want to add the touch of red to the invitation then consider a red envelope liner so when your guests open their invitation up they see the invite on a bed of red. Stunning!
 With the ceremony you have to tread ever so lightly on the black color scheme. It can look like a funeral very quickly if you use black tulle for decorations. Consider this idea of just using black chairs and then accent those with the red and white for a dramatic but not depressing ceremony space.
 If you are actually having this on or around Halloween you can use pumpkins if you decorate them with designs like the one above. This takes the pumpkin from Trick or Treat to Elegant Party very quickly!
 If you are having your ceremony outside and at sunset then a votive display such as this one would evoke memories of luminaria festivals you may have seen around Halloween but set a more elegant tone than the traditional paper bag or punched tin can luminaries.
 Of course there are many ways to go with your dress and shoes from a white dress accented with a black or red sash to one trimmed in black to a completely black or red dress. Whatever you choose you can also find flowers that will compliment that dress. These deep red roses decorated with crystals would stand out beautifully against a white or black dress!
If you are looking for a more dramatic statement then think about using black ribbon at the base of your bouquet of white or red flowers. Another way to add some drama is to use accents of black tulle or black feathers tucked into the bouquet.
 As your guests enter the reception area how dramatic would an escort card table be like the one above! Accented with black votives, white flowers and black and white escort cards, this table is even more dramatic because they used a black patterned tablecloth overlay to add just that little bit more detail to an already stunning table!
 Card boxes have become part of the reception areas so why not make a splash with a card box as dramatic as this one? These are fairly easy to DIY using standard give boxes and wrapping paper with ribbon but they are certainly needed as a place for your guests to place their wedding cards to you both. The crowning touch on this set is the use of rhinestone strips to add a bit more bling to the arrangement.
If you are going to go more towards the Gothic Inspired party theme then why not make a signature drink or two with a Black Vodka like Blavod! Layer in some grenadine in a crystal glass and float in a round ice cube and you have a drink that spotlights your colors!
 As with the dress and flowers you have a choice on how dark to go with your table settings. To keep the mood more elegant and less dark you can, once again, choose black chairs, use damask linens and white flowers. In an all white room it would still get the theme across while keeping the palette light.
 Or just go for it! You can completely Goth out with this black linen and red plate tablescape. It is over the top dramatic without tipping over into the cheap and tacky. Perfectly done!
 And don't forget to dress up your food area! Assorted black cake stands alternately filled with candles or food would make for a very elegant but dramatic presentation on your food table!
An easy DIY craft is to cover votive holders with a bit of lace trim. Just hot glue at the overlap seem and in seconds you have very elegant votives to dress up your tablescapes!
And, of course there needs to be favors! These gorgeous lanterns would make for a stunning addition to your tablescapes as well as a wonderful thank you gift to your guests. These from run about $5 each.

To mix it up a bit you can place different lanterns at different tables. This will add style and texture to your tables as well as different levels of light and a variety of gifts for your guests. These lanterns from are about $4 each.
And finally there is cake. You can go with an all black cake, an all red cake or one like this one from Cat's Cakes that brings all of your wedding colors into one dramatic but elegant display for your reception! This fully edible black and white cake with red sugar roses costs about $4 a slice so you can go dramatic without it breaking your budget!

I hope you found some party ideas you can use, whether it is for your wedding or just your next Halloween party! You can go dramatic without it looking cheap and end up with a striking and elegant celebration even at Halloween.

Next week I'll be back with a grown up birthday party! See you then!


Monday, September 3, 2012

 Happy Monday! And Happy Labor Day for those of you in the USA! I hope you find lots of ways to celebrate this well earned day off with parties and friends and family and, of course, CAKE!

Today I bring you the party that goes with the cake I spotlighted yesterday on the Cat's Cake Blog, . It's Halida's Baby Shower! And, of course, we begin with the invitation!
 Obviously there are tons and tons of themes out there. Some have been overdone and you can end up going to the same themed type of shower a few times in a year so it's wonderful when there is a new theme introduced into the season. Especially when it's as cute as teddy bears and bees!

 Yup, It's A Boy! Halida, her husband and daughter are awaiting a little boy later this month so they had the necessary information to use for the decorations. The centerpieces were these cute little paperweight bundles with pillow mints scattered around on a themed table cloth. If you have planned a lot of writing games for your shower you need to remember to keep your centerpieces small, like this one, to allow lots of room for your guest to write. 
 There were lots of cute little details like these little plastic booties scattered everywhere. A good party is always in the details. Give your guests lots of little things to discover as they sit and wait or chat.
 This was a backyard shower. That doesn't mean you have to go boring with the decorations or just stick to the tables. The use of the garlands on the back fence was wonderful! 
 This adorable diaper cake was topped with an even more adorable bee for the baby. Diaper cakes don't have to be fancy but they should always have a little extra for the baby such as the packs of formula, the diaper cream and the toy on the top. And since it's a "cake" try to place it on the cake table like this one was.
 Don't forget the edges of your tables! They used these little matching decorations to help not only decorate the sides of the tables but also to act as a weight to keep the tablecloths down in the breeze.
 One of the things I loved about this backyard shower was the use of awnings. Also known as "Pop-Ups" these are very important to the comfort of your guests so remember to provide lots of shade to help keep your guests cool and prevent sunburn.
The favors were truly adorable. First was a little gift bag filled with pillow mints and decorated with the huge plastic binkies and then the tiny jars of honey with the personalized labels. SO cute! 
When throwing a shower make sure to make time for the gifts! Your guest will have spent time and money on these little bundles of joy and will want to watch you open them. Can it feel uncomfortable? Yes it can. Opening up all of those gifts can take a lot of time and you will worry your guests will be bored but, trust me, they are either chatting with other guests or having a blast seeing what you are opening up. 
 Onto the FOOD! Halida and her family put out quite the spread. The trick to this is to get enough on the table that appeals to everyone on your guest list. No small feat. There were two kinds of sandwiches, one a meat filled and one a veggie filled, and they were marked with yellow topped toothpicks for the meat filled ones and green topped toothpicks for the veggie sandwiches. Perfect!
 It is important to remember that with a shower where some, if not all, of your guests will be eating on their laps to have finger foods, and lots of them to serve. These barbecued chicken wings were wonderful!
The Spring Rolls were small enough to eat in a couple of bites. Putting out too big of a roll makes for an unwieldy serving size for your guests to eat neatly and will make some feel like they need to cut it up first which is hard to do with plastic flatware and on your lap. 
 That is not to say that you can't have food that requires a fork. This Chinese Chicken Salad was perfect for the outdoor party setting because the pieces are small enough to pick up easily with a fork but not so big as to require a knife.
 Being a summertime party fresh fruit was everywhere! From the luscious strawberries to the family's own grown grapes...

to the chunks of watermelon that all just looked SO yummy that you couldn't resist, the fruit was a nice compliment to the heavier food on the table.
The other great idea they had was using divided plates. These were a sturdier version for such a varied menu. It was really nice to be able to put the Spring Rolls in their own area and not have the sauce spread out over the watermelon.
They played a few games. One was this baby word search! You were given a certain amount of time to find the words and the person who found the most words at the end of the game won a Starbucks Gift Card. The other game was a "Finish the Nursery Rhyme" page with about 12 different songs on it to finish. Amazing how hard it is to place these lyrics when you are put on the spot! LOL! The last was the "Measure the Mom" game where you pass around string and people try to guess the size of the Mom's belly. Make sure you check with the Mom to be before you do this game. Some will feel like they are as huge as a house already and don't need to be reminded while others will think it's truly funny.
Finally there is cake! This cake was to match the teddy bear and bee theme but also to include the Big Sister into the day. So I added the plaque saying "Welcome Baby Brother" and a little surprise in the topper just for the Big Sister. The bear is made of fondant so it can be kept as a keepsake for, literally, forever. When fondant dries out it is as hard as a rock and will stay that way as long as it's not anywhere too humid.
 The cake was lemon chiffon with both fresh sliced strawberries and strawberry preserves. A nice light sweet bite for a summertime shower.
Whenever you have an older child at the shower try to remember to include them in the day. Maybe have a gift just for them to open, a "Big Sister" or "Big Brother" sticker or pin for them to wear like we did with this shower. We also made the top of the cake the Big Sisters own personal piece of cake, just the right size for her. With all of those touches she was a very happy little girl who felt included in the day with her Mom.

We had a wonderful time at Halida's "little" backyard shower. Proof that you can have a wonderful party in a small "family" setting. 

See you all next week with a new wedding idea that may just be your perfect wedding!