Throwing a Party

Keep some elements consistent, but vary your heights.

Keep some elements consistent, but vary your heights.

I had the privilege of styling a party for someone that is not related to me! It was quite an honor to be asked by a family that I not only love, but that I hold in high esteem.  Ms. Holly and my girlfriend Heidi are a mother-daughter team that are not only smart, but beautiful.  I wanted to make sure their event, Ethan and Lindsay’s Rehearsal Dinner, was exactly what they envisioned. 

Tips for Throwing a Well Planned Event

1. Come up with some adjectives that you want to describe your event. Consider the season and the type of food you will serving.

Here were some adjectives Heidi gave me for their “Rustic Italian Autumn Soiree”:

“Well-done, Comfortable, Pretty, Not Pretentious or Overdone, Seasonal, Elegant with a touch of Autumn.”

2. Design an invitation that reflects the feel of your event.

The event's location was to be outside, under the bistro lights, with an elegant, rustic Italian feel.

The event’s location was supposed to be outside, under the bistro lights, with an elegant, rustic Italian feel.

3. Pinterest is your friend. Look for pictures that match your vision. This will help because sometimes we need a visual before we can decide if a certain look is exactly what we want to create.

4. Ask yourself, or your client, if there are certain flowers or items that you absolutely want to incorporate.

For Heidi, it was bistro lights, sunflowers, and a dash of red buffalo checked pattern.

Sunflowers have a powerful color that needs to be paired with more neutral elements like greenery, baby's breath, and lotus pods.  An elegant touch is to use champagne buckets as vases.

Sunflowers have a powerful color that needs to be paired with more neutral elements like greenery, baby’s breath, and lotus pods. An elegant touch is to use champagne buckets as vases.

5. Pick an element, or elements, that is going to visually repeat throughout different areas of your event.

I decided to use silver champagne buckets as vases for medium-sized arrangements that would be on the two buffet tables and on the beverage station.  I also used “Bells of Ireland” as a flower whose shape would provide an architectural  and interesting element to the arrangement.

6. Keep your color palette limited if you want some consistency. Choose colors in the same hue.

We kept ours to yellow, green, white, and a dash of red buffalo check. Our linens were basic, white and khaki. I consider neutrals, like white, khaki, silver, or gold, to be mostly universally complementary to a wide range of accent colors. They create great canvases for other elements, which you NEED because you want a bit contrast. 

 

7. Plan for “heights.”  Arrangements are more appealing if the eye can travel.  Create flower arrangements of different heights on your buffet or drink stations.  Use a book or two under some fabric to create heights on dessert and beverage tables.

Heidi incorporated Mason jars for the sweet tea and water glasses, and small milk bottles with red straws to accompany the cookies that were served for dessert. So, we used stacks of books under the checked fabric and burlap to create different heights for the glasses and bottles. This makes a more visually appealing arrangement. 

8.  Have a contingency plan.  If your party is going to be outside, what are you going to do if it rains?

The plan for the event was to have it outside on a comfortably cool October evening, under artfully strung bistro lights.  Mother Nature had another plan as a torrential weather front started moving in a 3:30 that afternoon.  You need to make decisions quickly in moments like these. The plan in place was to move furniture, clear the living room, and set up all the round banquet tables and bistro chairs inside.  Thank goodness for large living rooms and husbands that sweetly pick up couches and shorten chandeliers. 

Living Room RD

Round tables call for arrangements which do not obstruct guests views.

 

I hope the bride and groom, Lindsay and Ethan, loved their party.  It was given with such love from their parents and family, and it  was an honor to take part in.

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