It is no secret that knowing how to have a good time and being hospitable are at the core of the rich Mexican culture. Fall in love with the vibrant colors and details of Mexico and bring some of the fiesta with you.. . as long as you are celebrating I’d say ‘cultural appropriation’ is welcome.
In Mexico, we call September “mes patrio” (patriotic month) because it marks important historic events such as Mexico’s Independence Day and the day we commemorate the Niños Heroes(heroic children). Unlike “5 de Mayo”, which is not celebrated in Mexico, September brings with it lots of parties and get-togethers with a patriotic theme. Here is some inspiration to throw a Mexican party that feels authentic and pays tribute to the beautiful culture. Scroll down to see some items you can buy for this theme. (Disclaimer: Images are not mine and are used only for inspiration)
Theme: Fiesta Mexicana
Occasion(s): Mexican Independence Day, birthdays, weddings, bridal showers, or anything
Color Palette: Vibrant colors such as ‘rosa mexicano’, canary yellow, royal blue, shades of green
Flowers: Paper flowers in multiple colors, bright flowers of any kind in colors such as pink, red, yellow, and orange
Don’t forget: A good musical playlist that includes mariachi songs, trios such as Los Panchos
Step it up: Have mezcal cocktails (carajillo recipe here) as opposed to offering tequila margaritas and cafe de olla instead of regular Americano. If you are offering anything that has a tortilla for food, spend the time finding real handmade tortillas in a Mexican market.
Spend Your Money On: Get some real mexican artesanias for decor .. if you are not close to the border then find some on etsy or some other place (preferably that benefits Mexican artists as opposed to big tag commercial items from the US or China). Table runners and place mats will really pop up.
Dessert: Mexican Pan Dulce, mexican candy, churros con cajeta
…And that is what you go to Italy for. To enjoy good food, wine, bellinis, postal perfect views, and guilty pleasures.
As I walked through the narrow alleys of Venice last spring, I kept bumping into the indulgent, over-the-top, in-your-face fabulousness of the Dolce & Gabbana window displays. I don’t know if it was that or the effect of my Aperol Spritz but I knew right then and there that I wanted to host a party that celebrated life just like their gorgeous printed, ridiculously expensive midi dresses did.
Inspired by a mix of Italian indulgences, and a celebration of life, I hosted a small party with the theme La Dolce Vita back home to celebrate my last twenties birthday. Here is some of the inspiration behind the event as well as some behind the scenes pointers.
BEHIND THE INSPIRATION:
HOST YOUR DOLCE VITA PARTY:
> Basics: Once you figure out the number of guests, add 15% to that number and work out logistics. I rented basic natural resin chairs from a local business, as well as accompanying rectangular tables and white tablecloths. I’d say stay away from using cheap folding chairs if budget allows, resin chairs are quite cheap too and they make the event look more put together. If you get the tablecloths and tables from the same place they might give you a bundle discount. Make sure you also have/rent a table where you will put your food and desserts.
> Invitations : Whether you go for an electronic invite (Facebook event, E-vite, e-mail, etc) or have enough time to craft a beautiful invitation, you want to clearly define your theme. Include visual pointers, such as lemons (which are all the rage now), in a formal invite or go for simply adding a few theme pictures (see above) so guests know what to expect and can dress properly. ALWAYS let them know the setting of the event : garden (think NO stilettos), indoor/outdoor, and obviously time.
> Food: A good thing about hosting italian themed parties is that food is relatively easy and most people like it.
Appetizers> I went for a traditional cheese table but added a couple of touches for the theme. Find rustic elements you can use to hold the snacks, such as wooden boxes, baskets, wooden planks and trays or snack plates. Here is a list of my appetizer table:
Cheese variety: I recommend Trader Joes since they have good cheeses at great prices. I went for a blueberry goat cheese (a hit!), brie, and fontina.
Peach bellini jam (from Trader Joe’s) but you can go with honey or any other fruity complementary food.
Sliced bread loaf (buy same day for freshness) with accompanying olive oil and balsamic vinegar
Decor elements: Sunflowers, lemons, basil plants, giant artichokes; either sprinkled around to fill white space, in a clear cylinder vase with water (loved how this came out), rustic/Italian ceramic vases, wood baskets (all from various sources)
Don’t forget snack sized plates and napkins placed nearby
Dinner> I offered 3 varieties of spaghetti (green pepper, alfredo, and traditional) along with 7 pizzas, 4 of them cheese-only and 3 of them with meat from my favorite local pizza place.
Dessert> My favorite! A lemon bundt tower from Nothing Bundt Cakes. Everyone had some so not only was the lemon flavor very aligned with the theme, it was also easy on everyone’s palate. NBC will add a flower on top for $10 (expensive, but you can save it for future events) and they had the perfect sunflower to go with it. Coffee was also served but it was improv, since I did not expect guests to be in the mood for coffee, which they were to go along with their dessert.
Drinks> We overestimated the amount of alcohol and drinks guests would have. For a total of about 25, we had about 6 bellinis bottles, 2 wine bottles, a gallon of a homemade lavender gin cocktail, lemon flavored sparkling water, and lots of water bottles. A month later, I still have a lot of drinks left because guests gifted me wine bottles and champagne. Keep this in mind.. although extra bottles are never a problem! I’d recommend you offer at least one Italian traditional such as bellini or limoncello (recipes bellow).
> Mood: Setting the mood was important for the theme. After all, it is all about pleasure, and feeling that you are ‘indulging in the sweet life’. I pretty much curated a Pandora station for a week, skipping through songs I didn’t want and liking those I wanted for sure. I wanted a good balance of traditional but happy Italian music, and today’s hits in both English and Spanish. I believe the station was Italian Traditional/ Despacito/ Today’s Hits. I ended up enjoying it quite a lot.
Italian Dolce Vita music must-haves:
That’s Amore- The Rat Pack
Volare- Dean Martin
L’Americano- The Gypsy Queens
Bella Notte- Lou Monte
Angelina- Harry Belafonte
Papa Loves Mambo- Perry Como
Buona Sera- Louis Prima
Mambo Italiano- Enoch Light
My event started at 4pm, so we had plenty of daylight. When it started getting darker, I made sure I had string lights here and there, an actual light (it was actually a construction light that works pretty well at night in the outdoors), and lots of candles (go to Dollar Tree or Walmart for the tea candles and candle holders).
> Decor: My big thing was and always will be having a lot of flowers. Parties for me are great excuses to buy a bunch of beautiful florals and have fun putting them together, which I wish I could do everyday. I had to do my research if I wanted to keep it within budget, as well as plan ahead so that the flowers were all perky the day of the event.
Flowers: Sunflowers (about 40) and mixed greens from Trader Joes. Greens are the cheapest, and they fill out a lot of space, mostly eucalyptus. I purchased a few hydrangeas, ornamental cabbage, and baby’s breath all from a wholesale flowers place in San Diego (note: you actually need to be a member of the place to get the good prices, but their variety was tough to beat). Beyond the plants I got a bunch of accessories including floral foam cages to create an arch, flower food, flower hydrator, and floral wire. All flowers were purchased the night before, cut, hydrated, and ready to go in the morning. This was the most time consuming piece. Putting together the arch took some time since the super cheap frame could not hold too much weight. I used floral cages to keep flowers moisturized and perky but would probably steer away from that next time and just get to it the day of the event so they look good.
Picture spot: With Instagram, you want to ensure there is a focal point for people to take pictures that represents your them well and is out of the way of guests. Besides a floral arch, I took my vintage-looking bicycle, put some hydrangeas in its basket, added a floppy hat and voila! It was an unexpected, cute focus point.
Bar cart:My drinks were all in a bar cart area, with champagne glasses, cocktail napkins, straws, and ice filled with edible flowers (note: not ALL flowers are edible, you need to buy actual edible flowers!)
Table tops: I had 3 tables, all decorated differently. I used a mix of candle holders, flowers, empty bottles, etc. to create the center pieces. I threw lemons here and there in the tables as well. For my paper plates, I actually had them printed with a design that mimicked a Sicilian ceramic plate.
> #OOTD: My mind was all in Dolce and Gabbana without the price tag. I kept thinking Monica Bellucci, italian feminine women, and found a great pair of enormous golden cross earrings on eBay and a great black eyelet ruffled dress, paired with platforms and a messy bun (tutorial here). I did not tell guests to wear anything in particular, but let them know it is outdoors and in a garden setting, recommending day dresses for girls.
Things to think about:
Keeping bugs away
Weather cooling at night
I would have liked to include adult games (like Cards Against Humanity), but never got to it
If you are planning an event soon, I assure you will have fun with this theme that goes with pretty much any event! Some more pictures (not mine) for inspiration:
When I started decorating my home, one of the first things I purchased was a bar cart. While I am not an avid drinker and don’t host a lot of parties at my home, I felt that the bar cart gave my living room a glamorous touch and that it provided for a lot of possibilities when it came to use and decorating. I even ended up purchasing one for my terrace too, and it always gathers compliments.
If you feel uncertain about whether or not a bar cart will fit your home decor, behold my dear readers. You will most likely find one in this inspiration post that will fit your needs and that you can use for multiple purposes. Even if you do not drink at all and have barely any barware at home, bar carts can be used for party decor, or just as a side table. There are bar carts available at all price ranges, and because this is a retro trend you may even find beautiful vintage ones out there.
Let’s immerse into the bar cart world. Even if you are not design-oriented, you’ll see how easy it is to just style your bar cart to reflect your space needs and your style. It is a great way to show off your personality through decor, and display your favorite drinks, books, barware, or things.
Indoor Bar Carts for Decor
Rachel Parcell’s Office Bar Cart
Bliss at Home
Style Me Pretty
Bar Carts for Entertaining & Events
Hey Wedding Lady
Style Me Pretty
Style Me Pretty
Inspired By This
My Design Chic
Temple & Webster Blog
Style Me Pretty The Vault
Brit + Co
Vintage Flair & ‘His’ Carts
Style Me Pretty The Vault
Outdoor & Miscellaneous
Style Me Pretty
Style Me Pretty The Vault
I know, I know, I got too excited towards the last pictures that I even added gelato carts to a post intended to be about bar carts. But I think the ‘concept’ of the cart is a beautiful trend for decor and events alike. It will make a difference when you have friends over to offer a drink station rather than just have bottles across your table top.
Some tips to ‘fill out’ the space in your bar cart:
Buy something natural, a.k.a. plants, flowers, cacti gardens, lemons, dried plants, wood sticks, you name it…
Use the bar cart to display your favorite barware, such as those gorgeous wine glasses that you have stored in your kitchen cabinets
You can put it pretty much anywhere, and use if for multiple things. I love the idea of the bar cart for the home office, with some refreshers, snacks, and maybe some motivational books that you enjoy or have inspiring covers
Small bottles of anything look adorable (Pellegrino, champagne, wine, etc), nowadays you find those anywhere, including Vons, World Market, and Bevmo
Have fun with it and reflect your style, as you can see in the galleries above there are no bar cart styling rules
Make everything around you beautiful
Enjoy some bar cart recommendations below; scroll to the bottom for shopping links:
Situation: You and your friends are so busy with work, family, projects, and their significant others and it now seems like forever since you have reunited for a good conversation.
Solution: No need to wait for birthdays and special occasions to get together, invite your closest friends and have them bring their favorite wine bottle for Wine Wednesday (or Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday… who cares?)
How to get started: Yes, you can do a last minute trip to the market and buy some pre-packaged crackers and cheddar in a box, grapes, and wine… OR you can keep scrolling and reading for inspiration on how to host an unexpectedly decadent get-together for wine o’clock.
What to buy (or ask your friends to contribute to the cause):
3 bottles of wine for every 4 people
2 oz of cheese per guest (see pairings below)
1 cheese knife per cheese (tip to impress: invest in gold or copper flatware, marble or wood cheese boards like the ones at the end of the post)
Artisan bread or crackers
Dried fruit or slices of fresh berries
Walnuts or almonds
Fig jam or honey/maple
Extra: brownie bites and tea for the non-wine drinkers and designated drivers, cheese fondue if you want to get fancy
Flowers from your local supermarket- you can find cheap yet astonishing looking flowers in plum, lavender, blush, white, green, and pink tones that will look beautiful and will pair well with the theme.
2. Create the mood
Put the snacks in a nice cheese board (no packaging, please!), buy some plum/lilac/olive green flowers or succulents at the local market (I check Trader Joes and Vons first), light a couple aromatic candles, and you are already half-way there. Wine night should not get expensive (unless you feel like this is a good opportunity to invest in some much-needed barware).
B&P TIP: Other cheap and beautiful decor ideas include buying a bunch of cheap vases or empty bottles and put one flower in each. I have also seen melted candles adorning old empty bottles and it looks very romantic. If you are DIYer then definitely use your skills for this.
A very cute tip is to buy a chalkboard table runner or mats and have some chalk around in the table- the more your friends drink the better their doodles will get!
Bar carts are also a great addition to your home decor either way, so might be a good time to go to Target and buy yourself a well-deserved personal bar. Even if you are not a drinker you will find it handy every time you host a night with friends.
If you are struggling setting things up take a look at the gallery below with some really beautiful yet simple and easy set ups that your friends will be Instagramming all-night!
This blog started with the idea to provide inspiration for pretty things based on themes. While a color is not technically a ‘theme’, I have found that I am very in love with beautiful shades of blue applied to event and party decorations. In case you have not heard, Serenity Blue is actually one of the two Pantene colors of the year for 2016, hence why we see it somewhat trending. However, I love that it does not feel like overkill and it looks very elegant and original if applied well. It is a color that fits all kinds of occasions and evokes peacefulness, clarity, relaxation, serenity, and calm.
Next time you plan a daytime event such as a baby shower, engagement party, birthday, or a gathering with your girlfriends think about the special touch that this color can bring to the event. I am making it easy for you to select the main planning items so you don’t have to go dig them out yourself in a sea of Pinterest images.
Invites and other gracious notes to your guests:
2. Flowers :
3. Setting the scene:
4. Let them eat cake (or other dessert):
5. Bar Ideas:
6. In case you are not already dying to come up with a reason to host a party if just for the beauty of the pictures above:
By now I hope you are as in love as I am with this color and how gorgeous and understated it looks in event decor. Shades of dusty blue, slate, french and serenity blue are my favorites, but I am also a sucker for royal blue patterned ceramics with pink or peach flowers to complement.
Thank you for reading!
“Be daring, be different, be impractical; be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers” – Cecil Beaton
What? An elegant soiree inspired by the roaring 20s
When? Best suited for evening events
Why? Because you know how to party like Gatsby to celebrate your birthday (maybe a milestone, like 30, 40, 50…), New Year’s Eve, the annual family gathering, or if you really want everyone to remember your wedding
How? Well, well… keep reading for inspiration!
For a ‘Great Gatsby’ themed party you want to think in three colors: gold, black, and a touch of white. Think lavish, big, over the top ‘art deco’ style and lots of glitter and glamour. Your guests must be fully ‘in’ and be willing to dress up for the party in their best 1920s gear.
Here are 6 tips for a Great Gatsby event:
Think white flowers, tassels, feathers, and balloons. Long stem white flowers will look great in center pieces and gold vases at the desert or catering table. They will make your decor feel less structured which is likely with an art deco theme. Throw feathers here are there in vases, scattered on the tables, or get long ones for a big impact inside a large gold vase. Balloons always impress! Get a lot of them for this theme – even for weddings. You can do white, champagne, or even marble ones.
2. Champagne… I love the idea of mini Moet-like champagne bottles and why not even add personal tags to each along with a golden straw? But if your party is large this can be a very expensive option, so you can opt for regular size Champagne in golden trays with champagne flutes. The champagne cascade is also a beautiful piece of decor as long as you don’t have too many kids running around and the space is large enough.
3. Get a black and white or gold sequin tablecloth for your tables.
4. Music – Get a good playlist with 1920s music mixed withe contemporary music that feels old (think Lana del Rey, Great Gatsby movie soundtrack)
5. Golden flatware is a must- if you want to use carton or plastic for your plates make sure you provide a cool set of flatware for your guests.
6. Invest in coasters! Why not providing a marble-like or stone-like coaster for your guests? For a wedding it would be a nice gift for your guests.
Because it’s always tea time…here is some tea party planning 101
Planning a birthday, bridal/baby shower, fancy brunch, etc. with a tea party theme? If you are like me, you probably enjoy spending countless hours looking for Pinterest ideas, décor items, and creating checklists to make your event a success. But if you are not, which is why this site exists, then you need a little help just getting started so you don’t go cray-cray over the whole thing and just end up winging it at Party City. For you, my busy unorganized friends, here is a checklist that will get you started on the right foot and make it seem like party planning is your ‘cup of tea’.
Or you can go directly to our shop to see what is available for this theme.
Determine your party size
While I believe that tea parties are a better fit for smaller parties (less than 25), if you have the budget and the willingness to do it a bigger event you can do it for as many as you want. Just keep in mind that tea parties are all about details, so you will have to spend a lot of more time looking for decorations and putting the tabletop décor together for multiple tables. Either way, keep in mind how many people you need to sit.
Decide what kind of tea party you are hosting
Did you have in mind a whimsical, wonderland theme? Or more like a girly vintage afternoon tea? What about a British Afternoon Tea Soiree? Grab your tools (Google, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, etc) and find 5 pictures that show what you envision for a tea party. Try to stick to that theme so it flows. Your bff might have a different concept, so be clear if you are planning as a group.
The party palette
This is my favorite part (hence the name of this site). Pick two colors that go well together, add a neutral/metallic tone or two, and some texture. There are lots of original and great palettes that you can choose from. For example, pastel green and blue and silver and some rustic touches, or blush, gold (patina), and natural textures that take it outdoors. This doesn’t mean you have to stick to those colors for everything but it will make it easier to pick things that seem mundane such as plates, napkins, and balloons.
Flowers make everything prettier. If you can afford to buy lots of flowers, regardless of what kind, they will pull your event together and make it look magnificent. You can mix it up with some fake flowers here and there. You will need vases of different kinds and can even use mason jars or transparent tea cups.
Get a couple of framed chalkboards- they will make your event look really cool and you can use them for multiple things- include the event’s hashtag, write down the menu, welcome your guests, or simply write witty phrases.
Or drinks table… either works. Focus on this one, make sure you have a really cool tablecloth (sequins, chiffon) and you have cool recipients to accommodate food or drinks.
Get bird cages, candle lamps, mix-and-match cups and tea pots, old-looking books, engraved silverware, etc. This seems very ‘basic’ but it will fill up the space in your tables. Get confetti balloons, garlands, and partyware that goes with your color palette. Tea parties are meant to be fancy, so expect to invest a bit. Check out some of the Blush and Patina Shop items at the end of this post.
There are lots of pretty recyclable tableware available, so go floral and dont ignore the little details. You need tea cups and champagne flutes.
9. Keep it real
Don’t forget that you need actual tea! You can have a tray with different tea bags for each table (if round) or a few trays spread around your long table for guests and a hot tea pot in the center. If you have never attended an actual tea ceremony, maybe it is a good time to attend one before your event so you know the etiquette. Your guests will be pleasantly surprised if you have actual tea ceremony trays with scones, sandwiches, and sweets.