Speakeasy Engagement Party

Geoffrey, a dapper father of two amazing kids, and Katherine, a brilliant and beautiful triathlete, found each other at just the right time in their lives, and I’ve loved watching their romance grow. G popped the question in the fall, setting their wedding-planning year into motion.

I was honored when Katherine asked me to be in her bridal party and was eager to start planning the first celebration alongside her local bridesmaids, Brandi, Brittany and Mandy. We enjoyed brainstorming, crafting and creating an engagement party for the adorable couple, and I was excited to host the evening at our place. We decided on a speakeasy theme with mood lighting, gilded boozy-bottle décor and 20s attire.

Our unique version of this Wedding Paper Divas invite helped set the theme into motion for a roaring engagement party. Guests RSVPed to our party-specific gmail address and google phone number (Great idea, Mandy!), where they could receive the speakeasy password, “manatee.” The password was selected for no reason other than the bride-to-be’s irrational fear of the gentle sea cow.

Liquid Leaf-painted jars and clear mason jars were sprinkled around the party and illuminated with a mixture of real and battery-operated tea light candles.

Beer and wine bottles from the hostesses’ homes, plus some collected from a local watering hole, were spray painted in silver and gold and placed in clusters with candles. Getting the labels off the bottles required a long soak in a soapy cooler + a Brillo pad.

Brittany’s pretty damask ribbon added a nice touch around a grouping of bottles and to a gorgeous feather arrangement (which I neglected to capture).

Guests could take their pick of flapper flair. We created complimentary hair do-dads using assorted feathers and hair clips from the craft store. A basket filled with 20s-era props was also nearby for those looking to ham it up. Chalkboard clips made easy labels and complimented the speakeasy theme. We relocated our kitchen chalkboard to the fireplace and added the couple’s names using chalk pens, mimicking the invitation font.

At the bar, a 20s drink was in order, so we did a little research and selected “the Bee’s Knees,” a gin-based drink. I’d say it was definitely more gin-based than juice-based. Lemons and fresh local honey made it a sweet signature beverage in addition to beer and wine options. The Pandora station played Jazz Age tunes until we got a little crazy with the iPods later in the evening.

At the appetizer table, we included a few of the bride’s favorites, such as bruschetta and of course the Junior League Feta Black Bean dip. The delicious strawberry cupcakes were homemade by bridesmaid Brittany – her striped cupcake liners and turquoise dessert stands were a pretty addition to the color palette.

On the patio, an overturned Jack Daniels half barrel (Home Depot) with a glass top (Bed, Bath & Beyond) created a rustic, speakeasy place to rest a beverage. The little chalkboard buckets were a Target dollar-bin find, and they looked super cute with the couple’s initials. Thankfully, the yard was in bloom, so bunches of camellias in buckets helped dress up the patio.

Guests kicked it up celebrating Katherine & Geoffrey. And most importantly, K & G looked like they had a blast. Happy engagement, you two! We look forward to your big day and every celebration along the way! We love you!




Holiday Wrap Stars 2012

Creative wrapping makes gifts even more special. These holiday gift wrap tips are kind to your wallet and keep things simple enough to let you enjoy all of those Christmas movies in the background.

Dish Towel Wrap

I learned this wrapping technique from my friend Randi after she gave us a bottle of wine wrapped in a lovely and practical kitchen towel. It’s a great way to jazz up that fun bottle of beer for the cousins or your next holiday hostess gift.

  1. Fold towel almost halfway
  2. Insert wine/large beer bottle into the fold
  3. Flop the towel over, and begin to roll it like a burrito
  4. Continue the burrito rolling…
  5. Once you get to the end, fasten it (sneakily) with a safety pin

Add a fun ribbon at the top to finish it off, and give it to someone you like!

Basket Case

Baskets make a great presentation and can be part of the gift itself! I like bread baskets like the one below (World Market) – a great item to have around the house, plus it was perfect for the assortment of items I had in mind. When arranging, place taller or larger items first, then fill in the gaps, working to make sure everything is displayed. Straw makes a pretty, natural alternative to traditional shredded paper filler.

Quick-trim Ribbon

You’ll look like a pro with this quick ribbon technique. Using a wider ribbon (1 inch or more) and a sharp pair of scissors:

  1. Create a few loops, enough to create the number of “fluffs” you want – in this case, three on each side of ribbon
  2. Fold your loops in half
  3. At the fold, snip off each corner
  4. Unfold ribbon
  5. Attach to gift by tying a knot around the center of unfolded ribbon
  6. Arrange to desired shape, and trim ends into a sharp V

Postal Paper + Neon

Why not? First of all, look how much postal paper you get on one roll (Office Depot). Second, the khaki color looks great with a flash of neon ribbon and/or paint. Play around with colors and designs, customizing gifts with your paint brush!

Have fun, Christmas elves!




Oh My Goodness Garnish: Pom-pom Stirrers

I love garnish. From mini mermaids to mammoth olive skewers, it’s fun to dress up your drink! These little pom-pom stirrers are easy to make at home, and they are fun for almost any occasion.

Grab a glass of wine, get settled with your favorite cocktail-themed movie, and start preparing these festive little fluffies for your next gathering. All you’ll need: sparkly 1-inch pom-poms in you color(s) of choice, wood craft sticks and a hot glue gun.