Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Eco-Friendly Green Party

Outdoor “Green” Dinner Party
Featured in At Home TN magazine's July Edition

(Excerpt from the July article)
All images courtesy of Summer Harris Hancock

This month I had the pleasure of hosting several friends for an evening on our patio.
The weather was absolutely wonderful, and that’s no small feat here in Nashville in June! I wanted to throw a party on my patio and eat out under the summer sky, eventually getting to watch the fireflies and stars, after the sun set.
I wanted to make this party as “green-friendly” as possible, and encourage At Home TN readers to entertain this way as well! Some simple steps are all that’s needed to turn your next party into an eco-friendly one.
For the décor for this party, I knew I wanted to keep it minimal for it to be green friendly. I gathered roses from my friend Julie’s yard, and used an assortment of bud vases I have and scattered those around my tables. Julie’s roses come in a variety of colors, so I grouped the roses in similar shades and used those in clusters on the tables. If you aren’t lucky enough to have a friend with a fabulous garden, no fear! You can easily go to your local farmer’s market and pick up a bouquet of fresh flowers to use for your party. Try to stay local to keep the party green.
I also wanted to have a ton of candlelight. Candles help add visual depth to a party and at nighttime, they really help create an amazing ambience. I have an assortment of glass cylindrical vases that I use for events and weddings. Over the years, I have amassed a collection that I house in my basement. I have short vases, tall and deep vases, square vases, glass bowls, and the list could go on and on. Whenever I have a party, I go through what I have on hand and develop my décor around those items. For this party, I used 2 extra large vases and floated a trio of candles in each of these. They lined the entrance to my back patio. In addition, across my stonewall, I placed several large cylindrical vases with large white pillar candles in them. In between these candles, I added a ton of small votives with tea lights. On the tables, I added small cylindrical vases with floating candles, along with small votives. 
I also placed tiki torches around the perimeter of my patio, which not only added some amazing glow but also helped detract the mosquitoes. Anytime you entertain outdoors in the spring or summer make sure to have your yard sprayed for bugs and utilize tiki torches that have been filled with a citronella-based oil. The last thing you want is for your guests to be bothered by mosquitoes and bugs all night! You want them to enjoy the party and focus on the food (not swatting bugs).

Once the candles and flowers were on the table, I added the linens and place settings. I used white ceramic plates for the table, along with chocolate brown and tan linen napkins. In addition, at each place setting, I had a menu card with the evening’s meal on it.

For dinner, I served:
Warm goat cheese and apple salad with Dijon vinaigrette
Wine and garlic marinated Pork Tenderloin
Josh's signature potato and onions
Yeast Rolls
(For complete recipes, check out At Home TN magazine)

For dessert, I love mini-anything!  I made homemade miniature peach pies, cherry pies and summertime strawberry pies.  I also used wooden forks which I embellished with the words "PIE" and "YUM" on them.  I also embellished wooden spoons with the words "SWEET" on them for the Purity Dairy mini ice-cream cups.  (To find out DIY instructions, check out the July edition of At Home TN magazine).

Here are some pictures of my dessert table:

For a fun summertime drink, I served Martha Stewart's Rum Punch.  I also used green and white striped straws and made drink flags that said "Drink Me."   The rum punch was huge party hit!

Tips to throw a green party:
  1. Use seed-packets as place settings. They make a cute addition to your table, and guests will have a fun favor to take home.
  2. Ask your guests to take home the floral centerpieces and enjoy them in their own house.
  3. Use organic fruits and vegetables from local Farmer’s markets
  4. To create a visual impact but not have a huge environmental impact, use candles, paper lanterns, tiki torches and natural light
  5. Include seasonal foods in the menu to highlight locally-grown products
  6. Buy organic meat from a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Here in Nashville, there are multiple CSAs from which to choose. To find one in your area, go
  7. Utilize items you already have for the décor-for example, I used vases from other events, or you can borrow from friends and keep the décor to a minimum.
  8. Utilize natural elements in your décor, such as burlap, wood, candlelight, etc.
  9. Use floral clippings from your friends and neighbors. With a little research, you may find out that your good friend has some amazing hydrangea bushes that need clipping or another friend might have a fabulous rose garden she’s willing to share.
Happy Green Entertaining!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Black and Yellow Themed-Girl's Night

As you've seen on my blog before, black and sunshine yellow are great color combinations for weddings and parties. Recently, I was hired by a client to handle the tablescape/centerpieces for her monthly women's group meeting. She wanted something fun and sassy, and she told me that the group's signature flower is the yellow rose.

I thought it would be fun to incorporate black and white zebra print into the centerpieces, and utilize lots of bright, cheery flowers.

I "blinged" out plain Caspari black crepe placemats with yellow and zebra print ribbon. These were placed at each table the night of the event.

I also utilized black boxes for the arrangements, and wrote fun sayings and quotations on each box on little white tags. I also incorporated zebra print ribbon and yellow ribbon on the black boxes.

Here are pictures I took at the store the day of the event before she picked everything up.

Here's the sweet note my client sent me the day after the girl's gathering:
"It was beautiful and fun, fun, fun. I am the now an act hard to follow. Thanks to you."
I love getting notes like this after an event! It's why I love my job so much.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Faith Hill Friday!

It's finally Friday! Today is Day 5 of CMT Awards Inspired Wedding Boards. I have had a blast putting together inspiration boards from the fabulous frocks some of our beloved country singers wore at the CMT awards a few weeks ago here in Nashville, Tennessee. Whether you're getting married here in Music City USA or across the country, I hope you've enjoyed this week of fashion-inspired wedding color schemes.

Today's wedding board was inspired by the always gorgeous, ever-so-talented Faith Hill.

FHill Wedding
Ways to incorporate pink and gray into your wedding:

  • Check out the intricate design work on this wedding cake that was featured in Martha Stewart! Jay from Maple's Cakes in Murfreesboro, Tennessee was one of seven bakers featured in this edition of Martha Stewart Weddings magazine.
  • Use a combination of "cameo" pink and steel gray in your tablescape and place settings.
  • Ask your florist to use various shades of soft pink in your bridal bouquet
  • Be bold and wear a cute short wedding dress with simple pink flowers and pink heels.
  • Incorporate pink and gray into your invitations. This one by Wiley Valentine rocks!
Happy Friday and have a great weekend.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Julianne Hough's Sunshine Yellow Wedding Board

Yellow is such a bright and cheery color, and it's perfect for a spring or summer wedding.
Julianne Hough shined in this bright yellow frock on the CMT Awards blue carpet a few weeks ago.

So, how can you incorporate yellow into your wedding?
JHough Wedding
  • Wear some sunshine yellow peep toe shoes under your wedding gown! Make sure your photographer gets a great picture of your shoes.
  • Utilize all shades of yellow in your bridal bouquet
  • Instead of a white wedding cake, have your bakery incorporate fun designs using shades of yellow
  • Use yellow and green in combination. A fun, inexpensive centerpiece utilizes fresh citrus fruits, including lemons and limes
  • Find a vintage chair swathed in your favorite shade of yellow and have your photographer utilize it as a backdrop in your wedding photos.
  • Kate Spade has a darling Yellow Poppy wedding invitation that would complement your color scheme
  • Serve a signature cocktail using lemonade and garnish with limes
  • Have your bridesmaids wear sunshine yellow for their dresses

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Lady Antebellum Inspired Wedding

Day 3 of CMT Awards Inspired Weddings features Hillary from Lady Antebellum. I have to say that Hillary is a stunning girl and has a voice to match.  I thought she looked amazing on the blue carpet and her dress really rocked!
Based on her black dress, I designed a black and yellow wedding.  That color combination is becoming more and more popular for both parties and weddings.

Lady A Wedding

Ways to Incorporate Black and Yellow into your wedding:

  • Have your cake designer use a rich buttercream in various shades of yellow to give it that wonderful hue
  • Using Amy Atlas as your inspiration, design a dessert bar for your reception in black and yellow
  • Use a beautiful black and white damask linen for your reception tables and incorporate yellow into your floral centerpieces.
  • Here is Martha Stewart's advice on creating vivid yellow mixes for your bouquet:
    • "Glorious with bright blooms, this bride's bouquet has a hint of fluttery movement. The splendid combination of miniature daffodils, crocus, and oncidium orchids feels as cheerful as a summer day. A collection of miniature roses is laced with primula to form an arrangement for a bridesmaid. Golden ribbons complete the sunny ensembles."
  • Use a beautiful marigold sash to accent your wedding dress.  A simple touch such as this can go a long way in tying together your wedding!
  • Find a fun save-the-date in your wedding's signature colors, such as this one by Crane and Company