Friday, April 1, 2011

Pretty Little Party

Over the weekend, the world learned that Reese Witherspoon has found love again and had a magnificent and private wedding on her estate in Ojai... and the description of that wedding sounded identical to the most perfect wedding I have dreamt of my whole life. Now don't get me wrong, my own wedding was fabulous and amazing, but I married Italian Catholic so we did the whole big, Italian wedding thing. But I have always loved the thought of a woodsy, eclectic, earthy wedding (maybe hubs and I can renew our vows one day and...). I wanted nature and style to mesh into one huge dream of an evening. A blog about design doesn't mean limiting oneself to indoors only so this post is dedicated to my vision of one heck of a throwdown... outdoors. Note: although I have wedding on my mind throughout my words, these ideas are just as beautiful for a get together or party at your home. No nuptials required.

First off, when throwing a party, you have got to make sure there is enough sitting for your guests. I love a Brothers and Sisters style banquet table full of all the people you love. And I love me some mismatched chairs. My ideal outdoor, rustic event would incorporate natural elements like burlap or linen, as well as some items that you wouldn't usually find outdoors, such as chandeliers and indoor furniture. Here are some pictures of soiree visions that just pull at my heart and complete my perfect party.

This depicts the Italian side of my family... lots of vino, my father-in-law's superb cooking, and Meme's homemade meatballs. The terra cotta patterns in the dinnerware and mason jar beverage glasses add that home-y touch to a traditional dinner, but amongst the pines.

Adore. The lemon trees in the backdrop, the pop of red in the floral arrangement and that cute chair. How many times have we seen these country-style chairs and thought, ugh. Paint it red and pair it with precious things, and it has found love. I also heart the metal industrial chairs. They add just enough structured masculinity to a very chic and girly table arrangement.

I don't think I have had a tea party since it included my neighborhood friends, the cat and my American Girl Doll. But why not? Due to the floral prints, delicate china and vintage accents (how presh is that vintage suitcase in the middle of the table?!)... my southern drawl has gotten thick(er) already! Hand me a petticoat, a fan, and sit me down at this table, darlin'! 

Pretty in Pink! So cute. Girly, feminine birthday... Mother's Day... Bridesmaids' Luncheon, or just a brunch with girlfriends! This could be done for any occasion cause remember: It's your party... for whatever reason you want to.

Ok, here I revert back to that fantasy wedding again... but I almost cried when I saw this picture. Absolutely gorgeous. All the different chairs, the benches... outside... a little bit of an erratic arrangement, my heart has left me and now lives within this place. Just amazing. Even without guests, you can feel the personal touch, and so much love. 

Ok, so besides the seating for the dinner table, a fabulous outdoor event also needs seating areas that revolve around conversation more so than food. What could be better than these planted under a canopy of giant oak trees?

 This is a lot more country and a lot less modern than I would personally go, but I could definitely see my sis here. It has an Anthropologie feel to it.

This is along the lines of the image in my head. Although, its a little "done up" and plastic for my taste. Take the seating out of the tent and into the trees, please!

For lighting, lanterns are always a favorite and very popular again this spring and summer.

But even all the lanterns in the world won't bring the dramatic flair that this baby will bring. Dripping in crystals, tinkling in the breeze, such a modern twist. And breathtaking at that.

For ambiance lighting, mercury tea lights will bring the mirrored sparkle to the table that is reflected in the chandeliers above your heads...
These shinies are from West Elm.

Here's a creative way to add light, and table numbers, to a table.
Burlap covered candleholders with numbers stenciled in black. I can so do this...

For flowers, I choose my all time favorite blooms: the peony and the hydrangea. There are many different varieties, colors and bloom sizes. Use 'em all!

A great and fresh way to arrange your flowers is to put them in vases and jars of different colors and sizes. It also ties whimsy into the more serious look of the chandeliers.

Add more sparkle and glamour to your table or sitting area with mirrored or mercury vases full of busting beauties.

Since it is a earth-infused theme, another great idea is the use of twine or burlap- wrap it around your vases, use burlap as chair ties or a table runner.

For table linens, a collection of mismatched linens handed down through the family add a personal and antiqued touch to the table. Or, you could buy new ones, and pretend they are heirlooms... You can find some pretty good lookin renditions at Anthropolgie.

Another option would be to use not-so-fancy-borderline-boring linens, and make them too sexy for your lap with a beautiful scroll monogram.

And why are we needing a napkin? Oh yea, because we have grub... on plates! Check out this fabulously chic Cynthia Vardhan dishes. So unique, textured, and pretty.

If you would like to do an all white/crystal tablescape, these Vietri options are to die for. Literally. They are gorgeous in these pics, but in real life, they look like fantasy dishes- too good to be real. No one is just like another, and they are not perfectly shaped. Notice the uneven edge of the round plates. I love that.

I stumbled upon these one-of-a-kind dishes by Lucinda Chips, on  where else? Etsy (duh). 

AND I love the idea of incorporating some animals. This could get out of hand, but how about some old world birdcages?! Real birds might be a little ridic for a small party, but there are tons of options here. Hang the birdcages in the trees, place them on the tables... put ceramic birds in them, or candles. You can also make birdnests out of foam, some aerosol glue and decorators' moss. Place the nests inside the birdcages, or scatter them around the decor as well (we used a birdnest as my ring bearer pillow in our wedding). 

Love these candles with bird imprints. You want birds? You want light? Best of both worlds.

At the end of the evening, send your guests home with an earthy treat as a thank you for their friendship and company. What's a more rustic way than with burlap bags full of somthing right from the ground? You could use any fruit or vegetable. Mine would be strawberries- hubs and I are addicted. Below is a picture of a party that used pumpkins in their theme. This would also be cute with Pumpkin Pie as the desert of choice at dinner (but no, I won't be supplying any recipes. I'm NO cook).

Or... coffee beans. I used to scoop up handfuls at the grocery store with my mom, and put them in my pockets so I could take them home to smell. Now looking back, I guess that would have been stealing... and why didn't I think we had coffee beans at home? whatev.
Anyways, this is too cute. The bags say "Love is Brewing." You could also put "Memories Are Brewing" or "Friendships Are Brewing" for a house party.

And for my last tidbit, I just had to add this pic of a bride and groom (ken and barbie, what?). They look so put together. He is strapping in that suit, and she looks just breathtaking in this gorgeous frock. Um...hubs? Can we dress like this for something? Please?! They look like they literally just stepped out of The Notebook and are walking up the path to my perfect wedding, ahem, party. And carrying lanterns?
Come on! 

So! Can you picture it all together? You want an invite, don't you?!