This past weekend Kyle and I hosted an engagement party for his sister, Megan, and her fiance, TJ. We chose a 1920s theme in a black, white, silver, and gold scheme. Below I've posted the party details, from the invites to the menu to the DIY decorations.
I set up several tables and chairs outside on the deck and in the yard. I bought black plastic tablecloths from the dollar store along with a ton of white and ivory taper candles. Four 8" candles for a buck isn't a bad deal. I decorated these tables with things I already owned. I put away any decor in the house that wasn't in the color scheme of black, white, silver, or gold. I also re-used ribbon from other events and borrowed chairs from family members.
We served drinks in an old washtub that I borrowed from my mom. I put all drinks into wine bottles with cork stoppers that I bought for $2 at World Market. We had a selection of cocktails, sparkling wines, Shirley Temples, water, PBR, and iced tea. I set out short plastic cups and sharpies so people could write their name or design their cup and hold onto it. The short glasses are a good plan if you have stronger drinks.
In the yard, we set up tables and chairs for mingling along with corn hole which can anywhere from 2-8 people can play at a time. We also set up a high top table in the yard for people to set their drinks and appetizers while they played. We have woods behind us, so bugs are a problem. We sprayed the yard twice and put out citronella tiki torches and candles.
We set up a photo booth and bought a ton of props from the dollar store: party hats, masks, wands, glasses, pistols, etc. We just bought the Polaroid Z340 which is a digital camera that allows you to edit right on the camera and offers you the option of which pictures you want to print on-the-spot. We bought Megan and TJ a blank scrapbook as their gift and had people take pictures, paste them into the book, and write little notes alongside the photos.
This is my giant magnet board that Kyle made me a few years ago for my bday. It's covered in pink printed fabric that you can see on the edges. For holidays and events like this, I just post sheets of scrapbook paper to make a quilted background in whatever colors I want. Megan and TJ are both University of Michigan grads, so I posted vintage U of M football programs, 1920s sheet music, and family photos with Megan and TJ in them. The magnet board is great because I can always change it up for the occasion.
The food spread. I love and definitely recommend getting warming trays. They keep cooked food hot and you can keep it on low heat for hours. I used it to warm mushroom crescents and quiche, but I've used it in the past for cook-outs to warm hot dogs and burgers and baked beans. If you've never tried making cake bon-bons, they're delish but time consuming. Bake a cake in a pan, crumble it up and mix in almost an entire jar of frosting, freeze, dip in melted chocolate or white chocolate, and drizzle with melted chocolate and sprinkle with coconut, nuts, and candy sprinkles. They're always a big hit!
For drinks, I covered the label of wine bottles, re-labeled the drink, mixed up the drinks in pitchers and used the funnel to pour them into the bottles, and used cork stoppers to seal them. I used packing tape to cover them and keep them from getting soaked in the tub of ice, and the tape held up for at least a little while...We made three signature cocktails: the favorite being The Zelda Fitzgerald (French Martini) with Chambord, raspberry vodka, and pineapple juice; The Ernest Hemingway (Campari Royal with ginger ale) with Campari, Grand Marnier, Vernor's, and orange juice; and The Jay Gatsby (Tom Collins) with Tanqueray, lime juice, and club soda.
I bought these cute little numbered toothpicks from my favorite shop in Downtown Chelsea, The Potting Shed. They were $12 for a set of 10, so I plan on reusing them. I placed a numbered pick next to each dish and printed and posted a numbered menu so guests could match the items on the menu to the dishes on the buffet by the numbered toothpick. Probably unnecessary, but I thought it was a cute touch. To prop them up and make them reusable, I stuck them into corks.
The "vases" are wine bottles wrapped in and decorated with cardstock in the party's color scheme. The branches are from the dollar store and were labeled as Christmas decor. They're a bit gaudy and blingin', but perfect I think for a glitzy Gatsby party. Plus, at $1 apiece, I don't feel bad pitching them after the fact.