I am so excited to finally blog about the travel and literature birthday party. As I mentioned, I was hired by my previous bride Nicola to plan her Mom’s 60th birthday party with a nod to her Mom’s love of travel and reading. It was a small daytime party for about 20 people at her home in Santa Monica. We kept the furniture eclectic and brought it all together with shabby chic decor. I sourced every detail for this party including the catering, crafted all of the little touches, and created all the floral arrangements in only 2 weeks so it was quite the labor of love. This past Sunday was the install and I was able to sneak in a few instagram shots during the set-up. Check it out!
We had a bit of a tight budget to work with so we created a lot of small arrangements to save on flowers and to keep a sophisticated minimalistic look. The vases are from Michaels and Ikea at less that $2 a piece. I only spent $30 on flowers overall and had over 10 arrangements. The books above were actually sitting on Nicola’s bookshelf. We tied a few that had an old rustic charm together with the teal twine to bring the look together. We used map scrapbook paper ( 4 for $1) underneath to keep the travel inspiration woven throughout.
Above, I found some travel inspired scrapbook paper and used the “travel log” portion to write the menu on it. We catered from Lemonade in LA and had a variety of items with global roots such as miso-glazed braised pork, Israeli couscous and curried lemon chicken. For dessert, we kept it simple with a variety up cupcakes and cookies from a local grocery store.
When you are clearing out a room to use for a party, sometimes you are left with a few items that are difficult to move, like internet routers and cables. Here, we brought in some vintage boxes for decor in the corner to fill the room and to act as the perfect disguise for a bunch of wires and office supplies.
I found this parisian vintage suitcase from Michaels, and hand-made the “Happy Birthday” sign you see strung within. We placed all the dessert plates and napkins here to save on table space and make the dessert table look adorable.
I made all of the arrangements from just a few bunches of flowers. We used pink and white roses with purple mums. It was feminine and I was able to wrap the vases with some teal burlap and white ribbon to keep all the arrangements cohesive.
Some of the larger books you see we purchased as decor but for the most part, we were able to use a lot of what Nicola already had. Her office had french doors leading out to a screened in porch so we took over both of these areas. Nicola already had an outdoor table in the patio and had another one in her garage we added. We cleared out the office and brought in her large dining room table as the main table, and kept the desks in the room for the buffet and dessert stations. We also created a Sangria and drink station, but unfortunately I missed capturing the pictures there.
At first, all the furniture seems so mismatched that it was hard for Nicola to see how we can make it all work, but after some white tablecloths, some burlap runners and all the decor, it was the perfect shabby chic look we were going for. If you have to plan a party and your furniture doesn’t match, make sure to keep an eclectic look throughout. Her dishes had a mix of dark teal and modern white plates so I made sure teal was a color we weaved in throughout. We had a lot of mismatched chairs, so we went with it, mixing up all the chairs around the dining room so it looked purposeful and not just because it is all we had to work with. A beautiful party can happen on any budget, it just takes some time and thoughtful creativity.