My holiday entertaining career started a LONG time ago. I believe the year was 1982 when I gave my first holiday cocktail party. It was Christmas vacation when I came home to Memphis ( where I grew up) for the holidays from my first year at Boston University.
Maybe I wasn't the hippest partier at 18, but I've been working on giving great parties for a long time. One of my clients once told me, "I'm the best partier, but YOU give great parties!"
NOW and THEN...see below....
If a photo could speak a thousand words...I guess I've come a long way baby!
Some things don't change-notice the attention to detail and how I like to fluff things:)
Some thing get better...hair, clothing, china and flowers!!!:)
This was my first cocktail party at 18 for a bunch of friends when I came home from Boston University. For the record, I was considered really stylish in the picture above. (At least I thought I was...)
SO this past fall I have been working like a busy little bee with my events at Carolyn Bender Events. I decided it was time to relax a bit and utilize some of the beautiful items I was using for a holiday table I was styling with Herend china and Spina Events.
I've been so lucky to have such generous vendors and colleagues who participated in styling my cocktail party photo shoot. This all started with HerendUSA and Spina Events . We were stlying a table with the most gorgeous floral and china. Party Rental LTD and Current Home lent us some lovely things as well and we used my own Kim Seybert napkins and Deborah Rhodes placemats. So we didn't get to keep all these goodies but we had tons of flowers and a few food items we used for styling so I decided "let's have party!"
see all these gorgeous photos from the shoot from Michael Jurick.
Herend USA and Party Rental LTD sent me such beautiful things, and I coordinated them with some of my own personal items. I wanted a simple, elegant, and festive holiday theme. Without going overboard, and being holiday in your face!*%! We just added a touch of green-which is my color for the month. It definitely had a festive feel, and set the mood for the holidays and complimented my dining room at the same time. Everything on the table was honestly gorgeous, but the pictures captured by Michael Jurick Photography were out of this world and really show off the beauty of all these products.
I tried the look 2 different ways when styling the napkins. A little more feminine and fluffy above with Mackenzie Childs linens I have owned for quite a while and then a cleaner more modern look with a long fold with my white linen napkins from Kim Seybert. I think either way works very well.
I love the white mixed with metal and the touches of green. Our beautiful menus from CECI New York had just the right detail and accented the metal vibe perfectly! I love mixing silver and gold, and we had it just about everywhere from the dishes to the napkins. The detail of Ceci's menus coordinated perfectly with everything.
I'm so happy with the purchase of this table by Mitchell Gold Bob Williams. I change the look all the time. It seats so many people, and we've had so many celebrations on this table in just a year. I made the draperies with them as well. I love how they have a hint of color, but they are actually a neutral palette for the room and work with everything.
I wanted to gain a little extra space, so I ordered a bar cart from Luxe Event rentals for my cocktail party to create a small bar in the corner to ease up space on the side table. It was a perfect setup for mixing drinks for the guests. I had so many inquiries on where to buy this bar cart and while it was a rental that was lent to me for the photo shoot I did find a few similar ones available at www.cb2.com, Mitchell Gold Bob Williams as well as World Market. I am seriously considering one of these as a permanent addition to our dining room!
As you can see the table seats many people so I decided why not utilize all those flowers and have dinner for friends and colleagues. So I started sending out invites and then realized well, I think the more the merrier. The list grew a bit too big for the table!@#&*$! So what does an event planner do- well set up another table!
I had my friends at Luxe Event Rentals send me a table with a few chairs that accented all my other living room furniture and centered this in the room for additional dining space. It actually created 2 separate rooms for lounging before dinner.
These flowers from Spina were just heaven!!!
So with the table all set- it was time for the guest to arrive!!
I make sure to have as much ready and set before everyone arrives and I save my heels for the LAST second so I can move quick and give me feet a little rest too!:)
I love my swivel chairs from Mitchell Gold Bob Williams as you can enjoy conversation with everyone at the couch area and then just give it a twirl and have a cozy look at the fireplace. I am making these most of those and the fireplace these days!
So this is how we set it all up. Scroll on to the next post to see the party people and all the fun and joy we had together!!