Carrie Waller, Glitter Guide DIY Contributor + blogger behind Dream Green DIY, knows a thing or two about entertaining. She’s got an enviable collection of dreamy tablewares, an irresistible recipe box, and a penchant for embracing the imperfections (which, coincidentally, makes everything seem pretty perfect). This February, she partnered with Laura Hooper Calligraphy for a vintage-inspired Valentine’s Day soiree. Picture delicate custom calligraphy, a beautiful tablescape, and a menu that would satisfy even the biggest sweet tooth. Carrie’s handing out insider tips so that you can recreate every detail (even the calligraphy!!) at home:
First things first. What was your inspiration for this soiree?
Valentine’s Day is such a happy holiday… Pink galore, sweets always within easy reach and the perfect excuse to ask for a little more doting than usual. To celebrate this year, I asked a few of my closest gal pals over for a lavishly pink affair focused squarely on dessert. Cookies, cake, a special rose-colored cocktail – the only thing NOT allowed was guilt.
We’re certainly onboard with a guilt-free gathering!! We couldn’t help but notice the use of calligraphy in the details. That’s thanks to a starter kit, right?
Without the Laura Hooper Calligraphy starter kit, this event may never have gotten off the ground – truthfully! The basis for the party was all about hand lettering – that feminine, swoopy script just SCREAMS Valentine’s Day to me. The only problem was that I had no idea how to do it. Thankfully, Laura’s kit made the concept a cinch to master. From the hand-addressed invitations to the name cards, I was able to bring my vision to life. I love that the average ‘Jane’ can now pull this look off on her own, with only a minor mishap or two.
We can’t wait to try it! So, when it comes to entertaining- what is THE most important thing?
For me, it’s all about using what we have to throw a beautiful, thoughtful event. One cabinet in our kitchen is dedicated entirely to party accessories – a special occasion drink dispenser, pretty linens, paper straws in every color and pattern, white appetizer plates, a cake stand. By having the ability to “shop” our collection I’ve happily eliminated the need for a mad dash (and unnecessary splurge) come event day.
Everything came together beautifully. What about the menu?
For this party, it was all about sugar. I baked an ombre cake (using just a boxed mix and food coloring, of course!) and a plate full of sprinkled cookies cut into “x”s, “o”s and hearts. A beverage station was set up on our bar cart, but I also whipped up a decadent “Think Pink” cocktail for my girlfriends to enjoy. Seconds were welcomed and enjoyed by all.
We’re sure our readers would love to add this event to their own social calendars. Any tips to recreate it?
For this event, I partnered with Laura, of Laura Hooper Calligraphy. She put together beautiful hand-lettered heart-shaped cake sticks for us, as well as pretty scripted print favors, which I left at each place setting. As for the rest of the space, I DIYed a pink and gold tassel garland for the bar cart, used a scarf from T.J.Maxx as an inexpensive alternative to the conventional table runner and used paper lanterns from the craft store as a makeshift backdrop.
And to set the mood?
One album: the 500 Days of Summer soundtrack. It’s perfectly casual, perfectly chic and perfectly balanced. I love that it keeps my guests entertained and at ease. It’s fool proof!
Love that! Finally, what are your TOP 5 TIPS for the perfect party?
1. No idea is too big. Trust your gut and believe in your vision. If you need help to craft a DIY garland, or a baking buddy to make your lavish dessert spread a reality, just ask a friend (but be sure that she gets an invite to the actual party!).
2. It’s never too early to start styling. Truth be told, I had this event set up a few days prior to that first knock at the door. By jumping the gun, I was able to tweak a little every day so that it was absolutely perfect come party day.
3. Keep a pair of flats within easy reach. I love breaking out my heels for special occasions, but will admit that they aren’t ideal for high stress situations. I’ll never forget one unfortunate broken glass situation when I appreciated having flats on hand as I morphed into clean-up mode.
4. Remove the phrase “I’m sorry” from your vocabulary. Your guests won’t miss a beat over an uneven frosting job or messy sink – they are there to spend time with you, so don’t apologize. I am still working to master this one…
5. Relax! Once that first guest arrives, it’s time to adopt the “it is what it is” attitude, and enjoy every perfectly imperfect moment.
Styling & Production: Carrie Waller Creative
Calligraphy: Laura Hooper Calligraphy
Photography: Sincerely Liz, Inc.
Products: Laura Hooper Calligraphy Starter Kit, gold foil Valentine’s Day cards, gold foil “Pop, Fizz, Clink!” print, glass beverage dispenser, cake stand, Martha Stewart paper lanterns, Martha Stewart lace doily garland, sugar bowl