Many, many years ago I met the guy that turned out to be my husband. At that time I had no desire to ever be married. I had no desire to plan a wedding. Something strange happened to my very unromantic soul in dating my eventual husband. While I am still pretty sure that he is as happy as I am in the choice to marry, I am not sure he was prepared for what the planning of the wedding awakened in me… a love for weddings that would just NOT die.
I’m excited to be participating with a team of some of Portland’s very best wedding vendors to create a wedding space at the upcoming The Toast Wedding Showcase hosted by Elli.
When I say the very best in Portland’s wedding vendors I mean it! I’ve been inspired and incredibly excited by the ideas and work coming from my teammates for this event. We have a 10X10 space that we are creating with our inspiration coming from selected stationary provided by Elli.com.
I’ll be creating a DIY wedding backdrop that I’ll eventually share here on the blog. In addition I’ll help with the styling of the space. Our rental company Something Borrowed Portland Vintage Rentals is bringing out all the stops with some really fabulous vintage rentals… including a brand new custom built item that will see its debut in this show! Lane’ will also be helping us style the space. The food elements are being put together with a custom menu by local northwest-style catering company, White Pepper. I’ve seen the custom menu and can’t wait see how it all looks! No wedding is complete without some gorgeous floral elements and our florist, Intimo: An Intimate Occasion Florist in Portland, has designed something truly spectacular. Local calligraphy artist Kelsey Malie is lending us talents to help really put the icing on this oh-so-gorgeous cake.
This event won’t only be a great way to gather inspiration and DIY wedding tips, but it also be a way to connect with wedding vendors in Portland that truly care about your event and their craft. In addition to seeing all the cool curated wedding spaces designed just for this event, attendees will also get:
I’m also giving away two sets of two tickets! Bring your mom, your groom, your bride or someone from your bridal party! Make a girls/guys night of it or a romantic evening for two.
Please enter the below giveaway only if you are going to be in the Portland area on March 7th and wish to attend the Toast: Curated Wedding Showcase. Winners will receive notification by March 3rd.
Well, it happened again… I turned another year older. All those that know me know that while aging isn’t my favorite thing, BIRTHDAYS are. This year I let the West Elm party animal appetizer plates inspire a black, white and gold cocktail party that was decadent and slightly silly. I decided to share some photos from the party now because I feel like these might just inspire a fun New Year’s Eve event! Next week I’ll also share the recipes I made for the festive fare.
Read on for a list of DIYd items, resources, menu notes and activities! I’ve linked several items to posts with recipes. There are also a few affiliate links below. A portion of purchases made through affiliate links help support this blog at no cost to readers.
We served the Bourbon Apple Ginger Punch as a signature beverage that was easily accessible to guests. In addition I had the fixings for classic martinis, red and white Hob Nob wine and lots of sparkling wine, including one of my favorite sparklings the Sokol Blosser Evolution Sparkling wine. We also had a selection of non-alcoholic beverages. One of my favorite ways to make a champagne glass feel even MORE special is to add in a lollipop. Either by using homemade lollies or pretty rock candies!
The party was slated as a cocktails and cake party… which, of course we had both of those things. But, I wanted more a more savory fare to fill everyone’s bellies. I’m sharing the recipes for many of these items soon.. but, here is the cocktail party menu:
I didn’t schedule many activities for the party as the food and drinks were the main attraction. I did however set up a photobooth area and made a fun game out of the favors. I did “grab bag” style favors and wrapped up several different gifts from which my gusts to choose. I purchased half of the gifts with the idea of “Whatever will be, will be” in mind. Those presents ended up being games of chance, alcohol, and even a Magic 8 Ball! For the other side of the favor area I chose gifts with the idea of a type-A personality in mind and chose good self-help books, journals, office supplies and the like. Before guests left I asked them to choose a gift and got to watch them open the gifts up. It ended up being my favorite part of the night!
I love savory foods… but, at my birthday there is just nothing like a great sweet treat. At this party I served champagne jello squares, chocolate truffles and a layered chocolate cake I purchased at the bakery at Whole Foods Market called the “Chocolate Explosion” cake. It was super tasty!
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I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again… I’m not a fan of most party games. Making everyone play something silly has never really been in my bag of tricks. I HAVE thrown parties with games before. And, this Ryan Gosling themed birthday party is no exception. (I’ll share our party game very soon!) But, I like to always have an activity or two that doesn’t revolve around a group activity or food.
One of the areas of the party was set up so that guests could easily sit and chat with a place to set their plates and drinks. I then added in an awesome coloring book, “Colour Me Good Ryan Gosling.” I cut out a few of the pages and placed them on the table to encourage guests to color them. Snacks, crayons, and fun DIY party confetti also decked out the area.
I’m not one to plan out every detail to a party. I prefer my parties to be fairly laid back and casual. To me the perfect party has a few activities, lots of good food and great drink, and a planned out party space that encourages mingling. However, when I am doing more structured events, events venues that I’ve reserved for a certain amount of time, or events on weeknights, I tend to plan things out just a bit more clearly. My recent Hey Girl – Ryan Gosling themed birthday party was on a weeknight at a friend’s house. I knew that having it over at a certain time would be good for everyone involved. I also wanted to draw attention to the different activities that I had planned, so I created this agenda to work partially as an extra decor item as well as pointing out the evening plan.
The first item on the evening’s agenda included leaving the guest of honor a note in her guest book! I love guest books and variations on guest books because they give the guest of honor a way to remember the people at their event.
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I found this amazing “Hey Girl” Flexi Journal by Chronicle Books on Amazon and bought it up right away. The journal is filled with little drawn images of Ryan Gosling with quote bubbles. I encouraged guests to write messages in each of the quote bubbles so that in the future, as Macey filled out her journal, she’d be greeted with happy messages from friends!
When I got to thinking of the whole “Hey Girl” Meme for the Ryan Gosling themed party the ideas sort of over-took my brain. I wanted to do SO much. But, as I advise every bride/diy event planner … I started out with lots of ideas and then began to narrow them down. The favor idea was one of my FAVORITE ideas, so I spent some time figuring out the best way to go about it. I loved the idea of giving guests tea towels (who doesn’t need more of those!?) that were a simple black and white that had a “Hey Girl” message of “Hey girl, let me dry those dishes for you.”
My first attempt at making these tea towels did NOT go well. I was determined to screen press the tea towels. I borrowed my friend Suzannah’s Ryonet home screen printing press and tried following her tutorial and the Ryonet YouTube tutorial. The whole process is very, very involved. The kit included everything I needed and the instructions were great! But, I didn’t give myself near enough time or room for error. It was one of those DIY fails that just really sucks. After I dried my tears of frustration, I scrapped the screen printing idea and went with the iron on transfer method.
I typically don’t enjoy the way the iron on transfer looks on fabrics. There is usually a line around the image that is slightly more glossy than I want. When the paper gets too hot it can yellow. Also, I never know how long it will last. I was pretty thrilled with the way these tea towels turned out though and would recommend the iron-on transfer as an easy way to make these. Follow the instructions on the iron on transfer paper.
Download my Hey Girl Tea Towel print and get started! Image of Ryan Gosling was licensed under CC 2.0 — sourced via Raffi Asdourian . I then modified the image. Tutorial coming!
Supplies (Affiliate Links):
And, just because I thought this would also make for a cute framed print above a drying rack in the kitchen I also made an 8×10 printable. Click here to download you own free Ryan Gosling themed printable!
Love the idea but just don’t wanna make your own tea towels? These sketched tea towels by Dear Colleen are AMAZING and would make for a fantastic gift! They’d be a better quality and have THREE images of Ryan Gosling… so, there is that too!
(PS. I will give screen printing a shot again sometime soon.)
(PPS. Ryan, if you’re reading this… first, EEEEE! Second, we share because we love your work and enjoy the meme. Will take down with a note from you! )
I’m really, really excited to be sharing some pictures from my most recent party today… a “Hey Girl” party for my friend Macey! A “Hey Girl” party you ask? Well, you know the Ryan Gosling meme, right? If not… you may not understand the awesomeness of this party.
Macey turned a year older this year and as she protested celebrations I asked her, “If you could have any party theme for your birthday, what would it be?” She answered, “Ryan Gosling, of course!”
Magic happened in that moment. My brain started firing on all cylinders and (thankfully) my friend Bee offered to host in her beautiful home. The rest is history… well, it is at least a week old now. If you were following along on my Instagram you might have seen a few photos from the party.
I can’t wait to share all the fun details! A Ryan Gosling party is great for a birthday party, bachelorette party, or heck… a baby shower for a baby girl! This was probably one of my favorite parties to date and nearly everything was DIY. Check back over this week and next for the following posts:
I’ll update this page with links to posts as they go live. Printables, tutorials, and a whole lotta fun to come!
In the meantime… answer me this:
I am so honored to share my “wedding” on A Well Crafted Party! I have wedding in quotes because the long and short of it is–we were already married! My husband Kevin and I (who I refer to most often on my blog as Ktams) were married right out of college (we are Illini–I-L-L!) as we both agreed it made the most sense to start out in the real world as a team, and the easiest way to do this was to tie the knot! We were technically married in June of 2010, but at that point we had no money to have the wedding we imagined. So once the official stuff was out of the way, we began planning. Just over a year from the date we planned to throw a big party to celebrate our marriage with friends and families. We felt this was a great excuse for our friends to come back together and for family to share in the fun (as when we were married originally we only allowed our parents to be present–that’s right–no siblings, grandparents, or anyone else! We just felt like it was a slippery slope!). Looking back now, I realize how many diy wedding ideas I used to make the day a success–and I am excited to share!
We picked a venue that would be a one stop shop–it was our one of our favorite spots–a Spanish tapas restaurant located near downtown Naperville, IL. Meson Sabika was a rehabbed old mansion on an expansive piece of land. We held the entire event out in their bricked patio, and left the doors open to get more drinks at the bar.
For our wedding, flowers were not a make or break discussion. I knew I wanted accents of orange and a predominantly mixed bouquet. I had also given leftover fabric I had from table cloths to the florist to wrap the bouquet. I felt like this held everything together nicely and it keep the flowers in perfect order for the whole event! The only thing I would do differently with my flowers is I would not use any pokey items–cannot tell you how many times I forgot not to smell my flowers and poked myself. Since we were throwing more of a party than a traditional wedding, I opted to get my closest girlfriends wrist corsages instead of nosegays–I had hoped this made them feel special and stand out, but it wasn’t like they had to tote obnoxious nosegays around all afternoon. My favorite items in the bouquet ended up being the big white roses and the hypericum berries–they all held up nicely throughout the day and they dried nicely.
We had our celebration well before the leaves had changed that year–I remember how warm the summer was and the second week of September just wasn’t soon enough to enjoy some natural color. Instead, I did my best to create some color! My favorite DIY of the wedding was making large pinwheel centerpieces, and it saved us a ton of money because we didn’t have to purchase fresh cut flowers! I purchased patterned scrapbook sheets, stamped them, and followed a tutorial similar to this one to make both table marker pinwheels and smaller, more graphic pinwheels, which I used as seat finders for guests. I had some extras at the end of the craft so I added them to the pitchers to encourage people to add theirs to the centerpiece for the event. To this day I’m surprised at how well the smaller pinwheels held up–I still have a few of them in my potted plants at home.
To keep everything grounded in the vase (which I purchased at IKEA and gifted to friends and family afterward), I added river stones. I knew the pitchers were going to sit on white tablecloths so my mom and I came up with the idea of using leaf-shaped placemats to easily add a burst of color. We sewed on more of the same material we were using for the cake and gift tables to cover the placemats and pull everything together (it was opaque so it added nice texture and some neat stitching for the most part).
Another DIY I was really happy with the result of was a cake stand tutorial I found from none other than Jenni–before I even knew her or A Well Crafted Party! Creepy right? I found the tut on Pinterest for the stands she did for her sister’s wedding. My mom and I put a twist on it to make more of a rustic fall look. We used hot glue, which was actually easy to remove later so that we could use the items again and again.
I have to throw a lot of credit to my mom for the little touches our celebration had. She collected a lot of rich looking silk flowers and purchased custom bows to tie everything together. She also gathered colorful mums to plant in the pots I had purchased (also from IKEA). As a gift to us, my mom had some very fun custom glassware made for us to use on the big day. They are my favorite keepsakes to date. It’s great to have someone you can trust to go to work and get some great fillers in to personalize the event.
Additionally, I DIY’d our invites. Just to start, we saved money by putting out invites only–no save-the-dates–and I did my best to find the best quality and pricing for both the envelopes and cardstock. We also did all RSVPing online, so we saved additional money in printing and postage by creating a free blogger site and a google number for those who were technology challenged. I will forewarn that envelopes can change your shipping costs DRASTICALLY. I highly suggest taking your sample envelopes to the post office and have them measured and weighed with your cardstock before you go buying/printing in bulk. We ended up over-ordering on accident (remember to count couples not attendees!), and I made use of the excess invites by cutting them up and turning them into ornaments (check out this tutorial for the base of my idea). I purchased glass balls from a craft store, charms from Etsy, and curled the strips of paper around a small pencil, then placed them in the ball.
I think the biggest thing I learned in planning my own wedding was to let it go–no I will not break into a verse of Frozen, but I will say that you need to learn to let many of the little things go by the wayside or you’ll spend your whole day not enjoying the party! Was I upset that certain things didn’t come together how I’d hoped? Yes–but by the time I was putting my dress on for the day, I had decided that people were not there for the decor or even the (AMAZING) food! They were were to celebrate with Kevin and me. This is what refocused my energy to enjoy the day and make it a memorable affair.
All professional images from this post and our celebration are by Daniel Kelleghan Photography.
A big thank you to Bee for sharing her beautiful wedding photos and Happy Anniversary! Please take a moment to hop on over to check out her awesome-sauce blog! She writes some pretty amazing recipes. Being someone who has actually tasted her cooking and have made her recipes I can give them my seal of approval!
My little sister had a baby in January! Since she lives in Oklahoma and I wanted to meet the baby, I decided to wait to throw her a baby shower until after the baby was born. I’m a big fan of Sip & See parties after little ones are born and ready for company. (Check out the awesome Pumpkin-themed Sip & See my sister threw for me.)
Opal Apples had contacted me a few months earlier about the possibility of throwing an Opal Apple party. After trying out their apples and LOVING them I agreed to throw an apple-themed shindig. Luckily for me, my sister and brother-in-law are both teachers so an apple-themed baby shower was perfect for them! The party decor was all supplied by Opal Apples– they sent fun paper lanterns, fans, and poufs that really gave the whole event a celebratory feel.
We decided an “Apple of My Eye” themed open-house-style sip and see where guests could stop in for a light lunch and tasty desserts while they meet the new babe.
We wanted to have a light lunch with healthful options for guests since it was the middle of the day and we were pairing the food with lots of apple-desserts. Our menu included 4 salads, freshly baked croissants, and desserts:
We made the event an open house style party so people could come and go so we didn’t plan a lot of activities for the party. I am not a huge shower-game fan anyways. (Check out the post about the robot baby shower my friend threw for me that had GREAT baby shower activities!) We did want a couple of things people could do if they didn’t feel like chatting.
We had a great time celebrating my brand-new nephew and getting to see friends and family throughout the day. A big thank you to Opal Apples for the great party decor and for introducing me to the tasty, yellow apple.
This post was sponsored by Opal Apples. The thoughts and words in this post are my own. More information about Opal apples: Opal is a bright yellow apple that is like none other with its beautiful appearance, distinctively crunchy texture, floral aroma and a sweet, tangy flavor. But one of the most incredible, and natural features of this non-GMO apple is that it does not brown after cutting so it stays crisp and fresh in your salads and your kids’ lunchboxes.
I was thrilled when Ting of Cup of Ting asked me to share a kid’s party post with her readers. One of the hardest things for me to learn when I went to having all adult parties to parties that also included kiddos was HOW to throw a party in which everyone could still enjoy themselves at.
How do you go to sketching and dreaming about designing buildings in Korea to having your wedding dress designs strutting the catwalk in Portland, OR? Well, you fall in love.
At least, that is what Portland wedding dress designer Sunjin Lee did! She met her husband (who also acts as her business partner in many aspects) in Paris, fell in love, and ended up trying on tons of wedding dresses with unhappy results. Her decision to try her hand at making her own wedding dress is what brought her to today, just a few years later!
Of course, that is boiling down a romantic, long-distance relationship down to the nitty gritty there. The couple stayed contacted for nearly two years after meeting in Paris, Sunjin in university in Korea while her husband was in the states. The whole thing was sort of a romance that you’d read in a modern storybook. Strong female lead from traditional background with no intention of getting married really meets dashing, talented, and smart young man in a town far from both their homes. They fall in love to be parted by schedules, plans, and obligations. The young couple work for years, traveling back and forth, keeping their spark alive until they are reunited again. I’d read that book.
I had the amazing opportunity to visit Sunjin Lee’s studio in Portland, Oregon to see her work and her work space. I also got to talk with her for an hour about life, love, and her passions. Her studio walls give glimpses into her love of architecture, Paris, fashion, and wedding dresses. She has bookshelves packed to the rafters with wedding and Vogue magazines. Two full walls lined with tulle, silk, embroidered, and beaded dresses. A wall covered in gorgeous sketches of buildings. It is a sight to see.
Sunjin Lee pointed out the sketches to tell me a story about meeting her husband. She pointed out a sketch looking up at the Eiffel Tower. All of the sketches are gorgeous.
“Wait,” you drew these!?” I asked. Yep, she drew them.
She tells me about going to school and training for a career in architecture. You can see her love for great architecture in the dresses she designs. She uses strong lines in many of her bodices, she plays with the shape and structure of the dresses using fabric and structure. She tells me how she lets designs of the past inspire her work. She points out a gorgeous high-low wedding dress with 3/4 sleeves, “this shape was popular in the fifties.” It is neat to see her crafts playing together so nicely.
Sunjin Lee tells me how she got started in wedding dress design only 3 years ago. After trying on several wedding dresses she didn’t find exactly what she wanted. She also found out that having someone make her a specialty dress would take much more time than she had. So, she thought about what she wanted and decided that she could do it herself. And, boy did she!
She actually wore three wedding dresses throughout her wedding day in Hawaii. One of the dresses was a Nicole Miller dress (actually, the same dress I wore on MY wedding day!) and the other two dresses were of her own creation. She shows me one of the dresses she wore that had a mermaid skirt and had been hand-beaded by her with thousands of sequins and beads. She showed me how the beading worked its way up the skirt so it shimmered like water on a mermaid’s tail. Perfect for a beach wedding.
I promise that I’m trying to convince her to publish the photos of her own wedding day so we can all see the dresses in action!
Sunjin Lee’s work space is a home-sewer’s dream. She has a huge table ready for cutting, bolts and bolts of fabric piled beneath it. Ribbons, beads, threads, and other sewing supplies are available everywhere you look in the room. She shows me one of the items she seems most proud of… a shadow box with a dress sketch and material swatches.
“I give one of these to each of my brides with swatches of the material used to make their dress and a sketch of the dress they are wearing,” she explained. It would be an absolutely treasured keepsake for any bride.
The young Portland wedding dress designer has been creating her dresses for around three years. She now has two collections of dresses to her name, have seen her dresses on brides, received the 2013 Best Couture Gown Designer award from Oregon Bride, and will see them walk the runway this Friday’s Mimosas & Gowns Portland Fashion Week Bridal Show. Tickets are still available for the show if you’d like to see her work in person!
A BIG thank you to Sunjin Lee for letting me peek into your studio space and for chatting with me for so long. You are an instant friend!
Disclaimer: I was not paid for this interview and studio tour. I am a part of the Portland Fashion Week’s Style Collective and will be receiving free VIP tickets to visit the shows. However, no post requirements were asked of us and this post was all my own idea and Sunjin Lee’s awesome story. All opinions are my own. Tickets to Portland Fashion Week are still available! Purchase tickets now to get in for just $20 or pay $30 at the door. There are 6 shows in total, 35 pop-up boutique shops, and 3 after parties. I hope to see you there!
I’m excited to share some of the printables I made for my son’s “Welcome to Twosville” town themed birthday party. You can check out the many images and ideas from the party by checking out all of my Twosville posts.
Want something for a town themed party you don’t see above? Email me at jenni[at]awellcraftedparty[dot]com! I will create a custom package for you for $25.
While these printables are completely free of charge for use they are intended for personal use only. Please do not sell these products or send files as they are your own. Please link to this post if you want to share on your blogs.
This post is part of A Well Crafted Party’s Giveaway Week… we are cleaning out the editorial calendar and sharing the love with free printables, party good giveaways, and more! Don’t miss out on any of the giveaway posts by following along via BlogLovin, Twitter, or Facebook!
I bet you thought I was DONE sharing party posts from my son’s second birthday party… hahah, I’m NEVER done. Actually, we just had so many different photos that I wanted to split this up into posts about the decor, food, favors, and activities. Of course, I’ll be back again later today with free set of printables from this party AND a giveaway. Too much fun going on right now. (No such thing.)
The activities for this party were fairly simple. I don’t know about you, but trying to wrangle a bunch of 1-5 year olds does not sound like a fun activity to me. So, I set out items for a couple of activities, focused on making the whole party area a fun place to play, and let the kids and adults play and chat throughout the event. If the group had been a bit older I might have made the whole thing just a little more structured. But, for this age group I think the party turned out well.
Creating the cardboard buildings for the town was my first real project in creating a fun space for the kids. What kid doesn’t like a cardboard box? We made some of the buildings with doors and windows the kids could play in. The only one that was totally off-limits for playing was the ice cream truck due to some construction issues, and because it didn’t have a door the kids automatically stayed away from it. I added in toy vehicles and a toy kitchen to help give the “town” feel while giving the kids more hands-on activities. The toys were nearly as big of a hit as the cardboard buildings and they were just items we already had on hand!
Coloring is great for older toddlers and young children. We put out coloring sheet “Identifications” and let the kids draw their own IDs. Most of the kids just did squiggly lines, but all of the kids above the age of two wanted to color. No crayons were eaten either. So, that’s a plus.
I have no idea why kids find these thing so amazing… but, they do. My son and every other kid at the party wanted a fake tattoo. He went around the rest of the day showing off his football that he chose and patiently sat through getting it applied. So much cleaner and easier than face painting, comes off easily in the bath, and makes the kiddos smile. Why not?
Want even more ideas for town themed party activities? Click on the above tabs for ideas for toddlers, young children, and older children. Have ideas? Leave them in the comments so I can add them to the lists! If I use your idea I’ll link your site (if you have one!) Want more Twosville posts? Click here to check out all of the twosville posts. Want free printables? Check back here at 1 PM PST.[/tab] [tab title=”Toddler”]
I seriously had a whole list of activities we could have used to fit the theme. But, I didn’t want to overload the kids with activities or take too much time/money prepping the party. The below activity ideas would be great for toddlers:
Do you have more toddler friendly ideas? Leave them in the comments and I’ll post them along with a link to your site (if you have one!)[/tab] [tab title=”Young Children”]
Any of the toddler activities or activities used in the original party work work for children above the toddler age, but still not old enough to really be able to handle a lot of structure. The below activity ideas would be great for a town-themed party that has children from ages of 3-5:
Do you have more young children town activity ideas? Leave a message in the comments and I’ll add it to the list along with a link to your site. (if you have one!)[/tab] [tab title=”Older Children”]
Many of the other activities listed on these pages would work for older children. But, once they get older you can also have fun incorporating more activities. Check out my ideas for activities for a town-themed party that has children from the ages of 5+:
Do you have more ideas for town-themed party activities for older children? Leave them below in the comments and I’ll add them to the list along with a link to your site (if you have one!)[/tab] [/tabs]
Party favors are sometimes difficult for me– I don’t want to send home a bunch of plastic, useless items that will just create clutter and end up in a landfill. I also don’t want to spend a ton of money because parties are expensive enough without lots of extra costs from items like favors. I do love party favors though- and rarely like throwing a party without sending guests home with something.
For the little man’s town-themed party I went with edible snacks “for the road.”I got a lot if great suggestions and ideas from Twitter and Facebook however and thought I would share some of those ideas and other ideas that crossed my mind for a town-themed birthday party.