Archive for the ‘Event Decor’ Category

Wild Rice with Cranberries Recipe from a Los Angeles Event Planner

Friday, November 18th, 2011

Just counting down to turkey day and wanted to share this easy-to-make wild rice with cranberries recipe.  As a Los Angeles event planner, I am always on the lookout for anything that will add glamor and flair to an event, even a simple recipe.

The recipe for the wild rice with cranberries is as follows:

1. Cook the wild rice per the package instructions.

2. Once the rice is cooked, add the dried cranberries.

3. Allow the cranberries to plump up and then add a tablespoon or two of orange champagne vinegar.

4. Make sure to sample the rice after each tablespoon pour, you don’t want the rice to be bitter or tart.

Being a Los Angeles event planner, I sometimes look to the obvious then give it a twist. Here is an easy-to-make table decor item that will add some style to your holiday table.

Gourds such as mini-pumpkins and squash can easily be turned into votive candle holders.  Not only do they take no time to make but you can pick them up at the market while food shopping!

Just take the gourd, cut it in half and hallow it out. Then place the candle inside and light!

I’m getting started a bit early on the Thanksgiving cooking.  Today especially, I am craving vegan pumpkin pie. Click here for the recipe.

I hope you enjoy the wild rice with cranberries recipe.  Having been a Los Angeles event planner for over 15 years, I have picked up quite a few party and entertaining tips for the holidays and other special occasions.  Click here to learn more.

Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, delicious, stylish, fun & economical to all!

Fall Flower Arrangement

Monday, October 17th, 2011


Here is an easy to make fall flower arrangement that takes no time and adds a bit of fun and whimsy to your table.  This easy flower arrangement will work great for any outdoor event whether it is a wedding or backyard party.

To make this fall flower arrangement just pick your favorite type of flowers such as sunflowers and Gerber daisies to name a couple, mix the arrangement with some greens and cut the stems. Then, purchase mason jars from either a kitchen supply store or your local home accessory store.

Add water and there you have an easy flower arrangement that takes no time to make.

I’ve seen this fall flower arrangement for outdoor country weddings as well as western themed parties.  For more easy flower arrangement ideas, click here.

Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, stylish, fun and economical for all!

Flower Arrangements for Weddings

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

Here are some pictures of some simple centerpieces when you are considering flower arrangements for weddings.

Flower arrangements for weddings don’t always need to be elaborate to be elegant.  For the first simple centerpiece, just gather some roses and a contrasting flower such as a Calla lily, strip the leaves below the the water line and arrange carefully in a glass container.

For the second simple centerpiece, just take Cymbidium orchids and submerge them in water.  Or for an evening affair, weight down the flowers in the water and float a candle on top.

These simple centerpieces can also be used for bridal showers or even a dinner party.  For more ideas and step-by-step directions to make your own simple centerpiece, just check out my book Budget Bash.  This easy-to-ready inexpensive party planning book is full of insider party planning secrets that you can use for your next event.

Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, stylish, fun and economical to all!

Simple Flower Arrangement

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

Talk about a simple flower arrangement.  Can this get any easier? A couple of flowers with some greens in a vase.

Change up the look of the bud vase with colored glass or beads and just add one of your favorite figurines to make this simple flower arrangement.

For more ideas on how to make a simple flower arrangement, check out my easy to ready book Budget Bash.  Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra:  make it simple, stylish, fun and economical to all!

Chair Sashes and Wedding Chair Decor

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

An important part of any sit-down party is the chair your guests will be spending most of the event in.  One way to spruce up the chair is with chair sashes.  Here are some ideas for wedding chair decor that can also be used for any special dinner party you might host.

Want an inexpensive yet elegant touch to your table decor? Chair sashes add a lovely accent to a dinner table and don’t cost too much to rent.  You can tie the sash horizontally with a bow or knot,  or as I did, tie the sash vertically to change up the look on the chair.

Another wedding chair decor idea is to make Just Married signs and place them on the back of the bride and groom chairs.  For our wedding, we took two photos, superimposed Just Married on them and then enlarged and mounted the photos on foam core and placed the signs over the chair sashes.

You can also just write Just and Married on two individual signs and place them on the back of the chairs.  Another wedding chair decor idea is to have your florist create flowered pom poms and hang those from the back of the chair.  In fact, to save some money with your wedding flowers, you can first use the chair adornment on the aisle chairs during the ceremony and then recycle them at the reception.

Chair sashes come in a variety of colors and fabric textures.  You can also mix and match the chair covers with the chair ties as well.  For a corporate dinner event, we used ivory linens and chair covers and then burgundy napkins and chair ties.

Another use for chair ties is weave them through the top back of the chair and then criss-cross them on along the back and down the chair to where the seat cushion is.  This look takes a bit of time so be sure to build that into your timeline.  In fact, unless you have practiced or have tied chairs at previous events, you should estimate at least a minute a chair for a basic knot or bow.

Finally, one last wedding chair decor idea is to order extra large square shaped chair covers and then knot them in the back.  We did this for a birthday party and it added a new dimension to the room.

I hope you found these wedding chair decor ideas useful and can incorporate one of them at your wedding or next special event.  Chair ties are an easy, quick and inexpensive decor idea that will add beauty to any room or dinner party.  Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra:  make it simple, stylish, fun and economical to all!

DIY Centerpieces

Friday, July 15th, 2011

Having a summer BBQ and looking for quick and easy DIY centerpieces? Why not make your own.

Here is what to do for a western themed BBQ or any other outdoor summer event.

For this arrangement, we first went to a secondhand store and purchased old cowboy boots.  Secondly, we stopped at the market and purchased inexpensive flowers and greens.  Finally, (very important) we lined the inside of the boot with some plastic wrap and then placed a wet oasis inside the boot and arranged the flowers.

And there you have DIY centerpieces for your party!

For other quick and easy DIY centerpieces, check out pages 59 to 65 in Budget Bash.  Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, stylish, fun and economical to all!

Table Decoration Ideas Using Inexpensive Centerpieces for Summer Parties

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

Summer parties really give us the opportunity to be more creative and resourceful with the outdoor elements making table decoration ideas easy to implement.  You can be very imaginative in terms of your party decor making it easy to either buy or make inexpensive centerpieces for your special event.

Your first step to making inexpensive centerpieces is to look around your house for any empty vases.  If none are available, then check out a craft store or flower mart supply shop and pick some up.  For this dinner party, I already had small empty blue glass vases.  The party was at a French restaurant so to keep the French country theme, I bought sunflowers and cut them very short.  Other table decoration ideas used for this event include placing clear glass votive holders with votive candles around the flower centerpieces and tying in the theme of the party with our menus.

The inexpensive centerpieces took no time to make, I just bought the flowers at the market, cut the stems and placed the flowers in the vases.  Maybe a total, including market time, of less than one hour for seven centerpieces.  For other table decoration ideas and tips on planning fabulous events on a budget, check out my easy-to-read book, Budget Bash.  Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, stylish, fun and economical to all!

Flower Tips for Springtime Flowers

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

Love the springtime, especially since so many pretty springtime flowers are more readily available and are priced more economically.  Here are a few flower tips for your at-home flower arrangements.

It is best to cut your springtime flowers at a 45 degree angle and to use a knife versus a scissor.  You will create a better surface area for the flower to absorb the water when using a sharp knife.  Also, make sure the water is at room temperature and not too cold for the flower arrangements so that  you don’t shock the flowers.

Flower tips for tulips include something I just learned which is to place a penny at the bottom of the vase.   The penny prevents the tulips from falling over, and they will stand straight for the time you enjoy the flower arrangements.

Something I learned long ago is to eliminate all of the foliage below the water line from the stems of your springtime flowers.  Removing the greens from the stems allows more nourishment and water to the flower.  I also like to stock up on the flower nourishment packets, and I always add one to the flower water to help lengthen the life of the arrangement.

Other flower tips include changing the water every few days, re-cutting the stems and keeping the flower arrangements out of the direct sun.

I love using cymbidium orchids for simple flower arrangements since they last quite a while and are easy to work with.  I just coordinated a party and the florist created simple bathroom arrangements using cymbidiums.  Just one stem in a small glass container.  Not only does the flower add color to the room but these arrangements are simple, fast and easy to make.

So many of my non-profit clients use cymbidium orchids since you don’t have to use too many to create effective flower arrangements, and you can intersperse them with pillar and floating candle arrangements.  One type of entry piece you can create with cymbidiums is to take a long stem with the orchids bloomed and simply drop it in a tall cylinder glass container filled with a couple of inches of water.  Then use contrasting colored rocks or glass marbles and place them on the bottom of the container.

Accent the tall arrangements with pillar candles in various heights as well as various glass containers filled with water and floating candles.

I hope you were able to pick up a couple of  flower tips that you didn’t know previously and can use these tips for any of the  springtime flowers you buy for your at-home flower arrangements.  To make quick and easy flower designs, look to cymbidium orchids and intersperse them with various candle arrangements.  Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, stylish, fun and economical to all!

Easy Finger Food for the Green Party

Monday, March 14th, 2011

Yes, just a few days away and the luck of the Irish will be with you.  Just in case you are hosting a St. Patrick’s Day party, I thought I would give you some easy finger food ideas to serve at your event.  And of course, since it is St. Patrick’s Day, you can easily theme your party as the green party everyone has to attend.

Let’s first look at how to make the green party work for you and the environment.  Three easy words in keeping with this theme are reduce, recycle and reuse.  Here are some easy steps you can take to fulfill this theme:

  • Create a compost heap in your backyard with the food scraps from the party and flowers once they wilt
  • Use bio-degradable silverware and plates
  • Set-up a recyclable trash can for all your bar bottles and cans
  • Use Evite for your guest list
  • If possible, have your guests carpool to the party

For tabletop decor, use succulent plants or natural greens such as rosemary.  You can create a rosemary wreath with wire and rosemary and then place a pillar candle and hurricane glass in the center to give the table an added glow.

Another natural tabletop decor idea for the green party is to use fresh artichokes as votive candle holders.  Just take the artichoke, hollow out the center and then place a glass votive holder in the center with a tealight.  Easy and fast to make with minimal cleanup!  Finally, purchase some green colored and decorative fabric, which you can reuse during the December holiday time, to add a bit of dimension and more color to your buffet.

Now for the easy finger food menu.  So many of these food items you can purchase already prepared thus making your party set-up time minimal.

Green Vegetable Crudités with Spinach Dip

Green Olive Tapenade and Goat Cheese Canapés

Mini Corned Beef Sandwiches

Green Goddess Chicken Salad
served in Lettuce Cups

Split Pea Soup
served in Shot Glasses

Mint Brownies

Butter Cookies Dipped in Green Sugar Crystals

Green Apple Bites Covered with Caramel

Here is a hint to make one of these easy finger food desserts, the butter cookies with green sugar crystals.  Just purchase the already made butter cookie dough and follow the cooking instructions.  While the cookies are baking, place regular sugar in a glass bowl.

In a separate bowl, mix together blue and yellow food coloring to create green and then add it to the sugar.  Stir the sugar until all of it is green and be sure to stir it well so that it dries and is not clumping together.  Once the cookies are finished, take them out of the oven and while they are still warm, dip the top side of the cookie into the green sugar to coat the top and then cool the cookie on a baker’s rack.  Plate and serve with your other desserts.

I hope you picked up an idea or two with these easy finger food ideas for the green party you may be hosting for St. Patrick’s Day.  Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, stylish, fun and economical to all!

Table Centerpiece Idea

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

I was recently at a dinner party and wanted to share with you this simple table centerpiece idea.  It takes just a couple of minutes and you can pick up the components at any local market or craft store.

Just obtain floating candles (these are heartshaped to celebrate my engagement), a bud vase and flowers (the ones pictured above are roses).  A variation of this table centerpiece idea is to use a cymbidium orchid, submerge it in water and float the candle on top as pictured on page 61 of Budget Bash.

Finally, look to what you already have in your house for a table centerpiece idea.  Use a table runner and dispurse loose flowers with greenery or you can cluster fruit with votive candles and herbs such as rosemary or basil.  A third option is to fill your wooden bowls with walnuts or another type of whole textured nut.

Have a table centerpiece idea you want to share? Please feel free to contact me on Twitter @awynningevent.  Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, stylish, fun and economical to all!