10 ways to host a fabulous backyard par-tay

It’s summertime, and there’s nothing like hosting a lovely party outside. I know the summer in the mountains only lasts 3 months, so I better get my party on. Here’s 10 ways to help you host the perfect summer night out…in your backyard!

Most people cannot build a permanent outside bar, and when you live somewhere like we do, where its cold all winter and winter lasts forever, it doesn’t make sense to have an outdoor bar. The good news is bars can come in all shapes and sizes, so it can be versatile. From a trendy bar cart on wheels, to a small tray like this beautiful rustic one from Pottery Barn, a DIY cooler or even a bucket – as long as there is liquor, and all the accessories – IT WORKS! This kitchen cart from Ikea could be a rocking bar cart. And, this is an affordable option from CB2 and I just LOVE this one from Pottery Barn. If you just want to add a shelf to your wall you can flip down when there is a party, then flip back up when it’s over, this one is perfect inspiration.

Now, you must stock the bar. Make sure you have an ice bucket and tongs, a cocktail shaker, bottle opener and limes. Essentials are vodka, rum, tequila and gin. Don’t forget the mixers, seltzer’s and juices. Try mixing a signature cocktail for the evening, and place it in a cute container so it can be self-serve. You should 6 or 8 of each of the following: short glasses, tall glasses and stemware. I love melamine for the summer. Mix and match glasses if you need to – makes for an eclectic look, which I love. I’m obsessed with these glasses from Sur La Table.

A comfortable environment will make people feel at-home. You should provide comfortable seating for friends. That can be folding chairs stored in your garage, wicker furniture or a comfy love seat. Pillows add a pop of color and personality, and also add that extra level of comfort. Like a living room, only outside. I love the collection of outdoor pillows at Pier1.

Create an ambiance with lighting. You can create an intimate setting, a colorful setting or a soft glow. You can opt for candles like this. Or, for more of a rustic look, we love these. For an industrial look, we love these caged lights from Target.

Create a playlist for the evening. Oldies. Pop Hits. Soft rock. Country. Have a little something for everyone.

Play traditional games like Bocce or Horseshoe, or bring another fun game into the mix.

For a nice touch, decorate with flowers from garden beds or herbs in pots. Depending on the flowers you choose, it can create a sweet aroma, and it makes for a pretty setting. It doesn’t have to be large bouquets – even single bloom flowers and bud vases would do the job.

With these family favorites, your guests will be ‘wowed.’ The Avocado and Corn dish will be devoured.  

Slice meat and veggies and make a variety of kabobs pre-party, or get everyone involved and they can make their own kabob with an array of chicken, steak and veggie options. This recipe from Two Peas and their Pod looks delish.

Serve a yummy dessert, like this Fruit Pizza. Check out the recipe from The Pioneer Woman.

{images via A Curated Lifestyle, Style Me Pretty, One Kings Lane, Style at Home, Sunset, The Pioneer Woman}

Golf and Tennis Party

Remember one of our favorite party planning couple, Kimi and Tim? They impressed us in the past with a New Year’s Eve party and now they’re back with a tennis and golf-themed birthday party for Tim!

Who could expect anything less than a draped tent, gorgeous linens, mood-setting lighting and sound, fabulous cocktails and a damn good time?

The duo used the best their companies had to offer…Tim, General Manager of EMI Audio, set up yellow and green LED lighting to match the decor and to keep the party going into the wee hours. And, Kimi, Sales, Marketing & Design Specialist for Après Party and Tent Rental, set up the large tent and decorated the tabletops with Après linen. You can find the linen choices {yellow bengaline, pucci paisley, teal poly apple wildwood} here. And for those non-Minnesota residents…good news, they do ship. {As a loyal customer, I can attest that they do ship, they arrive in time and in perfect condition…plus Kimi and the rest of the team are fabulous to work with}.

Kimi had a few DIY touches with the astro turf she cut to ‘drape’ the tabletops, found used tennis racquets and large foam golf balls and tees {previous props for a party} that she hung with fishing line, and flowers she picked from the yard and placed in cocktail glasses from her kitchen.

Happy Birthday, Tim! Can’t wait to see what you come up with next year!

crazy pants: loudmouth
linens: Après Party and Tent Rental
audio and lighting: EMI Audio

{images via Kimi Hansen and Tim Giesler}

summer, summer, summertime…

time to sit back and unwind.
~ lyrics courtesy of Will Smith’s Summertime song…you knew it, huh? 

As I was creating my lust-list for Damsel in Dior’s Follow Fridays last week, I found myself lusting over and over again for summer entertaining items. Since I wasn’t able to share all of them with you then, I’m sharing them with you now.

Take a look…don’t you just love and want them too? I know they would look perfect on my antique wood picnic bench on the back porch.

Happy Memorial Weekend everyone. Hope you entertain in style this weekend. And, most importantly let us all take the time to remember loved ones we’ve lost, and particularly honor and remember those in the military service who have died serving our great country. We are forever grateful.

Blue Striped Table Cloth, Terrain {$98}
Galvanized Metal Rectangular Tray, Pottery Barn {$39.50} 
Wildflower Collection in Burlap Bags {for favors}, Terrain {$25}
Mason Jar Shakers, Terrain {$16}
RÅSKOG Kitchen Cart, Ikea {$49.99}
Smith and Hawken Metal Cage String Lights, Target
Striped Sea Grass Carafe, Terrain {$24}
Marimekko Unikko Green and Blue Melamine Plate, Crate and Barrel {$4.95}
Andros Blue Melamine Dinner Plate, Crate and Barrel {$4.95}
Wire Utility Basket, Terrain {$16}
Mason Jar Drink Dispenser, Pottery Barn, {$69}
Hammered Acrylic Drinkware Lime, Pier1 {$4.60}

 {images via Terrain, Party-Tales, Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel, Target, Pier1, Ikea}

before and after

We have a seriously gorgeous feature for you of before and after wedding decor photos {we have more in the coming weeks, so stay tuned for more eye candy}. You will see the “before and after” images of a ballroom or tent before Denver-based Rodd Metcalf and his premier event team at LMD Productions Inc. arrive to make an ordinary space extraordinary.

I’ve had the privilege of working with Rodd on several events, and he and his staff are phenomenal and a joy to work with.

Today’s tent before & after feature are WOW photos, so be ready to be amazed.

Here’s a little background for you: The bride originally wanted a Hunt Club Design. It morphed beautifully into an old English style décor with warm hues of light. This event took 7 days to set up and 3 days to teardown…and it took 4 generators to power this event.

In Rodd’s words: ” This was a very challenging event.  It was very successful with a great response from the client and guests.  Overall I enjoyed it and would welcome an event of this magnitude again.  Let’s hear it for lighting, fabric and flowers!”



Event Design: LMD Productions Inc.
Florist: A Design Resource
Planner: Kathy Vaughan, A Beautiful Memory

{images via Rodd Metcalf at LMD Productions and Moments of Expression, cjsphotos@comcast.net}