I met Brigette through PHLBloggers about a year-and-a-half ago. She blogs at Brigette I. She’s flipping awesome. She’s a great graphic designer, has designed some pretty great printable posters, she’s become an excellent lunch buddy (when we can both find time to leave the office), and she throws a damn good party. I’ve only ever been to one, but it was her carnival-themed birthday party, and it was fantastic. And everyone was so nice! Yet again, I love nice people.
So I’ve invited Brigette to tell us a little bit about how she got started as a party hostess, what some of her favorite party moments have been, and what her go-to food dishes are. There are seriously some gems of party ideas in here. Enjoy!
Tell us about your party-hosting style.
Entertaining is one of my favorite things to do – I love bringing people together for any reason. As a graphic designer, I love having a theme, making decorations, and figuring out creative ways to carry out that theme.
I usually follow a simple formula when throwing a party: come up with a fun theme, make a few themed food and drinks, incorporate one activity to get people mingling, and have one iconic element that people will remember afterwards. For instance, I threw a video game themed 30th birthday party for my boyfriend, “Tom Reached Level 30”: there were Tetris cookies and potion bottle cocktails, we made pixel space invader decorations with post-it notes, I created a “Tom’s High Scores” wall where people could write their favorite memories they’ve had with the guest of honor, and I used a projector to have a huge playable game of Tetris on the curtains in the front of the house.
Where did your love of party planning begin?
My mom has always been a master party planner, I got my passion for over-the-top themes as well as arts & crafts from her. She has thrown some pretty incredible parties for my sister and I growing up, including a beach-themed sweet 16 party involving a beach volleyball court in the backyard with actual sand. After having my own space that was big enough to entertain in, I fell in love with always having my friends over for various events, parties, craft days, board game nights – you name it!
What are your go-to appetizers?
Any party is a good excuse for a cheese plate, so I typically put one together for any gathering I’m having. Also cheese-related, brie pinwheels are a really easy and delicious appetizer to make, and are always a crowd-pleaser. I like to make them with crescent roll dough, brie and fresh basil.
What are your go-to entrees?
I have never thrown a classic dinner party before, since all of my gatherings tend to be for large groups of people I typically go for potluck-style when dinner is involved, or go with simple foods for large groups like chili or barbecue.
What are your go-to desserts?
I became obsessed with making sugar cookies with royal icing decoration a few years ago, so every one of my parties includes a cookie that compliments the theme – whether it be dollar bills for a thrift store party, compasses + leaves for a camping party, or tickets for a carnival party.
What are your go-to beverages?
Sangria in the summer and mulled wine in the winter.
What do you usually bring to a potluck?
For a brunch potluck – a sweet potato and spinach frittata, for a dinner potluck – mashed sweet potatoes.
Do you decorate for the festivities?
Yes! I always decorate the main table where food and drink is set up to help carry out the theme, and then incorporate some decorations throughout the space. I usually try to come up with something fun for guests to wear, like ribbon pins for a carnival theme party, or leis for a luau, which also helps add to the decor!
Tell us about the best party you’ve ever hosted.
My favorite party I throw every year is a New Years Eve soiree with all of my close friends. It’s a classic silver/gold/black and stars motif, and everyone comes dressed to the nines even though it’s just at my apartment. I have New Years resolution sheets that guests fill out, which also include reflections on the past year like favorite movie, hobby, memory, and we hang them on one big wall so everyone can read what other people wrote. I’ve thrown this party four years in a row now, and I’ve put all of the past year’s sheets into a book, so we can all look back on the past year’s memories and resolutions together.
What’s your biggest hostess challenge?
Balancing my time to be able to socialize with all of my guests, as well as helping different groups of friends mingle tend to be my biggest challenges. I’ve tried a few activities and games in the past that have worked well for bringing different groups together, like personality bingo.
What’s your best tip for someone who wants to be a great party hostess?
Don’t be afraid to go big with your ideas, but also try to keep it simple when possible – party planning should be fun!
All photos above are via Brigette I Design.
So good, right? She’s seriously making me want to step up my party game. Can’t wait to see what she comes up with next. And don’t forget to check out her blog, Brigette I.
Thanks so much for playing along, Brigette! To check out past hostesses of the month visit the links below:
|Chrystina Noel||Chrystina’s Mom||Sweet Love & Ginger|
|Recipe for Success||
Brigette I Design
Parties for Pennies