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entertaining guide

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Friday Fete: Girlfriend's Gift Exchange

It wouldn't feel like the holidays without a gathering with the gals!  When I'm trying to host a soiree, I try to focus on fun decor to make up for my lack of cooking skills.  You may be the opposite, so just stick to your forte and get some ladies together for your own shindig.  I thought a simple happy hour gift exchange would be a great way to celebrate the holidays (without stressing out with meal prep)!   Here are some tips to recreate a fun & festive Christmas celebration of your own. 

1. Adorn Your "Bar"

I'm a huge fan of a chic bar cart, but you don't need to own one to have a swanky cocktail set-up.  You will see me reusing my gingham table cloth by TableVogue again and again, because it totally transforms a basic card table (yes, that's a $30 table underneath!).   Any piece of furniture (like this white console-like table) can also be transformed into a bar area or place for guests to put their purses/coats with a few flowers and greenery. Frampton's Florist used gold-dipped vases, boxwoods in various sizes, and minimal blooms like anemones to help give us a festive tabletop.

2. Pop Bottles for a Cause

When it comes to libations, nothing says "celebration" like champagne!  The One Hope brut that I served is a definite crowd pleaser, and it tastes even better because it's a brand that gives back.  50% of profits go to various charities, and another $25 will go to St. Jude (for cases purchased through 12/9).  You also will get 30% off of a case, so this bubbly won't break the bank! Purchase here.

3.  Get a Great Backdrop

Depending on where you live and what the weather is like, this could mean meeting up in a park or on a friend's rooftop.  Even simply gathering your friends in a room of the house you wouldn't otherwise use, like a formal dining room, can make the occasion feel special.  The Beach Club at Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina was gracious enough to host us, and we really enjoyed their very southern porches, fire pit, & giant chess set!  You are going to love it at this newly opened hotel, and I'm sure they will have many fun events of their own coming soon.

We had so much fun during this happy hour gift exchange, and don't forget that "wrapping it nice shows you care twice"!  Luckily we had some help with the wrapping thanks to The Blue Root, who is offering Christmas gift wrapping services & curated gift boxes with free delivery.  Check out the details of our holiday Draper James attire HERE, & I'll be sharing some gift guides soon if you could use a little help filling those Christmas stockings! 

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Friday Fete: Throw the Perfect Pool Party Anytime of Year

Summer is only showing minor signs of letting up in my neck of the woods, so I think we have plenty of pool time left.  Even if you are somewhere that is back to full on jeans weather, don't put away all your pool gear just yet. There are plenty of ways to use your pool as part of the fun all year long.  Sweetgrass Properties has many luxury rentals with pools around the Lowcountry, so we headed to one of their homes on Kiawah for a day of champagne and desserts with some great ladies.  Read on for 5 tips to have your own pool part no matter what season it is!

1. Always Set the Table

I'm one of those people that likes any excuse to pull out the fine china, without wanting anyone to feel like they are at a stuffy party.  With the help of Event Haus and some accents from West Elm, I designed these cheerful place settings that would work for a morning brunch or a delightful dinner. The great mix of silver and gold really popped on the faux moss circular chargers.  Topped off with gorgeous florals from Charleston Flower Girl, this set-up was was as fabulous as the company.

2. Have Fun With Your Food

With a pool as your background, a playful ambiance is what this soiree will be all about.  The talented Ashleys I know really took our party food to the next level.  My summer intern turned friend Ashley from Always All Dressed Up really has a knack for creating amazing party treats. How fabulous are her pineapple cookies and wait for it... fruit "pizzas". Sugar cookies + cream cheese + fruit = food magic.  We were in dessert mode for this party, so Ashley Brown of ABCD Cakes just whipped up some delicious macarons like it was no big deal- but then she topped them with the most beautiful art and calligraphy! I've never seen something so pretty that also tasted so great.

3. Opt for a Seasonless Color Palette

I never get tired of black and white no matter what time of year it is, so that is a great choice for attire, accents, and place settings. The Town Serif created some great place cards in the shape of tropical leaves with her beautiful calligraphy, and we all got decked out in some lovely Rove and Roam looks, shoes, and sunglasses from Dandy Boutique.  Eventhaus worked some magic to create a black and white table runner for our food table, which was perfect with the pops of white Le Creuset serve ware and Charleston Flower Girl's greenery.

4. Don't Retire Your Pool Floats

Last summer was the year the mini flamingo was popping up everywhere, but have you seen the mini swans!? They are just adorable and made the perfect mini bar for our pool! Just chillax and a beverage will eventually float your way.  Of course the classic giant swan always makes for perfect pool decor, too.  I'm finding them majorly on sale right now, and even spotted a pink swan!  You can also just enter to win your own through 8/28, so head over to @sweetgrassproperties on Instagram and find the swan photo for details.

5. Get Cozy With Turkish Towels

You guessed it... this is a shameless plug for my Turkish towels!  Seriously though, I use them myself all the time and they are perfect to have both indoors and outside.  They can spruce up your pool chairs, and if you keep some handy for drying off pool-dangled feet they are super absorbent. We used the yellow cabana and charcoal gray ones for our party.  When it cools off they are also perfect to have on hand so your guests can wrap up in them.  They are 20% off through 8/28 with code SWEETGRASS.

All photos are by Mary Beth Creates.  Happy Weekend and cheers to another fun fete, y'all!

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Friday Fete: Green and Orange Tablescape

Pardon me for still not being over this shoot I styled earlier this year.  Rachel of Rachel Red Photography really let me go crazy with the concept and decor for our poolside soiree, and it all came together thanks to a great team of folks!  I loved the clean look of the white table and seating (mixed stools and chairs).  A vibrant orange and white runner was a great starting point, which paired great with West Elm's Dapper plates.  Succulents, palms, and all kinds of greenery really popped in assorted sizes and shapes of white vases.  Mixing metals is always a winner so we used stainless steel cups and gold utensils.  We topped it off with personalized succulent flags for escort cards and voila! This is the perfect table scape to brighten up your soiree any time of year, from brunches to birthdays!

Cheers to another fun fete! Check out more photos from this shoot over at Style Me Pretty Living and on my Instagram

Plates/Utensils/Napkins/Vases: West Elm | Runner: Ibu: | Escort Flags: The Town Serif           Florals: Kickstand Events | Photography: Rachel Red Photography | Styling Services: Liz Martin

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Friday Fete: Champagne and Tassels

I recently attended the opening of a fabulous new wedding gown atelier, Emily Kotarski Bridal.  Her custom designs make me want to get married all over again wearing her stunning sleeved dresses! Emily purchased One Hope sparkling brut to serve to her guests which also provided funding for the Center For Women. The Tiny Tassel and The Town Serif provided decor, Scoops & ABCD cakes covered the ice cream sandwiches, and Rachel Red Photography was there to capture it all. Coastal Bride has more details about the whole stunning event on her blog. 

Entertaining is all about the details and Emily nailed it, wouldn't you agree?! Below you'll find some fancy but fun items if you're looking for similar decor for your next party.  Some of the following links are affiliate links, which means I will eventually receive compensation if someone besides my mom reads this post.

Gold Napkins: here and here  Tassel Garland: here  One Hope Brut: $18.99 here

Cheers y'all!

Cheers, y'all!

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