My husband, Todd, and I decided to host a small cocktail party with only a few week’s notice. We were pleasantly surprised to have about 30 people rsvp with the short notice and the busy time of year.
We have entertained quite a bit since we moved in last February but we have mostly utilized the outdoor and first floor areas. For this party we decided to use our finished basement.
While we have 4 bar stools (Restoration Hardware) and our theater seating, I wanted additional seating and places for our guests to set their food and drinks to mingle. I rented 3 tall cocktail tables and linens from C&N Party Rental based on a recommendation from our neighbor. They were reasonably priced and the customer service was outstanding. I would definitely rent from them in the future.
I also brought down two snow leopard print side chairs (Cynthia Rowley, purchased from Homegoods) and a side table (Crate & Barrel) for a conversation area. I added a copper tree tower (Target) with a string of battery operated LED lights (Homegoods). I didn’t get a great photo but I also moved a leather storage bench against a wall with a few throw pillows.
My entire house has a bit of rustic glam as I like to call it. The basement is no different with the horse farm fencing used on the front of the bars and the pretty lighting. I decided to stick with this theme for the party decor.
Todd and I were at our town’s Winter Market a few weeks ago where I was inspired by the centerpieces they had that used red roses, hydrangeas, and pine in mason jars. I subbed the pine with eucalyptus, added whole cranberries to the water, and added ribbon and twine for the 3 cocktail tables. If you haven’t bought flowers from Trader Joe’s you need to! They are great quality flowers for ridiculously reasonable prices: 20 roses $9.99, 3 hydrangea stem $5.99, and eucalyptus bunch $2.99! I had the twine on hand and purchase the ribbon from Michael’s. I used a spot of hot glue to keep it in place. I used my mercury glass votives (West Elm, Pottery Barn, and Target) to accent the flowers in addition to mini gold glitter antlers (Michael’s).
I assembled 7 smaller mason jars with the remaining roses and eucalyptus. They have chalkboard stickers on them from a previous party (Michael’s) that I wrote on with chalk several Christmas themed words (Merry, Christmas, Joy, Peace, Noel). I placed these throughout the room.
On the bar that overlooks the theater area I added a buffalo check sash (Michael’s), gold mercury glass votives (Marshall’s), wood coasters (Target), faux antlers that I white washed (Homegood’s) and candy dishes (Homegoods) with white chocolate peppermint pretzel thins (Costco) and a holiday nut mix (Trader Joe’s). I tied ribbon (Michael’s) around the bar stools.
I have been wanting to incorporate the acrylic home decor trend into my home in some way. I recently found this table (Homegoods) and decorated it with a gold antler (Homegoods), copper tree tea light holder (Homegoods), and glass cloche (Homegoods) with battery operated LED lights (Homegoods) on top a wood trivet (Bed Bath & Beyond).
I hung swags from the sconces in the theater area that I made from one bunch of greens (Trader Joe’s) and ribbon (Michael’s).
I used a beverage tub (Bed Bath & Beyond) to create a bucket of winter goodness that included a bundle of birch wood (TJ Maxx), faux birch lighted branches (Marshall’s), bunches of boxwood (farmer’s market), and decorative spheres (Pier 1 and Homegoods).
We have a lovely subwoofer that sits in the corner so I added some Christmas flair to that with a feathered tree (I’ve had for years and can’t remember where it’s from!), on a cupcake stand (Homegoods), with a copper reindeer (Homegoods).
I had slowly added to the decor over the two weeks leading up to the party as I would get ideas. It occurred to me just nights before that, while I had decorated the stair rail on the first floor, I should add something to the basement stair rail as well. I found these darling faux grapevine stars (Target) and silver and gold mirrored ornaments (Michael’s) and decided they would be perfect hanging from the rail tied with ribbon (Michael’s).
Don’t worry I didn’t forget about the food! Here are just a few shots of what I made. I made a hot spinach artichoke dip recipe that a friend gave me years ago and I hadn’t made in awhile. You know, the days when we actually wrote recipes on cards and didn’t have Pinterest?!
I also made a rosemary wreath with a variety of olives, mini pickles and pearl mozzarella balls. So pretty and simple.
An easy and delicious appetizer is prosciutto wrapped asparagus. Simply cut a piece of prosciutto in half, take one half and wrap it around a piece of asparagus, and repeat until desired amount. Place wrapped asparagus in frying pan and flip each piece after a few minutes. That’s it!
The prettiest thing I made was an ice bowl to serve shrimp cocktail in. I’ve seen this on Pinterest many times and finally took the time to make it. So easy! Just take 2 bowl that fit inside on another about an inch apart. I put a couple ice packs in the center bowl to weigh it down after putting a little water in the bottom. You can tape the tops of the bowls together to keep them in place. Drop whole cranberries and rosemary in between and fill with water. Set in freezer. Once frozen let it sit on the counter until you are able to pull both of the bowls off the ice. Set it on a tray and place back in the freezer until ready for use. Be sure to set it on a tray with a lip when you use it to trap the water as it melts.
The wooden garland was purchased after Christmas last year (can’t remember if from Target or Homegoods). I recently found the mirrored Noel plaque (Homegoods) and mercury glass globes (Target).
Not pictured but also served were a charcuterie tray, sushi, baked brie with fig butter, caprese skewers, candy, cookies, and Godiva chocolates. I’m kind of mad I didn’t get a shot of the front of the bar with all of these goodies and the decor. Oh well, such is the scattered life of the hostess!
I’m hosting a few more smaller gatherings in the next few weeks and I will definitely be using some of these ideas again.