A little while ago I had the pleasure of styling a shoot for the lovely Photographer Lisa Hayman out in The Pines of Gippsland. It was the perfect little ‘pre-Christmas’ project and it was just, well.. fun! Lisa was shooting a group of long time friends and came to me with the idea of doing a ‘Rustic-style picnic’ theme in the natural light and I immediately thought of fairy lights, wine and cute dresses!
We went with a “less is more” theme. Calm, un-cluttered and simplistic. The four main elements made it as beautiful as they were simple: Cake, greenery, fairy lights & cheese. Teamed with some eccentric and colourful floral head pieces made by local florist Emma from ‘Arrangements with Flair’, really made the theme pop and bring all of the fun vibes to the night!
Aside from the stubborn wind – hence why the fairy light were not as inconspicuous as I wanted them to be, the evening was lovely. The girls were giggly and relaxed and I was working with one of the best photo takers in the biz!
One of the best parts about this shoot (you know, aside from the posse of babes and all of the wine) was that everything from the trestle table to the to the candle sticks were either borrowed, made or under $10. You can do so much with so little and with a small amount of time. All you need is an idea, an ability to create something and some good connections. (Thanks Lisa for the best chairs like, ever).
You really can’t go wrong with a centre piece cake. It adds beauty and sets the scene for the theme and the way you place your elements on the table. I made a semi-naked Coconut and vanilla bean cake with vanilla butter icing and toasted maple coconut flakes. It was simple to make and went beautifully with the vintage style trestle table and olive leaf arrangement.
Whether you’re planning an small or large event, a photo shoot or even just a dinner party at home, here are a few of my ‘Go-to’ tips that I always think about and use while planning and styling events. Especially on a budget. They’re easy and helpful, designed to make party planning a stress-free and fun situation! These are all just ideas, you don’t have to use each and every one for planning every event, pick and choose what works for you!
Firstly, relax! – When it comes to styling and planning, a lot of people tell me that decorating is stressful because they aren’t good at it. It may not be your ‘thing’ or something that you’re particularly passionate about, but I encourage you, give it a go! Once you have a solid theme or colour scheme, you’ll be surprised at how things can just flow naturally and easily. If you think something will look good or taste good, try it! Bringing out your own unique creative side is what it’s all about.
Pick a Theme – I know, it seems pretty obvious. Whether it’s a colour scheme, an elaborate design theme (like the duo Super hero/Dinosaur party that my small babe really wants to have…) or a simple food theme, having a basic idea of what you may want makes planning process more of a smooth one. If you’re going with just a colour scheme, try having two main colours and a third ‘pop out’ colour.
A mood board never goes astray – In our back room, I keep a cork board that I randomly attach pictures, textured etc. to when I find something that I like. I may not necessarily be planning a party at that time, but I love going back to the board and gaining ideas that I’ve pinned up throughout the year.
Get inspiration – There are so many avenues to get Party inspo from whether it’s pinterest, magazines, instagram or the outside world in general. Use the environment around you, go for a walk and see what draws your eye, even the smallest of elements can give you great ideas.
Forage – For this shoot in particular, I borrowed most of my materials or made them myself. I made the Cake, the Olive leaves were from a friends backyard and the rest was either borrowed from friends or I already had at home! I am a big fan of the natural, so flowers and greenery are a big part of my decorating in almost every theme. If you can source it, don’t buy it!
Don’t be afraid to be yourself – It’s so cliché to say, but you have your own unique style so don’t be afraid to use it! It’s great to draw inspiration from other avenues, but it’s not necessary to copy them completely. If you have an idea or want to try something ‘new’, you go girlfriend. You can do it, be confident in your own ability to create!
Use food as part of the décor– oh how I love a centre piece cake. It draws attention and makes tummies excited for whats to come! Anything you bake and cook counts as apart of the décor in my books.
Prepare – I hate doing everything at the last second. I have a designated ‘Party box’ that I use with each event. Weeks before I’ll start filling with the box one or two items at a time according to the theme, rather than buying/making everything the night before. You can even pre-bake some foods and freeze in advance. This tool definitely lowers the pre-party stress levels!
Enjoy – Don’t forget to have fun, I mean, that’s what events are generally for! Sometimes we can get so caught up in the planning and execution of the day that we forget what’s actually going on around us. So remember to take a breathe (and a big fat piece of cake) and have a lovely time.
Photography by Lisa Hayman
Floral designs by Arrangements with Flair
For more on all things food, mamahood and more, find me on instagram @mamaofalionboy!