Throwing an Oscar-Worthy Soirée

The big night in Hollywood is right around the corner and in case you missed the segment Monday on ABC7 11am News, we have some tips to throw your own Oscar-Worthy Soirée!
ABC7 Oscar party segment 

Really want to “wow” your guests? Why not roll out the red carpet for them?  Literally! We rented one from Tablescapes – they run about $48 for an 8′ section.  With the stanchions and the red ropes – the cost comes to about $150 before tax and delivery.  If you want to replicate the look for less, run out to your local craft store and pick up some red felt.  Just make sure to tape it down to the floor with red duct tape to prevent tripping!  You can even hire a photographer for the night to snap pics of your guests as they arrive, Paparazzi style!

ABC7 Set

photo courtesy of Jenn Lake

Invitations set the first impression when hosting an event. These invites from BeUBrides are the perfect announcement of your Oscar viewing party!

photo courtesy of BeUWeddings

photo courtesy of BeUWeddings

Wanna feel like a Star (or the wife of a star?) These VIP passes make fun name tags – and who doesn’t want to Mrs. Clooney for the night? Click here for the template

photo courtesy of BeUWeddings

photo courtesy of BeUWeddings

“I want to thank the Academy…”

Chances are some guests may not even know the nominees for every category.  These Ballots make the Oscar Party fun and interactive for guests.  Guests can choose who they want to win Best Actor! Click here to download your Oscar Ballot.

photo courtesy of BeUWeddings

photo courtesy of BeUWeddings

We took the red carpet theme to the table top – and created a DIY red carpet table runner.  You can use red fabric (and you have sewing skills -not my area of expertise!) or you can simply use red wrapping paper.  We picked up a roll for about $5 at Paper Source.  Sprinkle some star shaped confetti on the table or inside the invitation for some added bling.  We made our own confetti by using some gold paper and a star hole puncher, also from Paper Source.

ABC 7 Set up

Avant Gardenia was asked to design all the floral for the segment.  Jenna Sprengel came up with some simple floral arrangements that you could easily recreate at home.

photo courtesy of Avant Gardenia

photo courtesy of Avant Gardenia

The first floral arrangement costs about $22 to DIY, the statue you can buy online for about $12 and the base is made out of floral foam covered in a pave style with spray roses. Jenna took inspiration from the florals that HMR designed for our wedding planner brunch the week before, but she sprayed the branches gold to match the Oscars theme.  You can pick up an black finial vase from Target or Home Goods to complete the look – all for about $35.  The last arrangement is an easy DIY for first timers!  Any popcorn bowl or popcorn bucket will work – click here to see this one she got from Williams Sonoma.  Add water and popcorn kernels to the bowl.  The kernels will help keep the roses in place as you are arranging.  This arrangement can be done for about $30.

If you want your guests to “stay a while”, make sure to feed them!  You can take inspiration from Hollywood to come up with your Oscar-themed menu.  Blue Plate Catering created some Oscar inspired bites like:

Indian Spice Cashews and Mini Samosas – Life of Pi

Crawfish Hushpuppies and Mini Braised “Beast” Pulled Pork Sanwiches – Beasts of the Souther Wild

Mini Philly Cheese Steak Sandwiches – Silver Linings Playbook

Baked the Bakery by Pure Kitchen Catering created some treats for the sweet tooth:

Red Carpet Red Velvet Cupcakes

Tuxedo Truffles

Zero Dark Chocolate Cookies

oscar themed foods

Both catering companies have price points to fit every budget, but if you know your way around the kitchen – check out the recipes here.  You can also try making some Silver Liner Cupcakes, Miserables Macarons and Life of Apple Pi 😉

When you think of movies, you have to think of popcorn!  One of my favorite new companies in Chicago is Posh Corn. With gourmet flavors like Tom Yummy, Mad Rooster and Garlic Breath, you will sure be able to satisfy all kinds of taste buds.  All fresh, organic ingredients.. with no preservatives.  The small bags start at $3 and the large bags start at $6.  They can even customize a popcorn bar for your event, those start at $100 and serve about 100 people.

(me, going over the segment with Jenn Lake – and talking about Posh Corn)

Posh Corn on ABCNow that you’ve got the decor and food ready for the party, you have to give yourself the Star-treatment and prepare yourself for the Awards!  As the hostess with the mostest, you have to look and dress like a Celebrity!

We suggested some products that you can pick up at Ulta or Walgreens to get you red-carpet ready!  Lancome’s Hydra-Intense Masque will transform any dry and drab face and give you a fresh face glow. ($35 Ulta).  In case you are stressed out like the nominees probably are – be sure to arm yourself with Emergency Zit Stick, to tackle break outs.  For an all-natural toner, try Dickinson’s Witch Hazel for clarifying, oil control.  All the stars have that beautiful bronzed skin – but laying out in the sun is so passé.  Sunless tanners have come a long way since the streaky, orange lotions of yesteryear.  Xen Tan’s E! Live from the Red Carpet Blend Lotion allows you to choose how dark or how light you want to go ($22 Ulta).  If you prefer a spray, try SUN ($30 Ulta) it’s one of the best OTC sunless tanning sprays and it lasts about 7 days.  You get about 4-5 uses from one bottle.  Designer Manicures and Glam nails are all the rage these days.  And we don’t expect this fad to fade any time soon.  All the Stalets are prepping for the E! Red Carpet Mani Cam!!  For an easy and affordable at-home “glami mani”, pick up some of Sally Hansen’s Salon Effects nail stickers.  Essie has their version too, called Sleek Sticks.  They are both made with real nail polish and last about 10 days.  ($11 Walgreens)

photo courtesy of essie.com

photo courtesy of essie.com

But let’s be honest..why do we really watch the awards shows?  The FASHION!!  Don’t be caught on the Fashion Police Worst Dressed List.  As the host of the party, you have to be best dressed!  Gilt.com offers designer fashions and accessories – whether you are dressing up that cocktail dress you already own or you are looking for the newest trends for this season, Gilt.com will have the perfect look for you.

Check out the link to the full segment here

And enjoy some more pics from our day at the station..

ABC7Chicago set

chatting with Blue Platerehearsing

with the anchorssigning the wall Green Room autograph

Mimi, Jenn and Tiff

Mimi and Jenn from Zapwater

Green Roomxoxo! tm

Fall & Winter wedding trends for the Windy City

Brides and grooms—and anyone who loves weddings—Fall is upon us (whether we like it or not)! For Chicagoans this means it’s time to brace ourselves for the cold and bitter months ahead. But for those in the bridal industry it can be a welcome breath of fresh air after the hot and hectic days of the summer wedding season. And couples who prefer the warmth and intimacy of the colder seasons will enjoy the fresh bridal trends that are beginning to appear in chic autumn and winter weddings in the city.

A few of Chicago’s most knowledgeable bridal vendors have provided Soirée with their exclusive opinions on trends for Fall 2012 and Winter 2013 weddings.

Kelly Marie Uss from Fleur says that her clients are requesting a more natural and organic feeling for the florals of their cooler-month celebrations.

“Autumn and winter are the times of year that make couples want to feel cozy.  Celebrations equal the warmth of laughter, the glow of candles. Simplifying design and color, yet keeping floral interesting with texture offers a formality that appeals to these seasons.  Candlelight and understated blooms with a natural, organic texture makes for a gorgeous setting, forging an evening of family and friends and creating a mood they’ll all remember.”

Floral decor with texture for the Fall, photo credit: http://www.simplyjessie.com

Making a statement with candlelight to bring out floral detail, photo credit: http://www.simplyjessie.com

Colder month weddings mean lots of candlelight and more understated florals this fall

Desserts are also going to be slightly different at a Fall/Winter wedding in Chicago.

Katherine Duncan of Katherine Anne Confections is foreseeing a caramel apple trend for desert tables as she exclaims,

“Caramel apples are a super fun favor… as they’re whimsical and nostalgic, and are really delicious. Make sure you ask your chocolatier to use good apples, preferably from a local farmer, as those won’t have wax on the skin and will be a little more tart than the store-bought variety.”

The current trend of mini desserts will also carry on into the fall, says Katherine, but many weddings will also feature some more “nostalgic treats.”

“Everyone wants to try 2 or 3 things, but not totally blow their diet. I love dessert spreads that include mini cupcakes, truffles, etc. A very popular item is nostalgic treats. Doughnuts, pie, “bars” (think lemon bars or pecan bars) – you can’t go wrong with these old-fashioned treats. Everyone loves pie, and it’s a more down-home option than cake. For amazing local pies, check out Bang Bang or Hoosier Mama Pie Company. Do-Rite Donuts and Glazed & Infused make fabulous doughnuts.”

pies bring on a feeling of “nostalgia” at a wedding.

Glazed and Infused Lemon Glazed Donuts

Catering for these weddings will also continue the trend of all things “mini” for hors d’oeuvres during cocktail hour or at the end of the night with late-night snacks. Elaina Vasquez of Boutique Bites is excited about how much her clients are requesting food reminiscent of their hometowns such as “mini Chicago-Style hot dogs for Windy City couples and mini Chicken and Waffles for Southern couples, etc.”

Only for a true Windy City wedding!

Seasonal hors d’oeuvres, says Elaina, should also be served in the “proper packaging,” and as would be appropriate with the mini trend, using mini paper takeout boxes for guests that wish to bring home some of those delicious goodies.

“Giving guests the chance to pick up and hold hors d’oeuvres in a tiny little paper container adds an extra special element to your spread. Containers can be created in festive holiday colors to match any party’s color scheme.”

The “Couture Container”

Elaina also predicts that the holidays will be all about the “glitz and glam!”

“Translate all the shimmer and shine of the holiday with a gold-themed spread.  Using edible gold, incorporate gold-dusted hors d’oeuvres like “24K Deviled Eggs”, “Gold-Dusted Stuffed Mushrooms” or “Gold Topped Parmesan Risotto Cups” to your menu.  Even glam up your cocktails and champagne with golden tea pearls.”

Dress up your cocktails for a touch of glam

With the changing of seasons the greatest shifts in trends has usually occurred within the bridal gown industry. Everyone knows that the style of dress worn by brides and their bridesmaids depends heavily on the month in which the wedding is taking place.

Maureen Schulte from Bella Bridesmaid says,

“We adore the illusion necklines and peplum styles being shown on 2013 bridesmaid dresses, but our favorite new trends will make your bridal party swoon-worthy in exciting prints and perfect palettes!  Many of our designers are introducing fun prints and re-wearable patterns into their color menus.

Lula Kate, ‘Sassy Stripes’ in Off White and Aluminum Faille

Monique Lhuillier- ‘450093’ in Willow Giverny

“There is nothing more trendsetting in the world of bridesmaids than varying the dress colors to create the perfect girl group!” says Maureen. “Why not take it a step past shades of one color and weave complimentary colors throughout your entire bridal party? We love a neutral palette for a romantic look that will make fabulous bridesmaid dresses and beautiful pictures.”

Varied styles from Amsale in Silk Crinkle Chiffon colors: Dove, Charcoal, Truffle, and Champagne.

Finally, the bridal gowns that Fall/Winter brides are choosing, says Mignonette Bridal’s Kpoene Kofi-Nicklin, are going to differ dramatically from those of Chicago’s summer brides.

“Autumn and winter mean a turn towards more sheen — we are getting a lot of requests for silk satin and peau de soie, both of which have a beautiful shine and reflect candlelight amazingly. We are also noticing that the silhouettes of this season’s gowns are changing – brides want something that skims the body, with very clean, minimal lines. For Summer we did a lot of chiffon and organza gowns with very “piecey” details or raw edging, but for our Fall/Winter brides, everything is very pared down and dramatic – no big ball gowns, just lots of Old Hollywood glamour.”

Silk crepe dress with embroidered shoulder.

Kpoene also shares that,

“Our brides want just one detail to stand out, like an amazing train or a dramatic back, and many are also looking to subtle beading, or just one beaded detail, rather than all-over detail like we did a lot of for summer. The other big trend I am noticing is a return to bright white, which looks beautiful and classic against a backdrop of fall leaves or fresh snow.”

A beaded shoulder strap on a “bright white” gown creates a beautiful statement.

With insights like this from some of the city’s top wedding vendors we can’t wait to get the ball rolling and start seeing these chic Chicago weddings come to life!

Post by: Soirée Intern, Melanie Enright